Question and answer details
|Salaam. I originally reverted to Islam but I’ve not prayed. It was like I have lost interest due to laziness and depression; my faith has been almost nil. But for the past few weeks I’ve felt guilty about not praying. I feel Allah is trying to get me back but maybe I’ve sinned too much, can you help?|
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Prayer is an important pillar of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
"The dividing line between a believer and a disbeliever is the negligence of prayer." (Muslim)
You are very fortunate that you have realized you should pray.
As for having “sinned too much” I wouldn’t know about that, but rest assured Allah’s Mercy is far greater than your sins. The cure is excessive repentance and seeking Allah's forgiveness. The cure matches the illness. Thus the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:
"Every human sins excessively and the best of sinners are the repentant ones." (Mishkât-al Masâbîh p.204)
What are the conditions for repentance (taubah) and when is it accepted. The Muslim scholars have mentioned three conditions for it.
Sheikh Muhiuddîn Abû Zakarriya An-Nawawî has stated (Sharh Muslim lil Imâm An-Nawawi, vol.2 p. 346) that there are three conditions for seeking repentance:
(1) to stop committing the sin
(2) one should sincerely express remorse and regret on perpetrating the sin
(3) one should make the intention never to repeat the sin
From Anas (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) say: "Allah the Almighty has said:
'O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds in the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earth full of sins and were you then to face Me, without having associated anything with Me, I shall grant you an earth full of pardon.'" (Al-Tirmidhi)
You don’t say when you reverted, nor if you know how to pray. I’ll take the worst case scenario; forgive me if I am being unjust to you.
There are many sites on the Internet where you can access how to pray with English and Arabic vocalization and the different positions. The following may help:
Start with the obligatory five times prayers (salat) e.g. two Sunnah plus two fard rakaats for Fajr, four fard rakaats for Dhuhr, four fard rakaats for Asr, three fard rakaats for Maghrib and four fard rakaats for Isha; as soon as you can, you will need to add the final three optional but highly recommended rakaats of the day (Witr). As you become used to praying and talking to Allah the desire to do more will, God willing (inshaAllah), grow from within you; then you can add the optional prayers, Sunnah and Nafl. Please remember, after cleanliness the two main characteristics of the worshipper are concentration and humility.
Also, if one doesn’t know how to pray in Arabic one should start by praying in their own language. This is only permissible for a short time. The intention should be made to pray in Arabic as soon as possible and one should work diligently towards that objective. I don’t know your environment, that is, whether there are other Muslims around you such that you could follow them in prayer, or whether you have access to a Mosque so you wouldn’t be praying on your own and would meet other Muslims, or even when you came to Islam you had (or still have) a mentor – that is someone who could show you and teach you Islam.
It is important that you understand what you are saying in your prayers. For example, the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that Allah says:
I have divided the prayer (salat) between Me and My servant, half is for Me and half is for him, and My servant shall have what he asks for. For when My servant says, ‘All praise belongs to Allah, the Lord of all the Worlds’; Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me’. When the servant says, ‘The Most Merciful, The Mercy Giving’; Allah says, ‘My servant has extolled Me’. When the servant says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment’; Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me’. . . this is My portion. When the servant says, ‘You Alone we worship and from You Alone we seek help’, Allah says. ‘This is shared by Me and My servant. He will be given whatever he asks’. When the servant says, ‘Guide me to the straight path...’; Allah says, ‘This belongs to My servant, and My servant shall have what he has asked for’. (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad).
Here, you see the Fatihah, the opening chapter (Surah) of the Qur’an, is actually a dialogue between the worshipper and Allah. Allah promises the worshipper to have what they ask for. They ask for Guidance. That prayer may be considered as being answered by the rest of the Quran, the Book of Guidance for Muslims. No prayer is complete without the Fatihah being recited in every rakaat.
I reverted to Islam in 1970. Prior to becoming a Muslim I used to get depressed and had a collection of traditional jazz records which I played to cheer myself up. After embracing Islam, I disposed of the records and used to listen to the Quran being recited. This was before the Internet. Now, it is possible to listen to the Quran being recited while the translation is on the computer screen. You can search for Quran download on the Internet.
May Allah bless you and make the prayer easy for you, increase your knowledge of Islam and grant you success here and in the Hereafter, Amin.
I hope this helps answer your question.
Salam and please keep in touch.