Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar...My eyes open. I see nothing but darkness. Stillness and silence engulfs my room. I hear the faint Arabic words from the adhaan clock situated in the upstairs landing. I'm smiling. Alhamdulillah I'm awake for fajr. The next thing I remember thinking is 'My bed is so warm. I'm just going to stay in the duvet listening to the rest of the beautiful call to prayer...' All of a sudden my thoughts are interrupted by the sounds of the baby's whimpering coming from the cot to the side of the room. As I open my eyes, my room is bright, full of the morning rays of light. I look up at my dainty pink clock. It's 8a.m. What a dissappointment - I missed my fajr prayer! :(
This feeling is by far one of the worst feelings to carry with you throughout the day. This struggle of mine hasn't always been around. In fact there was once a time I looked forward to fajr so much so that I could fight off shaytaan's whispers in the morning. I would look forward to reciting/memorising Qur'an in the time remaining just after the Morning Prayer before getting ready for my daily commute to work. Then life changed. I entered a new phase of my life - marriage and now motherhood - mashaAllah both are very beautiful aspects of life. But I was lifted out of my comfort zone as soon as I focussed and thought I had very much established prayer throughout my life. Allah swt felt I was ready for the next level. And the challenges to maintain the Morning Prayer on a regular basis began.
I missed the serenity of the morning in conversing with my Lord, the chirruping of the birds, that peace of mind and barakah in the early morning. Gone.
But, as Muslims we don't give up this easy. We strive, we strive and we strive some more. Our tests are never ending in this life and its how we respond to these tests that determine whether we pass them or not. The story of Ibrahim's (as) test on sacrificing his son Ismaeel comes to mind. He did not fall into despair but trusted in his Lord as did Ismaeel who did not fear the thought of dying because all knowledge and power belonged to Allah. And the outcome of their test was so great that Ibrahim's many generations down the line perform the outcome/reward of his test during the time of the pilgrimage of Hajj (Eid ul Adha) whereby they now sacrifice an animal instead. May Allah be pleased with them both.
1. The first step I'd advise all struggling like I am is to make sincere dua constantly that the outcome of this test of yours is successful.
2. Step 2: With knowledge comes great responsibility (Yes, I took that from spiderman and rephrased to suit me) Watch this fabulous lecture by Mufti Ismail Menk on Simple Ways to Change Yourself. Once you are reminded you should remember by acting on that which you have been reminded of!
3. Download this highly intelligently thought out app called 'Never MissFajr' from your play store on your smart phone. (also available on iphone)
4. Sleep early, wake up early!
5. Never Give Up!
I pray Allah swt makes our tests easy on us and enables us to be constantly reminded to fulfill the obligatory acts of worship. Ameen