By Monique Hassan
Prayers are a time of reflection and submission to our creator, to Allah (glorified and exalted). We let go of this world, even if only for a minute. In this submission we find calmness, we release our emotions and the power of prayer impacts us. Prayer in itself is a gift, a blessing, a powerful coping skill, it is therapeutic and most importantly; it is an act of worship.
“Indeed, I am Allah . There is no deity except Me, so worship Me and establish prayer for My remembrance” Quran 20:14
We know that we have 2 types of prayers. The 5 daily obligatory prayers when we are engaged in worship and submission as well as special duaa or supplications when we are asking for something. Salah and duaa help us to connect on a deeper level to our spiritual self and connect to our creator.
We must pray our 5 daily prayers, this is crucial not just for our religion, but also for our own mental state. Prayers are a time to slow down, rein our minds in and calm our emotions.
In trauma informed care they often encourage patients to meditate on a regular basis, prayer is a form of meditation is it not? If mental health professionals are encouraging this as part of a treatment plan then surely we must see the power of prayer for our own mental health and overall well-being.
Duaa can be done anywhere at any time. When we make duaa we are acknowledging that Allah (glorified and exalted) has the power to change the outcome of our situations. Some anxiety medications are often prescribed to be taken as needed or PRN, duaa is a prayer prescription which we can take as needed.
When we make duaa, 3 answers are provided for us.
- Yes, but not now
- No. I have something better for you
Really take that in for a moment, imagine if this was our mindset when we feel anxiety or we feel sadness. We make duaa, seek counsel with our Lord who is As-Salam (the peace, the source of peace and safety, the savior). In that moment of duaa we are submitting ourselves to trust in our faith. Whatever is the best outcome for us, will transpire. It is the will of Allah (glorified and exalted) and we accept that outcome. Alhamdulillah for everything.
In acknowledging the power of prayer and duaa, we find a greater sense of peace and awareness. Our optimism can increase and our perspectives on situations can become more positive.
“So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me. O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient” Quran 2:152-153
When we pray we all begin with Al-Fatiha and we all pray in Arabic, no matter what our native language is. We face the same direction and perform our 5 daily prayers with the same movements. During congregational prayer, we line up in our rows shoulder to shoulder; irrespective of race, culture or financial standing. We are equal and we are united as we all say ameen in unison.
Prayer is very multifaceted for us; it enjoins worship and spiritual awareness alongside unity. Those are not complete strangers on your left and right, those are brothers and sisters. One ummah. Although we may not always act like one ummah and some of us feel more accepted than others, ultimately we are one ummah. Prayer is a bridge to unite us and this goes for our families as well. We should be praying with our family, not always praying by ourselves. During moments of emotional upheaval or crisis, we come together with our families or with the congregation to pray as one.
Increasing Iman to Increase Emotional Resilience
Sometimes we hear believers asking how they can increase their iman, this is not a simple answer but one can always begin by holding fast to the five pillars. We know that salah is one of these five pillars and a very crucial one.
“Indeed the first deed by which a servant will be called to account on the Day of Resurrection is his Salat. If it is complete, he is successful and saved, but if it is defective, he has failed and lost” Sahih At-Tirmidhi 413
The power of prayer in Islam is unlike other prayers, we purify ourselves with wudu and our entire body is part of the worship process as we bow for rukoo and prostrate in sujood. It is a form of worship combining the body and mind. Our ummah is facing many hardships, but we can strengthen our resilience and ability to handle these if we strengthen our iman. By remaining steadfast in our prayers, we open ourselves more to Allah’s (glorified and exalted) infinite wisdom and infinite mercy.
As our faith grows we find ourselves more likely to say ALHAMDULILLAH instead of “why me” during hardships. Our hearts feel more grateful and full of love for our creator whether we are having a time of ease or a time of trial.
The power of prayer is more immense than we realize, it is the first act of worship we are held accountable for so this has to show the immense weight it bears. Prayer is an act of worship, but it runs deeper than just that. It is a blessing which reminds us 5x a day what our purpose is, to serve Allah (glorified and exalted). In that submission is tranquility and immense strength if we approach prayer with focus and from the heart. One of the most beautiful moments in our days is when tears hit our prayer mat; this is a sign from our hearts of sincerity. Just as our call to prayer reminds us, go to prayer and go to success.
By Monique Hassan
Another work week is here, time for excessive amounts of caffeine and a jungle of sticky notes. We all love the feeling of a productive day, that sense of accomplishment when we really made the most out of our time.
A common mindset is that greater productivity means working harder and for longer stints of time. Although this works for some people, this can lead to burnout and a decrease in focus.
Work Smarter Not Harder. Time is Valuable.
Here are 7 practical tips to make this week more productive.
- Start out the day right. Give yourself enough time to do at least 10 minutes of exercise in the morning. High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is great for this. Slow down during morning prayers. Eat a healthy breakfast aimed at fueling you.
- Positive Affirmations. Look in the mirror and tell yourself “I am successful, I believe in myself”. Be your own cheerleader!
- Schedule the day. Set goals for the day and outline when you will achieve them. Take this opportunity to set weekly goals as well. Be realistic and don’t overload yourself.
- Give up Perfection. We are often our own worst critic. Aim to complete your goals and take satisfaction in that. It is great to have high standards, but don’t burden yourself with unattainable levels of perfection.
- Stay Organized. Your environment can impact how you feel. An organized and clean environment is more conducive towards a productive and focused day.
- Take a Break. Downtime helps you re-charge. You can also assess what you have accomplished and what else needs to be done.
- Review Your Performance. Look back over the day and smile at what you achieved, make mental notes for what you can improve.
Increased productivity serves to boost your sense of accomplishment and self-worth. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t achieve every goal you set for the day, do the best that you can and keep moving forward. Reward yourself for accomplishments and identify areas you have room for improvement. The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
The Prophet used to seek refuge in Allah from laziness in the following duaa: “O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being over powered by men.” Sahih al-Bukhari 6369
I'm joined by Zeyad Ramadan, founder of Purify Your Gaze, to discuss sexuality and pornography addiction in the Muslim community.
We share reflections on why the opposite of addiction is connection. How porn is a drug and what damage it causes the mind, heart and body. Lessons on human struggles and sins. Why pornography addiction happens and how it can lead the sincere to Paradise!
We close our conversation with learning more about the cutting edge techniques of Purify Your Gaze and how it has helped many Muslims around the world.
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