As Muslim youth born and raised in the West, maintaining our Muslim identity can be a challenge at times. One common challenge, is committing to our five daily prayers on time, amidst our busy day. In Muslim countries, adhan (call to prayer) will play around the city, and most people will put their school or business on hold momentarily to perform their daily salaat. We, as people of the West, do not have this privilege. However, we have something else—the chance to prove our love of God above all other material things.
I have found myself in social situations day after day where I am left contemplating whether to excuse myself to do my salaat in the other room, or whether to wait until later. This is the common ‘to pray, or not to pray’ dilemma. The issue here is not whether it is easy and accessible to pray on time everyday. The issue here is how strong our relationship with God is.
When somebody has a strong relationship with God, pulling away from a social situation, whether it be a meeting or a social gathering, to pray, should not be a matter of debate. A strong relationship with our God, means we will do what we have been asked of Him to do, and whatever means necessary to please Him. The harder the situation is, the more we prove our priorities. By setting aside our worldly distractions, we are displaying our true strength in faith, and our gracious love for our God.
Believe it or not, a simple, “Pardon my leaving, I’m just going to go pray. I’ll be back soon”, will suffice. With personal experience, I’ve found people to be incredibly understanding and supportive. In fact, my friends know that when my door is closed, or I’ve disappeared for a bit, it means I’m praying and in the state of worship. They respect it, and give me my time and space. I am grateful for such understanding friends.
We must eventually get to a point with our imaan, where our schedules revolve around our daily prayers, rather than trying to fit salaat into our schedule. As much as taking a step out of a meeting, birthday dinner, or even camping trip seems troublesome, true faith and worship is established in our hearts once we start prioritizing the pleasing of God over the maintaining of the comfort and ease of the people around us. Think about salaat like a shield; every time we pray our salaat, we are restrengthening our shields against sins. Next time shaytan whispers in your ear, “It’s okay, just pray later when you’re done”, remember God and remember His blessings. Look around you at the trees, the sky, your healthy and beating heart, and take in His Mercy. Put what you are doing on pause for a moment, and give thanks to the One who blessed you with what you’re doing in the first place.
With love & peace, Sherry