“What did you learn in school today?” is a question we dutifully ask our youngsters, yet fail to inquire ourselves about. Life, itself, is the greatest teacher of all, and being mindful of the lessons we gather in the course of our lives, and passing it on will allow us to be open to change, growth and prosperity.
“There is divine beauty in learning. To learn means to accept the postulate that life did not begin at my birth. Others have been here before me, and I walk in their footsteps. I am the sum total of their experiences, their quests. And so are you.” – Elie Wiesel
This post is the first part of the series ‘Musings For The Ardent Soul’ in which I aim to radiate benevolence via these documentations.
In the name of productivity, we often find ourselves cramming our daily schedules with deadlines, yet failing to check things off our checklist because 24 hours is “just not enough” time in a day. Amidst the rush, some of us also fail to tend to the personal aspects of our lives, only to go to bed worn out and sleep away the fatigue of the day.
Some of us are born to grind and hustle throughout, and the others take the day hour by hour, and moment by moment. As for me, whilst trying to balance myself, I often find myself overwhelmed by obligations that only a spiffing session of bawling could solve. Or so I thought, until I uncovered the healing power of prayer, or meditation.
Meditation is an important aspect of a successful Islamic lifestyle, because in order to adapt Islam in our lives, we acknowledge on the Oneness of Allah سبحانه و تعالى, and once we recognize that He is indeed worthy of worship and that nothing else is, we perceive the truth in His words. None of this is possible without the acts of contemplation, reflection, observation, and the presence of our minds.
Our Prophet ﷺ was well known for practicing the act of meditation during his ventures to the cave in Mount Hira, and it was during this practice that he first received the Qur’anic revelation. Thus, meditation opened the door for revelation.
As we try to keep up with the strains in our lives, we often find ourselves being carried along by the disruptions. This may cause us lose our direction in life, as we fare wherever the wind blows us rather than directing our life towards the path Allah سبحانه و تعالى has laid down for us.
Nevertheless, in times of hardship, I tried to find solutions in this very world that caused the hardship to befall upon me in the first place, and has the potential to break me again. So who better to call upon than the Creator of this Universe, and who better to seek ease from the hardships than Him?
“And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive (to Allah سبحانه و تعالى).” – Surah Al-Baqarah
We are often guilty of treating prayer as a chore, a chore which we ought to do and due to this mindset, our main focus is on getting it done rather than really engaging ourselves in it. Thus, when we fail to call upon Allah سبحانه و تعالى with full submission and sincerity, we also fail to derive the harmony from our prayers.
The prayer of our Prophet ﷺ consisted of the essential elements to attain the utmost benefit from our prayers; connect, engage, submit to The Almighty Allah سبحانه و تعالى. When we combine all these, we will conquer a state of khushu; the state of full awareness of our Lord as we direct our heart and mind to our Lord alone.
Initially, we may fall short to incorporate all of these elements into our prayers, but when our main focus becomes to improve our relationship with Allah سبحانه و تعالى, the motivation to do so can be acquired via conversing with Him through our supplications.
“So remember Me; and I will remember you.” – Surah Al-Baqarah
When you stand to pray, remember who you are standing before and humble yourself in His presence, and pray as if it is your last prayer. Take control of your body and mind, remain tranquil and maintain your focus on the place of sujūd. Avoid pondering on worldly matters, as the moments you spend in prayer should be dedicated solely to focusing on your relation with Allah سبحانه و تعالى. Once we start offering our prayers in this manner, we can let go of our qualms and indulge ourselves in His worship.
Yet, maintaining the khushu will become arduous due to the insinuating whispers of Satan, thus, ponder on every supplication and every verse you recite because the more you reflect, the more sincere your prayer will turn out to be.
The act of prostration, or sujūd is the greatest pillar of our prayer and the seal of the rukū because in this position, we can truly submit ourselves to our Lord. Sujūd is also the position in which we are the closest to Allah سبحانه و تعالى, so embrace that closeness and increase your supplications while prostrating, for you shall be comforted by it.
Our schedules often cause us to rush off the prayer mat once we offer the salam, but when we do have the luxury of time, we should take time to recite the post prayer supplications and supplications of our own, knowing that Allah سبحانه و تعالى is close, present and listening.
“And when My servants ask you, concerning Me, indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me by obedience, and believe in Me that they may be rightly guided.” – Surah Al-Baqarah
So let’s start incorporating prayer into our lives and invoke in accordance to your belief/religion, as it gives us the ability to disconnect from the affairs of this world and connect with our Creator. If you do not associate yourself with a divinity, take some time off your day to meditate since it is an escape you can have from the 12 hour chaos. And for my fellow Muslims, no matter how busy you are, do not miss any obligatory prayers, especially Fajr. A busy life may make prayer harder, but prayer is guaranteed to make a busy life easier.
It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet ﷺ said: “The first thing among their deeds for which the people will be brought to account on the Day of Resurrection will be prayer.” Read More.