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Help Me Overcome Laziness in Performing Prayers

Question and answer details
K (30-Female-Canada)
2012/11/27
Asalamalaykum: I am a new revert, but I'm finding some difficulties since I became a Muslim. During Ramadan, I sort of was making most of my prayers on time, but at the time I thought it was acceptable to make up your prayers if you are late, so I would. Now I have found websites that state that is unacceptable to make up a prayer, so it sort of discouraged me, and now I rarely make prayers on time or late. I don't know why I am so discouraged, I just feel so bad that I already missed one for the day, so I sort of give up completely. Also, I find it extremely difficult to do Fajr (just because I am not a morning person at all). I am so lazy even to wake up for work; I usually set my alarm an hour before I must get up, just because I will keep going back to bed. Do you have any tips to overcome laziness? Also, is it really true, that making up missed prayers are useless?
Sakeena Abdulraheem
Answer

Assalamu Alaikum Sister,

Thank you for your question.  It is apparent that as a new Muslim you seem that you are trying really hard to master the basics of Islam which include prayer and that you want to do the right thing.

What I would like to highlight for you in particular is the fact that before being Muslim we are human first and we often tend to be our worst critic when it comes to any shortcomings we have in terms of practicing the faith or day to day activities and accomplishments.

Although the typical western saying is "practice makes perfect", no one is going to be perfect, but practicing your faith will make you better at its rituals and without incorporating the daily practice in our lives our spiritual development will not improve.

It seems that what really has you discouraged is your expectations.  You stated that you are a new Muslim and you are also Canadian.  As a new Muslim, it is important to learn, incorporate, and practice, and step by step you will see an improvement.  This is not just a change in habits, it is a complete lifestyle change and it is natural to make mistakes and not do everything correctly.

We as Muslims in general who are born Muslim are still constantly working towards perfecting prayer.  What seems to be at the root for many Muslims who do not make their prayers on time is delaying and procrastination.  These are behaviors that some of us engage in when we feel discouraged (as you have mentioned), lack motivation, or have lost interest in something.  Feeling discouraged starts with negative thoughts and negative thoughts are then translated into actions.  A few tips that will help you in maintaing balance and gradually improving on waking up for the Morning Prayer include the following:

1. Getting enough sleep and going to bed at a time that you will have enough energy to get up early.  As someone who lives in the west I know that this is not always possible but beginning to at least self monitor and documenting what you are doing, the impact it is having on your sleep and a review of time management should be helpful.

2. Changing your thinking and monitoring negative automatic thoughts.  Changing your thinking from discouragement to determination is important.  Most individuals reach goals, complete assignments, etc when they have made a decision that it is something that has to be done and they are determined to complete the goal.

3. Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah), making du`aa’ (Supplication) outside of prayer strengthens the faith of the individual, and changes the perception and the attitude of the individual.  It is important to view prayer not as a chore but as an opportunity to constantly return to Allah, to cleanse oneself of sins, and the opportunity to start anew.

I hope these tips are helpful in your journey of self improvement as these are things we all should incorporate in our lives as we strive to become better people.

 

For further guidance, please try the following links:


About the Counselor:

Sakeena Abdulraheem holds an MA in Social studies with a concentration in Islamic studies from the Graduate School of Islamic and Social Sciences. She is currently completing her M.A.in counseling psychology with a concentration in trauma counseling. She has extensive experience working as a teacher, mentor, and consultant.

 

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