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Posts tagged ‘Obligatory prayers’

9
Jun

Ramadan 2011 Prep Tip #5: Increase in the voluntary prayers – Part 1

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

[Note: Due to the fact that I’m half-asleep at the time of writing this, I won’t be putting up the evidence for the prayers. They’re all fairly well-known though.

If anyone wants the evidence for any of the points, please say so and I’ll put it up later, insha-Allah.]

Okay, so we’re working on our khushoo (humility) in the fard (obligatory) prayer.

What’s next? Well, that would be doing some of the other voluntary prayers on a regular basis. One of the virtues of the voluntary prayers is that, on the Last Day, they will compensate for the missed obligatory ones.

[Does a person sin if they do voluntary prayers one day and not the next?

NO, because they are voluntary not obligatory. However, one of the characteristics of the believers is regularity in doing the voluntary acts.

Proof? It’s all over the Quran and the Sunnah. Just look at how many times Allah mentions those who give charity or those who pray at night. Aren’t both of these acts voluntary?

Too often, many Muslims just stick to doing the obligatory acts. Whilst this is permitted, it is not a great thing. If we want to get closer to Allah, we need to start doing the acts which are voluntary and do them on a regular basis.]

On the Last Day, the voluntary prayers will compensate for the missed obligatory ones.

Okay, so which voluntary prayers can we offer?

Well, I would suggest starting with the 2 sunnah rakaahs before the (fard) Fajr prayer.

After this, one could add the witr (the time of which is from after the Isha prayer until before the adhan of Fajr). The witr prayer consists of at least ONE rakaah.It could also be 3, 5, 7, etc.

So, that’s 2 at the beginning of the day and 1 at the end.

What else?

You could do the rawatib prayers (there’s a nice house in Paradise for those who pray these).

Which ones are the rawatib prayers, you ask?

Well, the 2 rakaah of Fajr is one of the 12 rawatib prayers. The rest are mentioned below:

[Fard is in blue and Rawatib is in red.]

Fajr: 2   2

[That means that Fajr has two rakaahs of sunnah (rawatib) followed by the 2-rakaah fard prayer.]

Dhuhr: 2 2 4 2

[Some narrations imply that there are only 2 rawatib before Dhuhr but other narrations imply that there are 4.]

Asr: 4

[The 4 rakaahs before the Asr prayer are nawafil, not rawatib.]

Maghrib: 3 2

Isha: 4 2 W

[W = Witr]

Okay, some people might say “Oh, there are so many prayers!”

Well, nobody said that you had to start doing all the rawatib at once. This is a big misconception that many people have. They assume that you have to do all 12 or else leave all 12.

Yes, in order to get that house in Paradise mentioned in the hadeeth, you need to do all 12 on a regular basis. However, suppose you regularly pray the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib. You are still going to get the reward for those.

So, don’t leave all 12 just because you can’t do all 12.

You could aim to pray all 12 on a daily basis but then make sure that you try to do a portion of them regularly.

For example, suppose that tomorrow you decided you would never miss the Fajr rawatib.

You try this for one month. During this month, you pray some of the others but not consistently.

In the next month, you decide that you are going to be consistent with the Maghrib rawatib.

So, for this month, you pray both the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib regularly. As for the others, you might do them but not consisently.

Then, in the third month, you decide you’re going to pray two rakaahs before the Dhuhr prayr. So, you pray this and the Fajr and Maghrib rawatib consistently for this month.

And on this goes until you are consistent with all 12 rakaahs.

When I say “consistent”, it means that you do them every single day and never leave them* even if you are very tired.

[*An exception to this would be whilst traveling because the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) only prayed the Fajr rawatib and one rakaah of witr (along with the fard prayers, of course) at this time.]

Obviously, if you are very ill, you might have difficulty doing them. If you are unable to, then at least be sure to be regular with them when you get better. Don’t let this habit go.

In the next part, insha-Allah, I’ll talk about the tahajjud, dhuha, nawafil, etc prayers.

To be continued…

6
Jun

Ramadan 2011 Prep Tip #4: Improve the quality of the Fard salah

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Assalamu Alaikum.

Yes, I said the “fard” (obligatory) salah because:

1) That is the first thing that we will be asked about

2) Unfortunately, many people don’t pray the other prayers.

3) Quantity without quality is not of much use. So, there’s not much point in us praying all the voluntary prayers without feeling any sort of khushoo (humility).

[Not that I’m asking anyone to stop praying the voluntary prayers. DON’T STOP.

I’m just saying that we need to work on the quality of the prayers too.]

So, how can we improve on the quality? Excellent question.

I’ve posted a lot of articles, books and lectures on this in the past. However, I’m just going to mention a few things in brief today:

1) Make sure that you pray 5 times a day

Yep.

See, you can’t have quality without any quantity.

For all those who are struggling to pray 5 times a day, here are some tips:

a) Be serious about praying 5 times a day.

It’s as simple as that. When I decided (many years ago) to get serious, I made sure that nothing came in the way of me and my prayers. Nothing.

Wherever I was, I would make sure I prayed within the permitted time.

b) Do lots of dua and istighfar (seeking forgiveness).

c) Remember the grave consequences of not praying.

d) Schedule your life around the prayer timings.

So, if you have to go out somewhere, think about when and where you will be able to pray. You need to plan all of this beforehand so that you don’t end up missing any prayer.

e) Keep a reminder for each prayer in case you’re very forgetful.

You can also ask one of your family members or friends to remind you or give you a missed call for each prayer.

This is not a permanent solution of course, but you could do it for a few weeks until you’re able to remember to pray on your own.

2) Try to pray at the earliest times

Praying early means:

1) Doing an act that Allah loves and

2) Relieving ourselves of an obligation so we won’t have that “Oh, I need to go pray” feeling at the back of our minds.

For the brothers: Please pray in the masjid in congregation.

3) Try to renew your wudhu for every salah

This really helps in reviving oneself and it will also erase our minor sins.

4) Don’t rush

Sorry, what do you have to after prayer?

As a lecturer pointed out, is there anything more important than this?

It’s ironic. We rush because we want to have more time to do other things yet what happens is exactly the opposite.

Because we rushed, we get punished by having no barakah (blessings) in our time and therefore we have less time, not more.

5) Focus

I’ve always noticed that when I rush and ramble in my salah, I have zero percent khushoo.

However, when I pray slowly and pay attention to what I’m saying, it’s a different ballgame. 

6) Memorise

Memorise what, you ask?

Some new surahs and duas so that you don’t just autopilot your way through the old ones (that you know like the back of your palm).

7) Do dua

Yes, we have to ask Allah for this (and everything else).

8) Enjoy youself

No, really, if we don’t enjoy having a conversation with Allah, what else will we feel joy in doing?

These steps are simple but we need to be focused.

I’ll talk about the sunnah prayers in the next tip, insha-Allah.

For more insight into this khushoo business, here is an older post on it.

May Allah make us of those who have khushoo in their prayers. Ameen.