Answered by Ustadha Shaista Maqbool
Question: AsSalaamu alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh!
Please advise a way to be steadfast in prayers. I always begin with intentions of continuing making all of my prayers but then laziness sets in and I will go many days without. I understand the need and the obligation yet, I always seem to return to being heedless. I love Islam but have very little will power. I need a formula to be consistent. Please help me.
Wa’alaikum assalaam warahamtu Allahi wabarakatuh,
May this find you in the best of states.
The following are a few ideas you can try which may help you in your struggle to be more steadfast in prayers.
Firstly, always ask Allah ta’ala to help you and relinquish your own strength. Make a sincere epentance for your lapses and make your intention with complete sincerity and resolve to never miss another prayer, ask Allah ta’ala to help you do every step.
Secondly, put yourself in the company of those who are steadfast in their prayers and ask them for their support. You may let them know your problem and ask them to encourage you to help you sustain your prayers. If you are in a situation in which you don’t know anyone around you, go to the masjid to find those who are attached to the houses of Allah and prayer. If you are constantly around people who find it absolutely unacceptable to miss a prayer, it will be easier for you to become like them.
Some other things you can do:
1- Learn about the importance of prayer, its reward, the punishment for those who leave it, etc. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, “[The difference] between a person and polytheism or disbelief is leaving the prayer.” (Muslim)
2- Read the Quran. Being “lazy” in the obligatory acts is a sign of weakness in one’s faith and reciting the Quran strengthens the faith.
3- Learn more about Islam; read about the Prophet salla Allahu alaihi wasallam,etc. This is also intended to strengthen one’s faith.
4- Make a plan and stick to it. Often we need to train our “nafs” or lower self to do things that it dislikes. Set a penalty for yourself for every time you miss a prayer, e.g. paying $2 to a charity or not allowing yourself to check e-mail for a day, etc. Then carry out your plan every time you miss a prayer.
5- If you find yourself being lazy about the prayer especially due to its “taking a long time,” learn the fiqh of wudu and prayer such that you will be able to perform the obligatory acts in each of these. Also, if your “nafs” or lower self does not cooperate to pray the confirmed sunnah prayers (e.g. 4 rakaat before the fard of Zhuhr, etc.), at least start by praying the fard, then gradually add on the sunnas. Praying the sunnas is very important and constant neglect of them is sinful; however, it is not nearly as sinful as missing a fard, so take that into consideration for your plan.
6- Lastly, keep trying and don’t give up. Allah ta’ala says in the Quran, “O My servants who have wronged themselves, do not despair from the Mercy of Allah; indeed Allah forgives all sins, indeed He is the Oft-Forgiving, the Merciful.” (Zumar: 53)
May Allah ta’ala keep us steadfast in that which He loves.
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani