Thursday, August 30, 2012

I'm a Muslim and I'm having a hard time to pray

I've decided to do my own transcript (there's already one, which inspired me to do this) of this video which I feel is a really important topic to focus on and for all of us to ponder upon, as it revolves around the topic of Solaat, the 5 obligatory daily prayers for Muslims.

 Something, which many have taken lightly about its importance in our lives as Muslims. Check out the video, just over 6 mins long.


Questioner: "Hi can you give me advice? I'm a new Muslim but I can't seem to pray 5 times a day. It's been a year now but does God really care if I pray 5 times as long as I'm doing good?" 

Ustadh Nouman Ali Khan answered: "Two things here. There are actually two different statements which are two different problems in the question.

 The FIRST problem is, I can't pray 5 times a day. I can't do it. Now, I don't believe you. Whoever said I can't do it, I don't believe you. You know why? Because I believe Allah. Now, I didn't say I believe in Allah, I said I believe Allah. There's a difference, right? I believe in Allah means I believe Allah exists, I believe in Him. But when I say I believe Allah, it means I believe what He says.

He says, subhaanahu wata'aala: {Laa yukallifulLahu nafsan illaa wus'ahaa..} [Al-Baqarah 2:286]

Allah will not burden anyone unless they are able to carry that burden. That's what Allah said. Allah said He does not burden anyone with any responsibility, unless they are capable of living up to that burden. This is what He said. 

You're saying you are not able to live up to a responsibility that Allah gave you, isn't that true? You're saying I can't pray 5 times, it's too much! And Allah is saying yes you can!

So I have a choice in believing you and believing Allah, and perhaps if you didn't realize this maybe you're lying to yourself..Maybe you've convinced yourself because of your laziness, because of your lack of will, that you don't want to pray 5 times. I can't judge you, I don't know what the problem is, but the problem maybe you're ashamed to pray in front of non-Muslims. People can take 15 minute cigarette breaks at work. They can take a break and just go hang out do whatever, you can't pray 5 times a day? Subhanallah.

 I mean in this part of the world, you know, I used to work in New York City, I would see Muslims praying all over the place. In the middle of 5th Avenue, on the curb, the guy is making solaah cos it's time. Or you know, in the university, you open the copy machine room in the library and there's like three guys praying right there. Muslims will pray, if it's time, we're gonna pray, that's it! So there's no excuses.

 So that's the first thing, Allah said you can. So if Allah gave this burden upon you and He did in fact, then you can. Convince yourself of that. And rely on Allah and He'll make it easy for you. 

 The SECOND question is, does He really care? Does He even care if I pray or not? Now this question is actually more about does He need my prayer or not?

 You're forgetting that the prayer isn't for Allah. It's for you. It's not for Allah. If all the people in the world, all they did in their life was pray to Allah, it would not make Him any richer. And it wouldn't add to His Kingdom cos He owns all of Kingdom. And if no one mentioned Allah, ever again, it doesn't diminish His Dominion, His Kingdom, His Glory, in any way. 

 He doesn't need us. We need Him.. We need Him. 

 So the question is, do you feel like you need to pray? Do you feel like that's a need in your life? And if it's not, and you feel you're free of, you know, begging Allah for His help, turning to Allah and submitting before His commandments, then that's a serious problem with your faith.

It has become weak and this question only came up because you've been distanced from Allah for so long, that shaitan can come to you and say, "Yeah I know you used to feel bad about not praying, let's just get rid of that bad feeling, and replace it with, Well why do I have to pray anyway?". That's the next phase of that disease. 

 The first part was at least, it was diagnosed, but at least you had some bad feeling, guilt was still there, that's a gift from Allah. When that guilt even goes away, and you say,"Aaah, Allah doesn't need my prayer, it's all good. So long as I'm doing good. And that's the last part that I wanna talk about, this so long as you're doing good part.

 Who defines what's good? There are two kinds of good in this world, please remember this ok? There're two kinds of good.

 1) There's ethical good. I'm good to my neighbour, I'm honest at work, I'm nice to people, I don't steal, I don't cheat, you know. These are ethics. Basic ethics, right.. I tell the truth, I'm honest, I pay my taxes, bla bla bla, these are ethical truths.

 2) Then there are religious goods. I go to Hajj, I give zakaat, I pray 5 times a day, I fast in the month of Ramadhan. These aren't ethical realities, these are religious goods.Good deeds that are religious and good deeds that are ethical, moral in nature.

 What happens a lot of times with Muslims, and non-Muslims, especially it happens with Muslims.. Is that we make a distinction between these two things. So in the Muslim world, you find people that are morally good. They're nice to their family, they take care of their kids, they're responsible in their household, they're nice to their neighbours, they're honest at work.. Good people. But guess what? No religion. I don't need religion to be good, that's what they say.

 And on the other extreme, you have people that pray, go to hajj, give zakaah, have a long beard, dress in a very religious garment, and yet, terrible to their family, cheating people in business.. Highly immoral and unethical.

 So what has happened is, we have seperated the two dimensions of goodness. Moral goodness (Ethical goodness) and Religious goodness.

 What Allah does in the Qur'an is, fuses them together, in that aayah, there's one aayah, it's called aayaatul birr. [Refer to soorah Al-Baqarah 2:177] Aayah of goodness. What does it mean to be good. If you study that aayah, it's a combination of two things. It's a combination of ethical principles, like fulfilling your promises; being patient, perseverence and also religious goodness; establishing prayer, giving the zakaah. So it's a combination of both of those things in one place. 

 So if you think you are in a position to define what good is, most likely you're sticking to moral goodness. And you're undermining religious goodness, like the rituals that Allah taught us.

 But what Allah wants is for us to have both at the same time. This is when a person is truly good. Otherwise, you're not really good. You have defined goodness for yourself, and you've rejected Allah's definition of it.

 But we turn to Allah for guidance because we can't define things for ourselves, we want Him to define for us. Insha Allahu Ta'aala.


 {وَأَنَا اخْتَرْتُكَ فَاسْتَمِعْ لِمَا يُوحَى - إِنَّنِى أَنَا اللَّهُ لا إِلَـهَ إِلا أَنَاْ فَاعْبُدْنِى وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَوةَ لِذِكْرِى} 

{And I have chosen you. So listen to that which will be revealed (to you). Verily, I am Allah! There is no God but Me, so worship Me, and perform Salah for My remembrance.''} [Taa-Haa 20: (13-14)]

the Prophet (peace & blessings of Allah be upon him) said,

((The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad."))
[Recorded by al-Tabarani. According to al-Albani, it is sahih. Al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami, vol.1, p. 503.]

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