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9 SIMPLE TIPS to Praying on time!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) told Bilal, “Call for the prayers, it will comfort us.” (Imam Ahmad in Al Musnad)
“Gimme five minutes”, “I just need to finish this task/project/report/ book/movie/ video before I go and pray
Heard those? Or said them to yourself? If Yes, then you or someone you know might be suffering from – what I call “IWPI5M” disorder (I Will Pray In Five Minutes!). Procrastinating and neglecting Salah is quite common among Muslims, especially among the youth. Here are few simple tips to help you get back on track.
1. Intention: Sounds simple, doesn’t it? Of course, we all “plan” to pray on time. It’s almost like default. But here’s what I’m referring – to explicitly make the intention, aloud, a couple of times a day. Most importantly in the morning, after you wake up, and after each prayer – for the next one.
Intentions can come as a Positive Will Power Statement: “Inshah Allah, I will pray all my Salah today on time.”
Or it can come in terms of Positive affirmations (in Present tense): “I am happily and excitedly praying all five prayers on time”. Saying the intention in present tense does magic to your mind. Even better, write them down.
2. Set an Alarm: No, I’m not referring to the alarm that we set for Fajr. I am talking about setting one for every Salah. If you have a Prayer Time software on your Computer/Laptop/Phone/PDA – set an alarm. Best is the Adhan sound. If not, just a regular “buzzz” on a mobile phone would do. [I prefer adhan as it is THE "call to prayer", and when you hear the words "come to Salah, come to Success" you won't be able to distract yourself with other stuff].
Here’s a COOL GEM : When you hear the alarm, go IMMEDIATELY. No snoozing, no more procrastinating.
3. Dua: Salah is your connection to Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala). So beg Allah to honor you with Salah. Ask yourself: Is this just a “wish”? Do I need it? Badly? Make dua like you “want” it  - badly. Remember, Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) is not just your end, but your means as well. Ask Allah to help you “connect” with Him. He is the only One who can guide you, assist you and make it easy for you.
The Prophet (salallahu alayhi wa sallam) used to make a du’a: اللّهُمَّ إنِّي أعُوذُبِكَ مِن العَجزِ وَ الكَسلٍ – O Allah, I seek refuge in you from incapability and laziness.
4. Dhikr: I remember asking my Quran teacher about laziness to pray Salah. She said – laziness is from Shaitan. Recite “La hawla wa la quwata..” all day. It keeps Shaitan away from you, and brings Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) close to you. Throughout the day, seek refuge from Shaitan by reciting “auo’dhu billah” and ask Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala) for forgiveness by reciting “istaghfaar”.
A Cool GEM : Start every task with “Bismilla”: This is a very powerful technique. When you start a task in the name of Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), you are having a blessing on your task. And at the time of the prayer, you will automatically feel yourself to go and pray. Try this out. It works like a charm!
5. Schedule: Schedule your day around your Salah, not the other way round. Whether it’s outlook, PDA, Phone, Gmail calendar, or Taskinator – whatever you use, mark your Salah times in first. This way, you know you got to complete the report before the Salah, or schedule it after the Salah.
6. Wear the reminder: I recently came across this website: the idea is to wear a reminder, literally. It could be something you wear or a sticker on your hand. (I often hear from my elders about tying a knot on their head scarf as a visual reminder to do something… well, it’s another story that they sometimes forgot what it meant to remind them ;) ) The visual reminder works really well, because you see the reminder every time. You can’t miss it. Every time you look at it, you are reminded that you need to go and pray now.
7. Associating immense pleasure with praying on time and massive pain on not praying on time: Anthony Robbins refers to “Pain and Pleasure” technique in motivation and decision-making.
“Understanding this principle is like unlocking the secrets to human behavior, and will allow you to take complete control over your own life and also help others to regain control over theirs. To change a behavior, we just need to associate more pain with doing the behavior and more pleasure with changing the behavior. Once that is done, without question or exception, your behavior will change. Your desire to avoid pain and gain pleasure is even stronger than any chemical addiction you may have” [Years to Success]
Associating pleasure with praying on time : Make a list of “Why” – i.e, the pros of praying on time. Self confidence, clearer mind (due to “spiritual retreat” that Salah offer), boost in Productivity, assistance from Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta’ala), keeping us away from Shaitan, purifying and cleansing from our sins, etc
Pleasure with Salah:
a) Those Who Pray Shall Have Nothing to Fear on the Day of Judgment
“Truly, those who believe and do righteous deeds, and perform Salah, and give Zakah, they will have their reward with their Lord. On them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” (2:277)

b) Prayer Protects Against Evils “Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book, and perform Salah. Verily, Salah prevents from lewdness and evils. And indeed, the remembrance of Allah (by you) is greatest. And Allah knows what you do.” (29:45)
c) “Successful indeed are the believers. Those who perform their Salah with all solemnity and full submissiveness” – Chapter 23, verse 1-2 of the Quran.
d) Salah Is the Sign of a Believer. “The believers, men and women, are protecting friends of one another; they enjoin good and forbid evil, and they establish Salah, and give Zakah, and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah will have His Mercy on them, and surely, Allah is All-Mighty, All-Wise.” (Surah Tawba 9: 71)
Associating pain with neglecting Salah: Recite and ponder on the verses mentioning those who neglect their salah, the punishment and the consequences.
a) Previous Nations Were Corrupted when Salah Was Left
“Then, there came after them a generation who gave up Salah and followed lusts; so they will be thrown in Hell.” (19: 59)

b) Hypocrites Are Lazy in Salah “Verily, the hypocrites seek to deceive Allah, but it is He who deceives them; When they stand up for Salah, they stand with laziness, only to be seen by men; and they do not remember Allah but a little.” (4:142)
8. Pray together: If you are on Campus/Residence, gather the Sisters (or Brothers – if you are a brother!) and pray together. Trust me, friends who remind you in goodness, are the truest of your friends. Subhanallah, years later, you’ll still have a special bond with them. For brothers – nothing beats praying Salah in congregation at the Masjid. Have a group of friends that remind each other to pray – and pray together.
(Associate pleasure with praying in congregation: The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said, “Salat in congregation is twenty-seven times more meritorious than a Salat performed individually.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].)
9. Be in the state of Wudu. Sometimes you delay your Salah because you need to perform Wudu. Solution: Be in the state of wudu all the time. This way, whenever it is time your salah – you are prepared. No more excuses. [I won’t go into mentioning the other advantages of being in the state of wudu. One of them is productivity. Enough said! ;) )
If you are beginning your journey for Life Success – your work, studies, marriage, dream job, or working on any of your dream you have in your life – begin that journey by making “Perfecting Salah” – one of your main life goals, and revolve your life around “Salah”.
Indeed this is the path to true Life Success and within days, you will begin to make a difference – in your life and the life of those around you.
May He accept.
Hafsa Taher

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