Assalamualaikum, kids! MKM is back and we hope you are excited to read what we have from Muslim youth all around the world. Today's article is about a teenage girl's experiences and thoughts on ṣalāh.
Shaytan's Whisper: Straying from the Straight Path
By Humera Lodhi
“It's time for Dhuhr. Go and pray!” my mother's gentle reminding voice calls from the kitchen.
“OK!” I shout back and race upstairs, plopping down onto my bed. I open the book nearest to me and being reading. “I don't have to sallee yet. I'm still 9,” I think to myself, justifying my actions. This has become an almost daily routine; I don't offer my prayers until reminded, and if there is some way of getting out of it, I will. As the day I turn 10 draws nearer and nearer, my excuse begins to wane. Suddenly my 10th birthday is upon me, and I've lost the first habit ever instilled in me by my parents: praying regularly. Now that my defense of age is against me, I think of something new to get out of ṣalāh and assuage my conscience: “I haven't reached puberty yet; I'm not responsible for my actions.”
Years pass by, and my prayer routine becomes less and less consistent. I become so caught up in my other abilities and other people's praise of my talents, I don't even realize my faults. People friendliness, maturity, and studiousness, and I am appeased with myself. I soon reach the age of puberty, and I've completely lost my habit of ṣalāh.
This continued until two summers ago, during Ramadan at a community iftar at my local masjid, when I was performing wuḍūʼ with my friends. I'm afraid to say, at the time, I never prayed on my own, but amongst friends and family, I kept up a facade of doing so. Suddenly, I realized, I couldn't remember how to wash up for prayer. “Do I wash my arms or my face first?” My face flushing and my heart beating, I did my ablution to the best of my ability, too ashamed to ask my friends for help.
“How did I get here?” I couldn't even properly perform one of the most basic tenants of my faith, the second pillar of Islam. How did I expect my other actions of fasting and memorizing Qur'an to be accepted when I wasn't even practicing the most fundamental part of my religion? In fact, ṣalāh is so important that the Prophet Muḥammad (SAWS) said, “The first thing that will be judged among a person's deeds on the Day of Resurrection is the prayer. If that is in good order, he will pass the test and prosper, and if that is defective, he will fail the test and will be a loser.” (Tirmidhi)
The next day, too humiliated to ask my family, I googled “how to make proper wuḍūʼ.” Alhamdullilah, I slowly reestablished my prayer habit, but it was a hard process. My ṣalāh isn't 100% perfect, I sometimes still forget to pray, and I don't always have the right amount of khushu. There are days when the only thing that forces me to pray Isha is the fear that I might die and meet Allāh with the sin of not praying being the freshest and most recent sin I committed.
I was arrogant, and instead of relying upon Allāh, and His rahmah, I relied upon myself. As humans we are weak, and would not exist but for the kindness of Allāh. I need to worship Allāh and rely upon Him. I look back now and see, without my prayer, I was not successful in life. My grades were down and my attitude was bad. After I set aside my pride, I realized that I was solely responsible for my actions. Not my parents, siblings, or teachers, who had always set the right example for me to follow, but myself who was too ignorant and arrogant to do what was best.
I now see the beauty of ṣalāh; it brings about an inner peace and tranquility. Without it, Shaytan is constantly by my side, leading me astray. But with it, Allāh is constantly with me, giving me the strength and courage to fight on.
About the Author:
Humera Lodhi was born in New York, but raised in Columbia, MO. She believes life is a delicate balance of hard work and enjoying herself. She puts in her best work, but tries to remember to enjoy the little things that make life worth living. A sophomore in high school, Humera has much of the world left to see. As of the present, she loves reading and writing. She aspires to be something, but just what, she's still not sure. She's still trying to decide between a lawyer, journalist, and doctor. Her proudest accomplishment is being sorted into Ravenclaw. Other than that, she's just a typical 15-year-old girl.
(Attention, Writers! Muslim Kids Matter is a regular feature at Muslim Matters. You're welcome to send in your entries to firstname.lastname@example.org.)