I prayed all five prayers today. I realize you are wondering why I would dedicate a whole blog post to this but for me it’s a big deal. I’m not proud to say it, but truthfully, I have struggled with prayer for a long time. I do vaguely remember a short period where I was very much into it. But as I said, it was a short period of time.
I’m 30 now with 2 children of my own and I guess having children, makes you evaluate your own life, your actions, where you came from and where you are going. After-all wherever you go, they will follow. I look at my little Manessa. She’s already memorize a few Surahs which she is very proud to recite. Her accent is adorable and the way she pronounces the words just melts my heart. The words still hold no meaning to her but she recites with pride. We talk about Jannah and how it is a beautiful place. She tells me, “Mama, I want to go to Jannah”. How innocent. How beautiful.
I too want to go to Jannah. I suppose as a born Muslim, I kind of took advantage of the fact that perhaps I had a head start on route to Jannah. I speak Arabic so learning how to pray and recite Qur’an was easier. Not easy; easier. I grew up Muslim so it was just part of my life. My mom taught me that Islam is a way of life and isn’t that the truth?! It dictates every part of our lives. From how we dress to what we eat to how we interact with others. EVERYTHING!
During Ramadan this year, I taught Manessa the Five Pillars of Islam. I taught her that salat (prayer) was one of those and that it was an important thing for Muslims to do. How hypocritical! I’m telling her she should be praying but so rarely had she seen me pray. Nobody likes a hypocrite and I’m sure even her 3 year old mind was very confused by this.
You’re wondering why I didn’t pray right? Well it wasn’t because I didn’t believe in the importance of it. That’s not it at all. Actually I’ve always felt something was missing in my journey and I always craved that connection with Allah that you can only get from moments of solitude and worship. I watched many people around me pray regularly and thought of how easy it is to complete the prayers. I mean it literally takes 3 minutes per prayer, 5 times a day is a big 15 minutes! I spend more time trying to make my hijab look good in the morning!
My list of excuses was extensive. There are a bajillion things I would do before praying. I’d often forget (I seriously have a bad memory), then the next prayer would come and pass and it was just an ugly domino effect. Uh, and wudu?! Seriously, get wet or attempt to not go to the bathroom all day so I wouldn’t have to make wudu again. Silly, I know but true.
When I was in Egypt this year, I watched my father-in-law pray. He and my mother-in-law never miss a prayer and I admire that. There is something else I noticed about my father-in-law though, he had this urgency to pray. It was like he couldn’t wait for the next prayer. I crave that.
Don’t get me wrong, I tried a million times to start praying regularly and always gave up. I even went through a phase where I felt so guilty, I would cry during every prayer because I felt I was not worthy to stand before God. He had given me so many blessings and gifts and it have been a long time since I had thanked him properly. It is somewhat intimidating when you know as soon as you say “Allahu Akbar” HE turns to face you and give you his undivided attention.
I don’t know at what point it struck me that I needed to do right by my children and more so do right by myself and start praying regularly. But, I took that step. Here I am telling the world of something I am quite ashamed of but I hope that if someone else is in that same place, they will know they are not alone. We are all on this journey and we make different pit stops, take different turns and come to different cross roads. I know in my journey, I want to lead my children to light, to God, to a life of blessings. Here I am taking the first step. I prayed all 5 prayers today.