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The Imam's Daughter

Chapter 1: Committing to the Quantity

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Mother's Prayer Manual

Section 1: Recognizing What's Bringing You Down
Section 2: The Key To Getting Back Up
Section 3: The Importance, Rewards, and Benefits of Prayer
Section 4: A Reflection on Prayer, from a Mother's Perspective

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Recognizing What’s Bringing You Down

This section is for the mothers out there that are struggling to fulfill the basic 5 obligatory prayers, or struggling to perform the Sunnah prayers, and for those who might sink into one or both of these problems in this future.

There are a variety of circumstances that can lower your Iman (faith).

• New job or higher position for you or your husband that requires longer hours.
• Your husband loses his job or quits.
• Having a new baby, which alters almost your whole lifestyle and you no longer can do many of the things you used to do.
• Illness – you, your husband, your kids, and potentially relatives as well.
• A death in the family.
• Moving to a new place, new city, new country. This can result in a lack of social support.
• Too many outside activities or commitments that leave you exhausted and too busy to notice the time.
• Guilt from previous or current sins, which can make you afraid to face Allah.
• Too much clutter around, disorganization, which drains your senses and makes you feel bad about yourself that you can’t keep up with everything.
• Cold weather, cloudy weather, no windows, and/or dark draperies, which deprive you of the fresh air and sunlight and put you in a sad mood.
• Overweight, underweight, not eating well-too much junk, any image issues or health issues.
• Anything that renders your husband or support people unable to help you out as they did before.

In fact, any stressful event or situation can potentially cause a rift in your usual routines, including prayer. But most likely a combination of the above is what will really have the most impact. I will talk about some of the above in more detail later.

The important thing for you to do at this point is to reflect. You need to figure out what’s really bothering you. You need to take a break in any shape or form. Though you could try to do this throughout your day by letting the housework slide, at night after the kids are asleep, or during the kids’ nap time; it may be necessary to try one or more of the following:

• Have someone take the kids for 2 hours to the mall, library, PlayPlace, playground, park, pond/ocean, pet store, ymca, zoo – anywhere. You may need to rest at home, take a bath, write in peace and quiet without thinking of the kids, just sit and think for a while, or anything you need to do to fix things, or do nothing. You may need to do this twice: one to reflect and one to solve/fix the problem you realized in your reflection.
• Take a walk – either with the kids in a stroller if you know they will sit quietly or by yourself.
• Write your feelings out. Write down what you’re afraid to say. Then throw it away if you want. Writing is therapeutic and bares the problems of your soul.

The point is to recognize and admit the causes of your spiritual low. And that these causes have created the symptoms that you are feeling. 

The Key To Getting Back Up

But what is it about the above stressful events/situations that lower your Iman? I will tell you – they can make you busy, stressed, worried, guilty, and overwhelmed to the point where you FORGET about the importance of prayer, you FORGET about the benefits of prayer, you FORGET about the rewards of prayer. Then when you FORGET about these things it takes JUST ONE missed prayer to get you into a vicious cycle of depression and guilt. Initially the situation makes you ‘busy’ so you lose track of time and end up missing a prayer. Then you feel sad and guilty for missing a prayer. Now you are even more depressed because now you have guilt, shame, and sin on top of that. Then this state can cause even more stressful situations to occur and there you have a never-ending cycle of depression. Because when you’re depressed it’s not just prayer that’s affected, but also your obligations as a wife and mother can also become lacking.

We are forgetful people, it is in our nature. We read, it sits for a while in our brains, and most likely ends up going out the other ear sooner or later. Mothers are especially prone to this type of situation. A lot of mothers feel like their brains are ‘fried’, ‘went out the window’, ‘lost’, or ‘empty’. And mothers are constantly going through difficult situations. Or perhaps you are a Muslim that still has not learned about Prayer for one reason or another or a convert that has not yet learned the details about Prayer.

But no matter what place you are coming from, there is one thing that can help everyone:

KNOWLEDGE

Committing or re-committing to Prayer is about learning/remembering the importance, rewards, and benefits of Prayer. Educating yourself is the key to getting back up. The beautiful ayahs in the Qur’an regarding prayer, the motivating Hadiths of the rewards of prayer, and the amazing stories in the Seerah and the history of Islam are all you need to re-energize your Iman. I have taken some time to research these things for you and pull the jewels and pearls from among the various Ayahs and Hadiths for both your benefit and mine. I have also included my own Motherly thoughts of each issue. The next section should be printed out and put in a special place for you to easily read whenever you need to.

A Reflection on Prayer, from a Mother's Perspective

Allah subhanahu wa taala is always telling us in the Qur’an to reflect on the nature around us, our own selves, and his commandments – including Prayer. So let us reflect on prayer from the point of view of a mother. Why did Allah command us to pray?

There are five things that bring us happiness as mothers, from our children. The first thing that gives true joy and satisfaction to a mother is when we ask our child to do something and she does it. By praying, we are obeying Allah so he will be pleased on seeing us leave whatever we were doing and go to pray.

Secondly, do you remember how happy you felt when your child started talking? All that time he had been listening to your words and trying to imitate a few words here and there and now finally he can put a sentence together and repeat what he learned. From this, you can see why Allah wants us to memorize Qur’an and recite Qur’an in our prayers. He wants to see what we have learned of His words and is pleased on hearing us recite the Qur’an.

Thirdly, our hearts rejoice when we hear our child says ‘I love you Mommy’ with a hug and kiss, or when she says ‘Thank You’. So imagine how pleased Allah is when we supplicate to Him. In Ruku’ we say ‘Subhana Rabial ‘Atheem which means ‘Glory be to Allah, the Greatest’. In Sujud we say ‘Subhana Rabial A’la which means ‘Glory be to Allah, the Most High’. That is why we get so many blessings from supplication and are advised to do it after the prayer, throughout the day, and before sleep.

Fourthly, let’s not forget the relief a mother feels when her child says ‘I’m sorry’, especially when it’s sincere. Ah, now we can realize the importance of sincerity in prayer and du’a. When your child says sorry only because you told them to say that or they say it in an uncaring way, it only helps a little in soothing your anger. But when they say sorry on their own in that sad voice, then your anger magically disappears. In our prayers when we come up from the first sujud (prostration) we make the du’a ‘Rabbi Ighfirli wa liwalidayyi’ which means ‘O Allah forgive me and forgive my parents’. Allah is giving us a chance to ask for forgiveness in our prayers. We benefit by getting our sins forgiven, and he becomes more pleased with us from our repentance, if it was sincere.

Lastly, a mother is happy to hear her child ask for help when they’re frustrated instead of crying and having a tantrum. A mother loves to help her children. The same can be said of the du’a you can say during and after your prayers. Here, Allah is giving us a chance to ask for His help, because He loves to help us. During your prayer the most powerful position to make du’a in is in the last Sujud (prostration). Here you are prostrated in the most humble position before your Lord who created you and blessed you with many things, so it is most conducive to sincerity.

May Allah help us all in fulfilling this important and beneficial obligation with sincerity and grant us all its rewards and benefits. Ameen.

by Mona Eid