My Christian blog buddy, Holly, posted an entry that has inspired me to write this. I didn’t want to hog her comment box or offend her or her viewers with my non- Christian ramblings. Holly says she is often asked:
“How do you find time to connect with God?” They mean, “How, in the midst of many young children and home schooling, do you find time to have devotions? How do you find time to worship God, to grow in your relationship with Him?”
Funny, this very subject has been on my mind a lot lately. Not only how to properly worship, but how to do anything for yourself – by yourself! I admire sisters who are able to study, keep a clean home, cook, look good for the husband, make herself available for the husband, exercise, and still stay sane. I honestly have a hard time balancing the act.
As far as worshipping Allah, I guess having five appointed prayers a day can make this an easier thing to do for a Muslim than a Christian, but at the same time it can be a test too. Having the prayers at fixed times, allows me to drop whatever I am doing a go to my Lord. It is not always easy to drop everything, but it gives me a reference. Also living in a Muslim country where I can hear the prayer call helps a lot! The actual test is with my concentration. If I can sneak away from the kids, I feel like I am in a rush and not fully concentrating. If I pray with or around the kids, my eyes are usually not fixed where they should be, I’m jumpy, and I forget what I said or where I was at, which prolongs the prayer because now I am during the additional stuff for if we forget, which I usually have to think about if I am even doing that right. I often feel guilty for rushing through the prayer but am comforted by the example our Prophet gave us:
“My father said, “The Prophet said, ‘When I stand for prayer, I intend to prolong it but on hearing the cries of a child, I cut it short, as I dislike to trouble the child’s mother.’ “
I really do appreciate the structure that you get in Islam if you adhere to the Quran and the Sunnah (way of the Prophet). Though it is sometimes difficult for me to always perform the five daily prayers in the manner that they should be prayed (and I ask that Allah accept my prayers with all of their deficiencies), Islam also prescribes various supplications to be made throughout the day and night and memorizing those brings peace to to my heart. I like to supplicate in my own words but I love that we are giving the best ways to supplicate at the appropriate times, because life can be chaotic enough and without the structure I fear that I could fall into lack of remembrance of Allah (and I seek refuge in Allah from that).
I do have some wonderful friends, moms of many, who are able to arise in the middle of the night and spend hours in their prayer closets.
Prayer closets! I found that interesting, because it reminded me of the hadeeth (narrations of the sayings, actions, traditions of Prophet Muhammad), that I can not seem to locate, but says that the best place for a Muslim woman to pray is in her home and the best place in her home is in a small room or something like that. If anybody has the hadeeth please post it. I know some sisters who pray in their walk in closets and I use to live in an apartment in Chicago with a huge pantry and I once had some Tablighi sisters over and they admired the pantry and were like, “this would make a great prayer area”. I was shocked because I had an extra bedroom that I had turned into a musalla (prayer room).
They tell how they have prayed that their children sleep well, in order to afford them this time. I’m happy for them, that it worked out this way, that the children obliged them and slept. Really, I am. But it never works this way for me. If I awaken at 5 a.m., by 5:05 the little feet will hit the floor and join me in a cold kitchen. (And of course – this would be theoretical…as if I were to ever rise at 5 a.m!)
Well Holly, I do have to wake for prayer at 5am and sometimes earlier because the first prayer of the day is pre-dawn! And yes, the scenario you described actually happens to me!
We usually commune amidst chaos. And the communion lasts throughout the day, and into the night. It never stops – it has no end.
This was the pivotal point of her post! It was short, sweet, eloquent, and exactly what I do! Ideally, I would feel ‘closest’ to Allah while in the prostrating position of the prayer. When I am able to have peace and quite and totally submit myself to Him, while I am in that position – it is a feeling I can not describe. It is very humbling and I don’t want to get up. I want to die in that position, while in prayer. However, it is a rare occurrence that I am able to prostrate at a length that I can pour out my heart to Him, so I too do this amidst chaos. My whole day I spend practically in a constant state of awareness, supplication, and ‘communion’. When I enter the bathroom I have to remind myself – NOT IN THERE! At night in my bed, I can’t sleep because I am ‘communing’ and would love to get up and offer additional prayers but I usually have a baby attached to the breast or I am just exhausted and feel I can better and more sincerely communicate with Allah like I am.
“If anyone finds pleasure in receiving an answer from Allah in times of difficulty,
he should make many supplications when times are easy.“
Tirmidhi, Narrated AbuHurayrah, gharib tradition
I believe that God fully understands the mother’s heart, and her life as well. He knows she does not have hours to spend in solitude. Didn’t He create you to be a woman? A mother? Well then, He knows you.
Of course He Knows us, He Created us and he is Most Merciful, Most Forgiving! We are giving another example in the following narration:
The Apostle of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) delivered a speech to us; meanwhile al-Hasan and al-Husayn (the grandsons of the Prophet) came upon there stumbling, wearing red shirts. He came down from the pulpit, took them and ascended it with them. He then said: Allah truly said: “Your property and your children are only trial” (Ixiv.15). I saw both of them, and I could not wait. Afterwards he resumed the speech.
And this is one reason why the following verses are so relevant. Allah says: “And your Lord has decreed that you worship none but Him, and that you be dutiful to your parents. If one of them or both of them attain old age in your life, say not to them a word of disrespect, not shout at them, but address them in terms of honour. And lower unto them the wing of submission and humility through mercy, and say: ‘My Lord! Bestow on them Your Mercy as they did bring me up when I was small.’” [al-Isra’ 17:23-24].
“O you who believe! Let not your properties or your children divert you from the remembrance of Allah. And whosoever does that, they are the losers.”
[The Noble Qur’an – Al-Munafiqun 63:9]
“And remember your Lord by your tongue and within yourself,
humbly and with fear without loudness in words in the mornings,
and in the afternoons and be not of those who are neglectful.
Surely, those who are with your Lord (angels)
are never too proud to perform acts of worship to Him,
but they glorify His Praise and prostrate before Him.”
[The Noble Qur’an – Al-A’raf 7:205-206]