Are You a Muslim Who Doesn’t Pray? Read On…

You want to pray, but you just.. Can’t.

Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be one of those people who pray..  It seems so easy for some.  They just get up and do it.   Perhaps you were one of those people at one time, but now.. Not so much.

Something inside you is broken.  Scratch that.. It’s not exactly broken.. More like, it feels hollow inside.  Something is missing.  You feel nothing.. Numb.

So how do we get from this to praying?  The problem with most advice on salah is that it looks at things from a reactive point of view instead of a proactive point of view.  Not praying?  Well, just start.  Or better yet, take one salah at a time and keep building until you reach five.  Good advice, no?

If that works for you, then yes, good advice.  But if you are like so many Muslims, who are so far from salah that ‘just starting’ doesn’t happen, then perhaps we need to try something else.

For some one who feels that hollowness inside, ‘just praying’ is not enough to motivate you to stand up.   No, you need to start somewhere else.. You need to fill yourself up before your actions will follow suit.  When it feels as though you have no relationship with Allah, then perhaps reaffirming your faith in Him is the place to begin.

We pray because of one simple reason:  We love Allah.  It’s the loving Allah part that makes it easy.  It’s the loving Allah part that makes you stand up when you’re exhausted.  Without that piece of the puzzle, nothing else will make salah stick.

When we look at the early Muslims, when Islam first came down, were there a lot of commandments?  No, there weren’t.  The early surahs are filled with lessons about Allah, about His Angels, His Messengers, His Books.  The rules and regulations came later, after the foundation was built.  So when we look at our own lives, why do we focus on the rules and regulations without paying attention to the foundation first?

If we want to be amongst those who pray.. Who pray regularly and easily.. Who jump up when the time for salah begins.. Then we need to begin first by building a love for Allah.  And in order to do this, we need to KNOW Him.

I always tell people who aren’t praying to begin first with dhikr.  Say, for example, SubhanAllah 100 times each day.  And as you do so, reflect on our own weaknesses, and the Greatness of Allah.  Reflect on how it is only with His Help that we are able to do anything.  When you do this, you’ll start a habit of THINKING about Allah.  You’re remembering Him.

And what happens when you remember Allah?  It starts to soften your dead heart.. You start to have more peace.. And most importantly, He remembers YOU.

Ibn al-Qayyim stated, “In the heart there is hardness which can only be softened by remembrance of Allah. So the slave must treat the hardness of his heart with the remembrance of Allah.”

“Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” (Qur’an, 13:28)

“I am to my servant as he expects of Me, I am with him when he remembers Me. If he remembers Me in his heart, I remember him to Myself, and if he remembers me in an assembly, I mention him in an assembly better than his…” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Be MINDFUL of this as you sit each day doing some dhikr.  Think to yourself, I am walking towards Allah..  As the last hadith goes on to say..

“… When he comes closer to Me by a handspan, I come closer to him an arm’s length. If he draws closer to Me by an arm’s length, I draw closer by a distance of two outstretched arms nearer to him. If my servant comes to Me walking, I go to him running.” (Al-Bukhari)

You’re not praying (yet) but be mindful that you are getting closer.  Allow yourself to be in a state where you know you aren’t doing what you’re supposed to, but you’re taking steps to get there.  One of the tactics of Shaitan is that he leads you to believe that it’s all or nothing.  Either you’re praying, or you’re sinfully not.  So when we’re not, a dark cloud of guilt hovers over us, leaving us in darkness, unable to move forward.

Do you know the story of the man who killed 99 men?

Abu Sa`id Al-Khudri (May Allah be pleased with him) reported: Prophet of Allah (PBUH) said: “There was a man from among a nation before you who killed ninety-nine people and then made an inquiry about the most learned person on the earth. He was directed to a monk.

He came to him and told him that he had killed ninety-nine people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the negative and the man killed him also completing one hundred. He then asked about the most learned man in the earth. He was directed to a scholar. He told him that he had killed one hundred people and asked him if there was any chance for his repentance to be accepted. He replied in the affirmative and asked, `Who stands between you and repentance? Go to such and such land; there (you will find) people devoted to prayer and worship of Allah, join them in worship, and do not come back to your land because it is an evil place.’ So he went away and hardly had he covered half the distance when death overtook him; and there was a dispute between the angels of mercy and the angels of torment. The angels of mercy pleaded, ‘This man has come with a repenting heart to Allah,’ and the angels of punishment argued, ‘He never did a virtuous deed in his life.’ Then there appeared another angel in the form of a human being and the contending angels agreed to make him arbiter between them. He said, `Measure the distance between the two lands. He will be considered belonging to the land to which he is nearer.’ They measured and found him closer to the land (land of piety) where he intended to go, and so the angels of mercy collected his soul”.
[Al-Bukhari and Muslim].

 In another version: “He was found to be nearer to the locality of the pious by a cubit and was thus included among them”. Another version says: “Allah commanded (the land which he wanted to leave) to move away and commanded the other land (his destination) to draw nearer and then He said: “Now measure the distance between them.’ It was found that he was nearer to his goal by a hand’s span and was thus forgiven”. It is also narrated that he drew closer by a slight movement on his chest.

What is awesome about this story is that he hadn’t dramatically changed in terms of his actions.  He was just WALKING towards change.  And that was enough for Allah.  Allah is so patient that He watches us disobey Him.  And He waits.  Waiting for us to turn back to Him.  SubhanAllah!

So begin by walking towards Him.  And be mindful that when you do your dhikr, you are taking a step.

Another good step is to begin learning His Names.  When you KNOW Him, really know Him, you can’t help but attach your heart onto Him.  Knowing Allah’s Names will draw your heart closer to Him.  And as it does so, you will remember Him more..

Over time, your desire to please Him and turn back to Him will increase.. And this, my friends, is what will fill you up.  This is what will take away the hollowness.. THIS is what will make salah easy.  THIS is where the advice, ‘take it one salah at a time’ will be beneficial.  When you get to this place, it won’t be such a giant leap to contemplate standing up for one prayer.  And slowly, one will become two.. And so on..

But before you begin building your prayers, take the time to build your foundations, just as they early Muslims did.  Start with baby steps, like doing dhikr or learning His Names..

 

 

Saira Siddiqui

38 Comments


  1. Thank you so much for this! I’m am one of those, “want to pray but can’t” people and will be taking your advice, insha’Allah.


  2. Salaam, thanks for the article and thanks for addressing a difficult topic. Prayer really is a problem amongst our youth. I know a few myself that are wonderful people but are missing prayer in their life because they simply do not know where to start and how to fix it even though they want to and express that desire.

    My problem with your article, however, is that it makes use of Hadith but no use of the Quran. You pointed out that Allah gave simple messages and reminders at first as you see in Meccan surahs and then rules and regulation later in Medinan surahs. Allah states that he is merciful and that he rewards those who are mindful of him. There are so many places where Allah lets the reader/believer know that he appreciates any efforts and that effort and doing what you can is the key. I always tell people that Islam is a religion about balance and trying and doing your best and that is what Allah says in the quran.

    Again, great work. Thanks.


  3. JazakAllah for these advices 🙂 May Allah accepts our apologies and prayers


  4. JazakAllah! to the point advice! Indeed I too am one of those who once prayed regularly but now find it hard


  5. Masha’Allah it was beautifully written and a great reminder even to those that are praying. A lovely reminder about intention, struggle, and trying for the sake of Allah. Thank you for these beneficial posts! JaZak Allahu khairan!


  6. Maybe those who don’t pray anymore have realized this ritualistic worship of god is probably not what he wants nor is it useful.


  7. Thank you so much for this. I really want to start praying again. But i can’t i’m broken, i’m mad at God for all these things that i cannot bear.


  8. Wow, SubhanAllah. I tremble as I read this article because of how much it relates to me. I like the perspective you took in discussing this issue. You know sometimes the direct solution isn’t just praying more, but first we should reflect on why we’re praying in the first place. What’s the purpose of prayer? Remembering Allah (SWT) and all the blessings that He (SWT)has bestowed upon us is a helpful motivator to praying. I know for me, struggling with prayer has been a huge issue throughout my teenage years. So being consistent in the remembrance of Allah through thikr and reading the Qur’an has helped get in the habit of praying. Thank you so much for posting this article. Appreciate it.


  9. What about people who appear religious but commit every kind of in human deeds, like not giving respect to others, talking ill of their own family, and hurting peoples feelings. How does one bring them on the right path?


  10. Assalamu Alaikum sister

    Read this article through a friend who had posted this on FB.
    When someone who had trouble praying seeked advise with the prophet (s.a.w) what advise did the prophet (s.a.w) give ? Is your advise to all those reading your blog based on that . If so could you please mention that Hadith too sister . Saying subhanAllah a specific 100 times is what you are asking people to do as a first step . If this has no basis in the sunnah is it ok for someone to start on this ? Prayer is obligatory for all of us . Your advise definitely helps to increase the ” Khshoo” in ones prayer .


  11. This is by far the best article i’ve ever read regarding Islam and salah. Your advice is truly amazing and may Muslims out there feel as inspired through this article as i did. In shaa Allah


  12. For almost 15 years I was one of those who wanted to solat but just could not get into the habit. It was dishearening and discouraging to try and keep failing, and all around me were people who had been brought up praying and I kept thinking it’s not fair! Why should I be punished just cos it was not something I had been conditioned to do as a child!

    And it was really upsetting and depressing because I wanted to believe and I wanted to have faith but I just didnt and it made me miserable.

    And then one day, Alhamdulillah, I began to pray. It lasted a few months, and then I stopped for a couple of weeks, but every time I restarted it became easier and easier.

    I dont really know how that happened but reading your article, it might have been because I was listening to a recording and doing daily affirmations which began and ended with “thank you God” and being reminded daily of the existence of a loving God who wants the best for me.

    The affirmations were not recited by a Muslim but it reminded me of Allah all the same, and after awhile I realised I was able to make doa the Islamic way more readily. I suppose that’s what allowed me to finally start praying – realising that I do have a relationship with God whether or not I pray (a bad relationship is still a relationship!) And that I had The power to make this relationship better.

    Thanks for sharing! It is a great comfort and encourager for people who really want to try but for whom starting is really hard. Thanks for being supportive n non-judgemental! It really helps too.


  13. Want the truth? Wanna pray, change your habits, your friends that are not praying, for a while, when you start hanging out with ppl that pray all the time, you will start getting to that point.
    I’m not saying to leave your friends for good, but rather, stay away for that time of Tawbah, until your good with yourself, then go back to them and try to pull them away toward you from whatever they are doing that is not letting them pray.
    Every time you feel your self tired to pray, know it’s the Shaitan that is telling you and trying hard to convince not to pray.


  14. U know I was one of those Muslims ..then I got a verse from quran sura Ibrahim’s ayah 40…n it worked like a miracle…I used to recite n Allah helped me to be committed to my salaah…no sickness , laziness, travel nothing can deter u…


  15. For 30 years I didnt perform my solat regularly. I performed it only when I needed Him to listen to my woes,sadness…Always I would tell myself that I will perform my solat regularly but time and again I backed down on my words.I got married and donned the hijab because I promised Allah I would but I still didnt perform solat regularly.My heart yearned but my body didnt.Last Ramadhan, I thought to myself- if I didnt pray 5x a day,my fast would be in vain. So for the first time in my life, I began to pray regularly.One Ramadhan evening, this heavy feeling in my heart couldnt be contained anymore.After Asr, I opened the Quran and said, Dear Allah, please show me what I need to know.I flicked the pages randomly and there you have it…all my thoughts and questions answered.Believe me, I flicked the pages more than three times to make sure.Masya Allah. AllahhuAkbar. I still miss my prayers sometimes but I will qada because now there’s this hollow feeling if I dont pray 5x a day.My ustaz told me not to make solat a habit because your solat will not be perfect as you might tend to take it lightly.I am trying my best to perfect my solat.May Allah guide me.I still have a long way to go as a good Muslim. Pray for me,brothers and sisters.


  16. Lovely article. The only problem I have is focusing on hadiths when the Quran (by God’s decree) is detailed and sufficient. That is sad. More sad when you consider some of Al-Bukhari’s narration are complete garbage and a profound insult to the prophet and complete disregard for God’s commandments.

    But indeed the more you try to reach God, the more God will reach you. It’s simple, you have the choice to be close to God and it is yours to take. I was born a Muslim, I went to an Islamic school where I was taught the Quran. Even though I didn’t know what the content of the Quran was, I followed what I was told by others.

    Growing up, I abandoned God and I drifted away from my religion becoming an atheist. A while back, I went back to reading the Quran and investigate. I try to pray and I feel different. Moreover, whenever I slack off, I feel also different and it hurts. Truly the more I try to reach God, the more I feel peace and prosperity. I recommended having faith in God and God alone. Nothing else – because God has no equal!


  17. “There are days when you don’t feel like praying. When your soul feels dark and your heart feels down. Those are the days when you need to pray. Those are the days when you need it most. And if you find the strength to bow before your Lord in those days, you have defeated a big part of your nafs and taken a huge step towards your Lord. So pray no matter what. Lead your heart to prayer and one day your heart will lead you to prayer.”


  18. Assalualykum, this article somewhere also relates to me. I was always punctual with my namaaz, ibaadat following sincerely as a muslim but slowly certain things happened that even though i had the intention to pray I couldn’t. After i was married most of my time ended up taking care of my mother-in-law, as most of the time she use to be ill n even though after she would recover she wanted me to do everything for her. If i used to sit to do my prayers she used to start nagging and taunting me that who’s gonna this or that job in the beginning i used to ignore n keep praying but it was evryday problem. Slowly due to all the stress my mind used to get disturbed n i started getting occupied doing all the jobs she wanted so that thereis peace. But now i regret that to please her i have made myself away from Allah though every minute i remember him and ask his forgiveness and aslo his blessings so that i can do all my prayers and ibaadat. I feel myself in a very awkward positon when i see someone standing for prayers n i am not able to that regulaly. I do them but not that often.i fear that how will i face Allah as i am not able to practice my prayers though my intentions are to practice.. So everyone please make dua i can practice my practice my prayers and also make dua for my children so that they too follow the islamic path, thoughthey are following but not that much.
    This artcle has given me a little strength about doing dikhar which i try my best doing it and i feel i believe in Allah the most because I believe that be it good or bad he is always ther with me.


  19. Thank you so much for your advice and time to explain. May Allah reward you.


  20. Assalaamu aleykum warahmatullahi

    Jazak Allah Khayran – Reading this has lightened my soul and reaffirmed what I could only guess in fear and hope.

    Determining that the path that I am currently walking, despite being newly converted, is accepted by Allah swt for the simple fact that I am remembering him as much as possible where I was not, prior to becoming Muslim.

    My heart is running to Allah swt and Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) – sometimes I get tripped up in learning new information but it is certainly a HUGE relief to hear positive feedback regarding Salah that, to date, I am still approaching/learning/studying along with many other avenues of Islam.

    This is a welcome find at just the right time.


  21. Thank you so much for this article. I was brought up well by my parents. They sent me to islamic schools and so I already knew a lot about Islam since I was little. However, I don’t remember when, I felt like the religion and faith was programmed into me. I felt like am I really a muslim? Do I really believe in Allah? So I’m slowly learning again… So that I can love Him sincerely, and not because someone told me to. During this process, I went through a lot of emotional highs and lows. Right now, I’m still struggling with salah. It’s very difficult for me. I’m so thankful for you. Thank you for suggesting dhikr. It’s definitely a good first step. Finally, may Allah bless you. Ameen.


  22. As salamu alaikum!
    Thank you sister, this is just what I needed.
    May Allah reward you.


  23. Jesus said” I am the way the truth and the life. No man come th to the Father but by Me.”


  24. Get your satanic religion out of our God honoring and Christian nation. We ont want you here. We will fight for America. Get out


  25. Jazakillah Khayr sister ?
    Thank you for the beneficial advice and beautiful reminder. Your words are truly inspiring.


  26. I’m a Christian and this resonated so well for me. It applies across religions those who desire and seek God. I love it! In the Bible, there is a verse that says, Draw Nigh to God and He will draw Nigh to you. Blessings to you ??

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