Jaffer H Jaffer
(Los Angeles, United States)
As the Holy Month of Ramadhan quickly set over the horizon, a certain sadness overwhelmed my heart, for this was the time when we had tried to better ourselves in every facet of life. We struggled each day to control our desires and imagination, to cleanse our hearts and our tongues by abstaining from the natural acts of eating and drinking. We took different measures to become spiritually connected with Allah (SWT) in an attempt to get closer to Him. But how many of us continue this struggle in our daily namaaz?
Out of all the acts of devotion and worship that we perform, namaaz is the most important and yet sadly the most overlooked. There is no doubt that we all pray, but just as in life, in namaaz there are external and internal behaviors that are both extremely important.
We are creatures of habit, and when it is time to pray we will gladly leave all of our worldly belongings and go to meet our Maker. Yet we recite our namaaz blindly, having memorized and mastered the actions and words. Sometimes we recite half-asleep during Fajr namaaz so as to not miss out on any of our sleep. It is a tough habit to break because since we were kids in the Madrasah, the actual translation and philosophy of namaaz was never taught. Nor was this spirituality ever emphasized at home. Maybe it is supposed to be a coming of age process where one is supposed to connect with the Almighty. However, attaining this level of spirituality takes time, patience and dedication.
There is no better time then this Holy Month to begin this process of Me’raj towards Allah (SWT). He has made it easier for us by freeing us from the burdens and distractions of Shaitan. Ascending towards Him is our responsibility now.
The first step in this journey is to realize the Might and Grandeur of our Lord. We must be punctual in our namaaz. If we had a job interview, we would make sure we were on time, wearing the best of clothes in an attempt to better our position and income in this world. Each and every day, five times a day, we meet with our ‘real boss’ attempting to secure a better position in the Hereafter. We must step onto the prayer mat, fully understanding that we are meeting our Land Lord who at any time could evict us from the world we know. It is truly a humbling thought.
The second and equally important step is to realize that we are His servants fulfilling our duty to Him. We must be proud to be his servants just like our beloved Prophet Muhammad Mustafa (SAW) graciously spent his entire life in servitude to Him. That is why in namaaz during tashahud, we bear witness that Muhammad (SAW) was first a servant then the messenger of Allah (SWT). We can never come close to serving Allah (SWT) as our Prophet (SAW) did, but to even be in the shadow of the Prophet’s being would fulfill our duty.
This lack of spirituality in namaaz is not just a problem facing a specific community or culture; it is a problem affecting the entire Ummah. We must embrace this challenge with open arms and struggle in the way of Allah (SWT), for there is no better struggle in life then to struggle for Him