|Photo by Zulfaqar Mohd. Khair|
The five daily prayers are the pillars that keep the Islam in a Muslim's heart stand firm. The Muslim is the caretaker of these pillars. It is imperative that the caretaker keeps them in check and takes care of any imperfections, for they are not free from imperfections. They are not suppose to.
It is the caretaker's job to keep them standing strong with constant care and regular check ups. Otherwise the whole structure may collapse, even from a single crack.
I reflected upon my prayer and upon my (lack of) concentration in it. I found myself fixated on four different moments in my prayer. I feel that these four moments are pivotal in my prayer and to pass them by without reflection - albeit for only a second - would be the crack to my pillars.
The moment when I first say "Allahuakbar". I raise my arms up, palms facing front. I throw everything aside as I bring my arms together and embrace my body. I throw everything aside, except Allah. Except Allah.
Because Allah is Greater.
Allah is Greater than my worries.
Allah is Greater than my possessions.
Allah is Greater than my loved ones.
Allah is Greater than myself.
As I embrace myself, I exit this world and enter into a new world where it is just me and Allah. In that space and time, there is true bliss. This, as how my Prophet expressed it, is the coolness of my eyes.
The moment when I recite, "It is You we worship and it is You we seek help from."
This outlines my purpose in everything I do in life and in doing so, I realize that I need His help. I am in total dependence to Him, and Him alone. Being a Muslim is not easy, and rightfully so. It shouldn't be easy. Life is hard. Life is a mess. Such is the nature of this dunya.
But being a Muslim equipped me with the tools to handle the hardship, to persevere, and to succeed. To be content.
"It is You we worship and it is You we seek help from."
I think that one line summarizes a whole lot about what or who a Muslim is. A short sentence that speaks volumes.
If only we reflect.
The moment when I lay my forehead on the ground.
Is there a humbler experience than this? Is there a symbol of dependence more profound than this?
The closest place I can be to my Creator. In this lowest position, my heart is at its highest.
In my sujud, I speak most intimately to you, O Allah.
The moment when I reiterate the declaration of faith in my Tashahhud. This is what a person says in order to enter into Islam. This is also what a Muslim says in each prayer, at least five times a day.
Imagine that. Being a new Muslim after each prayer. Rejuvenated.
"There is no God except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger."
This shows me my destination and the path I must take to get there.