Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Alhamdulillah, Allah Most High has placed in my heart love for worshipping Him and doing Dhikr, etc, and the mercy of Allah Most High is always upon us. My parents say that I take too long in praying as I do dhikr after, and they say this affects my responsibilities towards them, such as helping with the house etc. my mother even said that it’s not permissible to take so long in dhikr like this if it prevents her from doing her dhikr or other obligations.
Is this true? Do I have to shorten my dhikr or rush my prayers so that I fulfill my obligations toward them? Dhikr is the only way I can basically stay sane, I feel like I need to take long in prayer and dhikr, if I rush it I feel like it affects my Iman.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
I am happy to hear that you have found love in your heart for the worship and remembrance of Allah Most High. May Allah increase you in this love.
Before answering your question, allow me to clarify some things.
What is the Worship of Allah Most High?
Worship of Allah Most High is a broad term that encompasses any and every act that fulfills what Allah Most High wants from us at that moment. The act of worship which Allah Most High wants may differ from moment to moment. That said, one must seek out (through knowledge) what Allah Most High wants at that moment.
My Prayer or My Mother?
With the above kept in mind, consider this beautiful Prophetic story that is filled with lessons for us believers:
Abu Huraira (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “A woman called for her son while he was in his place of worship. She said, “Oh Juraij!” He said (to himself), “O Allah, my mother and my prayer (which should I prefer).” She said, “Oh Juraij!” He said (to himself), “O Allah, my mother and my prayer (which should I prefer).” She said, “Oh Juraij!” He said (to himself), “O Allah, my mother and my prayer (which should I prefer).” She (then) said, “O Allah! Do not allow Juraij to die till he gazes upon the face of unchaste women.” After that, a female shepherd would graze her sheep in the vicinity of his place area. This woman later gave birth to a child. People began to ask her, “From who is this child?” She said, “From the Juraij that came down from his place of worship.” (When news reached him,) Juraij said, “Where is the woman who assumes that her child is mine.” (He approached the child of this woman and) He said, “O Child, who is your father?” The child spoke and said, “So and so Shephard (i.e., someone other than Juraij).” [Bukhari]
Gaining the Love of Allah through Serving the Mother
The amount of Quranic verses and Prophetic narrations expressive of the status of the mother and thereby the immense virtue in serving her are too many to list here. However, the following narration is sufficient in this regard:
Abdullah bin Masud (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that he asked the Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace), “What is the most beloved action to Allah.” He said, “Prayer in its proper time.” I asked, “Then what?” He said, “Then righteous treatment of the parents.” I asked, “Then what.” He said, “Then striving in the path of Allah (Jihad).” [Muslim]
In another narration, the question was put forward to the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) as, “What action is closest to Paradise?” [Ibid.]
Even though one may feel a stronger spiritual connection to a specific act of worship, one will ultimately draw nearer to Allah and find a greater level of spiritual tranquility by giving preference to that which is most pleasing to Allah Most High in that specific situation.
Finding a Balance
From the above story, we can see a similitude to your situation. Juraij was tested with the accusations of his people due to the supplication from his mother who was upset due to his decision to prefer his own personal worship over her needs. This does not mean that your prayers, personal worships, and remembrances are to be entirely ignored when the parents require your time.
Consider the following approach as a moderate solution:
First step: Before praying your obligatory prayers, check in with your mother to assess whether she needs your help at that moment. If she does, assist her (as long as the prayer time is not running out) then tell her that you will now go ahead and pray.
Second step: Perform your obligatory prayer deliberately as you normally would.
Last Step: Afterwards, (if you know you are not needed) take your time in your remembrances as you have become accustomed to. (If you are needed) Otherwise, either perform your remembrance quickly or do so while you are assisting your parents. Even though you are actively engaged in something with your hands, your tongue can be engaged in remembrance.
Taking out time for the needs of your parents may take away from some of your personal worship time, so whatever free time you find between helping your parents can be used to make up for what was lost. In reality, what is most important is quality not quantity and your intentions. Strive to make whatever free time you have quality time sincerely for Allah Most High. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Make your religion purely for Allah and little (deeds) will suffice you.”
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.
رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنْهُ قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ نَادَتِ امْرَأَةٌ ابْنَهَا وَهُوَ فِي صَوْمَعَةٍ قَالَتْ يَا جُرَيْجُ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ أُمِّي وَصَلَاتِي قَالَتْ يَا جُرَيْجُ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ أُمِّي وَصَلَاتِي قَالَتْ يَا جُرَيْجُ قَالَ اللَّهُمَّ أُمِّي وَصَلَاتِي قَالَتِ اللَّهُمَّ لَا يَمُوتُ جُرَيْجٌ حَتَّى يَنْظُرَ فِي وَجْهِ الْمَيَامِيسِ وَكَانَتْ تَأْوِي إِلَى صَوْمَعَتِهِ رَاعِيَةٌ تَرْعَى الْغَنَمَ فَوَلَدَتْ فَقِيلَ لَهَا مِمَّنْ هَذَا الْوَلَدُ قَالَتْ مِنْ جُرَيْجٍ نَزَلَ مِنْ صَوْمَعَتِهِ قَالَ جُرَيْجٌ أَيْنَ هَذِهِ الَّتِي تَزْعُمُ أَنَّ وَلَدَهَا لِي قَالَ يَا بَابُوسُ مَنْ أَبُوكَ قَالَ رَاعِي الْغَنَمِ.
ص63 – كتاب صحيح البخاري ط السلطانية – باب إذا دعت الأم ولدها في الصلاة – المكتبة الشاملة