Note: The title of this post is intentionally misleading for more reasons than one. So, please bare with me.
I have told this moralistic story so many times during my life, so I thought why not share it with the world. So, the story goes:
When I came of age, in a certain place, during the last few days of Ramadan of a certain year, my mom had a chat with me in the middle of the night when I decided to break the news to her. She told me things that I still carry with me till this very day and I recently found out some mothers don’t have the “you now have a religious responsibility” talk with their sons and daughters.
So, my mom, in the AM told me that even as my mothers, she would be able to help me on a day. Everything was on me now. I had to fast, I had to pray or I had to pay the consequence on that day. She informed me that, that not engaging in acts of worship would set me up for failure in this life and on that day. As a child, with some faith. I took her words to heart. I went from being off and on if not rarely praying to praying 5 prayers a day, overnight. So, that’s zero – 5 prayers in one day. I like to think that was solely possible with the dua she made that night as I interrupted her qiyam prayer.
Around that time, I vividly remember one day, I slept after Asr, slept through Maghrib and woke up a few minutes after the sun had set, my heart ached for I had not prayed on time. I stood in prayer that day and begged Allah to forgive me like my life depended on it. Subhanallah, look at how devoted I was at the stage of my life. My Aunt who was present at the time, till this day is dumbfounded by the kid version of me’s reaction to praying late.
Slowly but surely, a year later, through many avenues and tricks, the shaytan whispered. He refuted everything my mother had said with my sister as an example. My mom said that if I don’t have my prayers in check, then my life wouldn’t be either. He whispered, ‘look at your older sister, she doesn’t pray, she’s okay, she’s healthy, she’s happy and does well in life, so what was your mom talking about? Slowly but surely, I began to slip. I went from 5-4-3-2-1 time a day, to eventually zero.
A couple of years later, a calamity rocked my world and I was oppressed, in those tender times, it was easier to be depressed and lash out at the world as your faith had diminished. So, a couple of more years later, the calamity advanced, except this time the idea of turning back to Allah was more appealing as to make duaa against my oppressors as other relief mechanisms were clearly not working for me. All in all, after 4 years of not praying, in a split second I made the mental, conscious decision to return to Allah. Except this time, I took it one step further. Not only did Allah bless me to pray all 5 years prayers after years of pretending to pray for my parents, but I started praying all my 12 Sunnah prayers to build me a house in Jannah, of course. And before I knew it, I discovered a prayer performed in the last third of the night. I think for a total of 6 months, I was able to pray Qiyam Prayers every-single-day. What a blessing, SubhanAllah. at that young age, it was as if I had a built in alarm clock as I would wake up at the same time every-single-day and to perform Qiyam. Moreover, I would ask for the small things in life and go back to sleep. Surprisingly, at the time, I thought this was completely normal. I recall speaking to my dad about this matter and he insisted with added examples that it was a blessing from Allah. Shamefully, my 6 months came to an end and I stopped praying Qiyam Prayers because of an unacknowledged sin. Many nights, I would be awake and the thought would come to mind but I couldn’t perform the act by the will of Allah. I was helpless.
Alhamdulillah, since then, Allah blessed me to maintain the 5 daily prayers and I’ve engaged in off and on Sunnah and Qiyam and Duha prayers over the years. Although, I am not satisfied with where I am, I sure am grateful for my past and present and hopeful for the future.
The lesson that can be learnt from all of this is, whatever state you may be in, as long as you call upon Allah, He will Respond.
As an future Accountant Inshallah, I thought the best way to express and compose this post is with a 3D line chart.
14 thoughts on “Why I Stopped Praying?”
Reminds me of how shaa a used to say to Prophet (saws) that when they are in his company, they feel the sweetness of eemaan but as soon as they leave, it starts to vanish away…at times, we may not ‘feel’ our prayers but consistency does help…May Allah always keep us steadfast and somehow I needed to hear your story! Jazakillah khair ❤
Mashallah, what a beautiful comparison.
Allahuma Ameen to your duaa and I am glad you read it when you needed too.
Sorry I wrote sahaaba and it autocorrected it :/
*sahaaba* instead of ‘shaa a’
I love that you use the closing line “..Call upon Allah, He will Respond.” that is so very true, May Allah guide and protect us to always be on the straight path of Islam, and make of us better Muslims, ameen.
Masha – Allah- great story and so important for many who struggle to maintain just the 5. Out of interest, how did you manage the qadah for the salaahs missed in the on-off years?
Great question. It totally skipped my mind.
So, at a young tender age when I came back to Allah for the second time, my intention was “Allah is All just, hold my oppressors accountable.” The more persistent I grew, the more my conscience cleared and I slowly became tranquil. Almost instantly, my heart ached, for my previous disbelief. At that ages, I was just grounding my new found firm belief. So, I asked around; googled; sought advice. I even remember a former acquaintance advised me to stop my search and pray 2 Fajrs and 2 Duhrs and etc as she believe that was the correct opinion, but that did not seem logical to me. And it all boiled down to, those prayers were gone for good. So, I did, the only thing I could do at the time which was to seek forgiveness from the forgiving. And with his mercy I was able to take up extra Sunnah prayers, to make up for my current prayers deficit, so I could get the maximum reward, inshallah.
As for Ramadan, I held the opinion. I can make it up. I calculated how many Ramadan I starved myself and didn’t pray. And based on that, I did my math and used the following equation: # of months x # of days and I wanted to do more than just the Monday and Thursday Fasts and I wanted to do more than that 3 days a month Fast, so of course, I attempted to do the fast of Dawood. Haha my parents thought I was extreme. But all I wanted to do is be dutiful to our Creator.
I hope my essay response answers your question.
Yes – it does. I actually take the view of your friend, though…yet my process of qadah a bit disjointed. In my initial period of coming back to the deen, I kind of left the qadah, and it took a good few years to become regular in that again. So i resolved that, even if it took more than 10 years to catch up on everything, that was fine. To me, it all had to do with sincerity…so if I don’t manage to finish, Allah knows it was my intention.
I find it discouraging when people take a very black and white view of qadah, with one opinion / ruling actually saying that if you die without making all up, in your will, you need to pay fidyah for missed salah. Others draw up an elaborate spreadsheet to help you track your progress, and some even say you need to make qadah for witr.
I feel that we obviously need to make taubah, but after that, we do need to make up all the qadah….though psychologically, if it’s too much of a burden in your early years, I would say delay until you are more established…but always have the sincere intention that you’ll get there one day. To burden one’s self so early in the journey is counter-productive, I feel.
I don’t take the opinion of my friend and yourself because I did my math. I was sitting on almost 10k unprayered prayers. And I like you wanted make up all the prayers. So I tried and I asked Allah to guide me. And then I came across:Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
“Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. Gain strength by worshipping in the mornings and afternoons and during the last hours of the night.” and I was SOLD. that was the answer to my prayers. So I made a conscious decision to excel islamically without burdening myself with my almost 10k prayer debt to the merciful.
Jazakillah for sharing..
Ukhti continue praying and I urge all my sisters to pray, for the first thing we will be called to account as a believer is our salah. If it’s intact then we will be able to move forward if not then we know our place SubhanAllaah.
Istagfaar is key and I ask Allaah azzawajal to forgive me for all my sins big or small and also my dear sisters, my family. Aameen Ya Rabb.
For on the day of judgement, the successful will be those who prayed to Allaah with ikhlaas.
I have been so 1-5 and 5-0 in my prayers lately. But since I’m a bit of a geek I started to keep track of my daily prayers in my diary , I use it to motivate and remind me to pray !
Mashallah that’s wonderful. May Allah ease your affairs.