It was on a faithful afternoon that I stood up and felt a heavy burden on my shoulder and my mind was flinching from the weight of which my portable physicality had felt. I was about to go out but, thinking back now, I don’t think going out alone that afternoon could have bore a burden that heavy. I was going to Mosque to pray. Yeah, prayer was the burden.
Yet, I quickly had this relieving thought of one verse from the glorious Qur’an with which my situation and many like it had been justified.
وَٱسْتَعِينُوا۟ بِٱلصَّبْرِ وَٱلصَّلَوٰةِ ۚ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى ٱلْخَٰشِعِينَ
And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah].
I knew I had taken a perch on the front row VIP seats in the first category and would do anything to get myself into the preferred one ( should I say, in Badoo’s voice : the real MVPs?) : ” the humbly submissive.” By remembering I can manage to be humbly submissive, too.
So, after reciting it aloud to my hearing – something I always do to satiate my hunger of having accurate verses from the glorious Qur’an for every happening – I enjoy the idea of talking and engaging in conversations Qur’an-ically. I felt some air of pardon. So I went out. Off to the Mosque.
Then, you get to know that to attain the perfect way of worship is an unattainable quest. You patch this hole and, the same moment, another starts leaking. I crawled out of heaviness of the mind, and then to another quandary.
I was reading a book about Inner Dimensions of Islamic Worships sometime ago, I got stressed by reading it because every description of perfect worship in it threw a punch at the face of my so-called worship. Let me narrow it down to one specific aspect of it; Mindfulness.
Mindfulness, in Islam, is the core part of every dedicated aspect of worship. The bliss it gives the heart of the worshipper and relation to the highest body: AlLaah.
It was narrated in a tradition of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, that the reward of his prayer depends solely on a servant’s mindfulness. His undiluted presence and mindfulness. Which is to say, If he is present enough for one-third of it, then, so be his reward.
It means the effectiveness of a prayer is basically dependent on its vastness in the realm of mindfulness and the presence of the soul.
Another story narrated that, once, a man was praying when the building went collapsing. To everyone’s dismay, he never left his place or even flinched a jot. It must be cleared that it isn’t necessary ( and of course it’s frowned upon ) to have waited in the face of death while clinging to God-fullness. It’s sheer stupidity. It’s pure suicide; to which one would be penalized. But it should be noted as well that he was so much engulfed by the mindfulness that everything around him seemed like space. He was carried away from the realm of bodies to that of souls. The ultimate state. One could be forgiven for claiming that when the German Philosopher, Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche, propounded the concept of ” superman ” he merely was talking of this state. Perfect bliss. When there’s nothing distorting your conversation with AlLaah, for it is, indeed, a conversation with the Most High.
Something which I’ve been lacking!
A quick notice is that, this story I’m writing had come to me, sadly, while I was on prostration. It even kept banging my consciousness –because it wasn’t contented with the concentration it had gotten from me – while on subjugation. It never left me. It’s a saddening truth that I once wrote a poem about the bad habit of receiving and concentrating on muses while on prayer and I was practically on prayer when that verse had come to me.
I smiled and got sad at my horrible situation.
How much of your mercy and blessing do we deserve. How much can we not ask for. Ya AlLaah?!
The last time I had a conversation with a dear friend about this, she told me that, sometimes she gets caught up in the inability to conjure the least modicum of absolute urge to go observe her prayer. Because she is not feeling it, then she feels what good is going into it afterwards?
Tell me: which prayer was perfect that it didn’t get disrupted by the anguish of how Barcelona, together with Messi, could have bottled a 3-goal first-leg lead against Liverpool? Unbelievable!
Was there a perfect conversation with your creator that wasn’t wedged in thoughts of your notifications and likes and comments on Instagram?
It’s really tempting, isn’t it? The irresistible view of your gallery in your head. The thought of choosing the beautiful picture you’ve taken with friends, that’ll be a perfect depiction of the caption ” Weekends are for Owambe “?
All I could arrive at was the conclusion that the truth is that when He said he’d fill hell with men and genies alike, AlLaah was dead set on that.
All we could cling to is to add to every prayer observed, the habit of saying what Ibrāhim and Ismā’īl had said even at the face of the collosal and absolutely sincere task of building the House of God:
وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَٰهِۦمُ ٱلْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ ٱلْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَٰعِيلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ ۖ إِنَّكَ أَنتَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلْعَلِيمُ
And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us. Indeed You are the Hearing, the Knowing.