How Do I Motivate Someone to Perform the Good?

Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Question: How do I motivate someone who doesn’t perform the solat or one who is inconsistent in doing it? Do I tell them to work their way up slowly e.g. praying one prayer a day and then slowly increase the number to all the obligatory prayers? What if they don’t know the dhikr to be recited too including all the obligatory ones? Should I get them to memorize those first or go through the motions and recite any dhikr they know?

Answer: Wa alaykum Assalam wa Rahmatullah wa Barakatuhu,

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful & Compassionate

I pray that this finds you well, and in the best of health and spirits. May Allah grant you all good and success in this life and the next.

Your question relates to three key Islamic principles:

(1) commanding the good;

(2) sincere counsel (nasiha);

(3) calling to Allah.

We have to remember that the sunna of the Beloved Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) regarding action is two-fold:

a. That we take the best, most positive, and most effective means (both outward and inward) that we are able to;

b. With this, we realize that everything is under the absolute disposal of Allah Most High.

It is generally unwise to  constantly advise  those who are not practicing: this usually has little benefit, and can make people more disinclined towards the good they are being called to.

Rather, what we see in the example of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) is that we should strive to encourage people in a positive and indirect manner.

Related Links:

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Faraz Rabbani

Making Up Missed Prayers: I Believed but Did Not Utter the Testimony of Faith

Answered by Sidi Salman Younas

Question: I converted to Islam about a year and a half ago. However, I have been studying Islam for years, and I knew I wanted to become a Muslim for a while. Since I was living with my parents earlier and they absolutely forbade me from converting, I did not pray, fast, or say the shahadah out loud, even though I believed it. This went on for a a few years until I entered college and finally had the freedom to start practicing Islam. Do I need to make up the prayers and fasts that I didn’t do during those three and a half years? I wasn’t officially Muslim yet in that I hadn’t said the shahadah, and I didn’t know how to pray properly. Some say that I have to make up these prayers and fasts, while others say that because I wasn’t really Muslim then (since I didn’t say shahadah) I don’t need to make them up since my sins have been forgiven through repentance and me taking my shahadah. Please advise.

Answer: assalamu `alaykum

I pray you are well and in the best of spirits.

May Allah bless you with your new found faith and grant you success in this life and the next. It is beautiful to hear how you persisted in your faith despite all the obstacles and difficulties.

As for your question, it would be best to make up the prayers you had missed, if you are able to do so, and to do so in the most effective of ways.

There is a difference of opinion between the scholars regarding the testimony of faith (shahada) and its relation to faith (iman). There are three major opinions:

1. It is a condition (shart) for the soundness of one’s faith (iman).
2. It is an actual part (shatr) of faith, which would render it similar to the first position, namely that faith without it is not valid.
3. It is a condition for worldly rulings to apply to a person, not for faith itself.

[Bajuri, Jawharat al-Tawhid]

According to the first two positions, an individual who believed but did not pronounce the testimony of faith to enter into Islam never entered it to begin with. According to this position, since the individual never entered Islam there would be no obligation to make up missed prayers as they were missed while the individual was still a non-Muslim.

According to the third position, having conviction and accepting Islam in one’s hearts would suffice for one to be considered a Muslim with Allah. However, the testimony of faith is a condition for worldly Islamic rulings to apply to the individual, such as issues related to marriage, burial, giving Zakat, and so forth. This is because though inward conviction suffices in the knowledge of Allah, the Muslim community requires an outward indicator of an individuals Islam before applying the laws of Islam to them.

All three of these positions are strong and have been held by great scholars throughout our tradition.

As such, the more cautious approach would be to make-up such missed prayers. You should try to do this gradually, viewing it as an opportunity that Allah has given you to draw closer to Him. There is no need to overburden yourself. Rather, the best actions in the eyes of Allah are the ones that are consistent, even if small.

May Allah facilitate you to do what is best for He is the best of facilitators.


Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani

Trying to Practice but Feel Like a Failure: What Should I Do?

Answered by Sidi Abdullah Anik Misra

Question: I am a 15 year old Aspergers Child and am a sophmore at a Catholic high school. I was never given a proper chance to learn about Islam formally. I used to learn Quran with my dad but I later stopped. I was never accustomed to fasting or praying and I still am unable to pray all 5 daily prayers. On top of this, I am having issues with my studies, trying to stay away from dating, dances, and so forth. My dad tells me that unless I shape up and get good grades and becoming practicing, I’m not going to be an A grade in life. I”ve tried performing all my rpayerbut after a while I stop. My mom and my sister try to stop me from fasting during school days and discourage me from doing so. I feel depressed about my life and I feel like I am a big failure. What do I do?

Answer: Wa alaikum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Thanks for writing to us. I think that as a 15 year old, in an environment where there aren’t many Muslims and Islam isn’t taught, without much support from family and while struggling against high school temptations, just the fact that you have so much concern about your Islamic practice is a huge blessing!

Just think about it: there are many other youth who are totally lost, not knowing the slightest thing about their faith, let alone worrying and stressing about how to please Allah. When I read your account, I didn’t see you as a failure at all- rather, I think you are strong and insha Allah, your attitude is one of success.

Success with Allah Most High is often attained through struggling against one’s own self, one’s desires, and in striving to resist the demands to do wrong that society invites you to.  This was how the prophets (peace be upon them), the best of mankind, lived their entire lives- through challenges and difficulty. By trying to maintain your Deen (your faith) in your situation, you are following in their footsteps.

My advice would be to try to try putting what you read into practice bit by bit. Start by making dua’ to Allah Most High regularly when alone; ask Him to make your journey easy for you. Begin integrating your 5 daily prayers into your schedule without delay – the prayers are a must and they will keep you away from bad things and uplift your spirit. Most importantly, get yourself into Islamic company: visit the masjid more often, make Muslim friends, and even spend time reading Qu’ran or attending talks with your Dad.

If anyone should discourage you from practicing, be polite and patient with them, but do not give up what Allah Most High has made a duty upon us. Distract yourself from the temptations of dating and bad company by focusing on school work, and perhaps in your spare time, take a basic course on an Islamic subject online (see Seekers Guidance from more details).

Don’t let yourself get down about the challenges. You’re doing very well, and once you integrate prayers and good company into your life, you will see how much easier and fulfilling it gets, insha Allah.  May Allah Ta’ala reward you.

Abdullah Misra

Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani