Prayer in Islam is given much higher importance than many other religions, I believe. It is compulsory for Muslims to pray 5 times a day and each prayer is accorded a specific time period. My day starts with the fajr prayer, which can be prayed around 6am to 7am and the timing differs based on your location for it is based on sunrise. After lunch, the 2nd prayer follows. And the 3rd, the 4th and finally the 5th around 9pm. Prayers give structure to my everyday life and organise it into time blocks.
However, prayers in Islam definitely serve a deeper purpose. It marvels me that you can enter a mosque in any part of the world and still be able to pray with hundreds of people. We recite the same words, kneel at the same time for sujood and pray as one people. Jamaath prayers (congregational prayers) hold a deep awe for me. I go to weekly mosque classes mainly because it offers me an opportunity to pray with a hundred other people. There is a sense of solidarity and a sense of awareness that so many other minds are praying to Allah, telling him of their sorrows and asking for his mercy.
Most prayers are prayed alone so praying with another Muslim is a rare opportunity. I want to thank this girl who prayed with me in school. To get a clearer picture of the context, I live in Singapore where the Chinese form 75% of the population. I was part of an odd 50 Muslims out of 2500 students in a school. Oh how hectic those days were! I managed to squeeze in luhar and asar prayers in between school acitivities and extra classes. Because of Allah, my busy schedule clashed with this junior of mine.
We somehow ended up meeting at the prayer place, which was just a staircase landing in a hidden part of the school, twice a week. As Singapore emphasises on being a secular country, any open displays of religion are frowned upon. “Let’s pray together,” she suggested one day out of the blue. We were accustomed to smiling at each other by then and those were the first words we exchanged. Since that day, I tried to pray with her if our schedules clashed. She kept me close to Allah despite my busy school days. Knowing that someone else is trying as hard as you to keep remembering Allah despite the whirlwind of activities around her is encouraging and heart warming.
I do not even know her name but dear sister, I hope you are doing well now. I cherish every sujood and every salam. Thank you for keeping my feet on the ground and for reminding Allah. May Allah bless you with the best in this world and the next.
Furthermore, thank you god for keeping me close to you during those days. They say Allah loves those who spend their youth for him for it is the period of time in your life when you are tempted to stray. People find religious teenagers a joke and some fear they are “radicalised” in the case of Muslims. It makes sense for it is easier to think someone is a fool rather than accepting that that person has found inner peace in God which seems impossible at such a young age. And laugh I say for only I can feel the peace and protection God has bestowed on me.
I end the post by quoting myself, yes myself.
The only reason you did not suffer as much as her is because God has bestowed his protection on you. He chose to keep you on the right path.
I have not encountered major problems in my life. Alhamdulillah for keeping me close to you. Alhamdulillah for giving me a friend to remind me of you and guide me to you. Some of my friends did not make the right choices during our teenage years. They laughed because I was such a coward they said. Well, I chose to fear you God, not them.
P.S: Oh and God, can you try and make our connection stronger for more of my prayers? I feel a little guilty that I don’t remember what I am saying sometimes because I am so tired nowadays from work and overtime.