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[Ahmad, Muslim, Tirmidhi, Nasa’i]Fajr Prayer in Islam: Awakening
As the sun rises and brings light to the world during the time of Fajr prayer, it sets the tone for a glorious awakening from sleep, from “the lesser death,” for humanity, particularly for those who walk the Way and struggle against the self in Jihad an-Nafs, the Great Struggle against the self, against ego-self, and the unconsciousness it is based in.
The Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) in life never sought comfort, but rather actively avoided it, for comfort is the bane of progress, growth, ascension and evolution.
To demonstrate this principle, the Prophet (SAWS) told his wife Aisha (RA), when she padded his bed after seeing straw marks on his back when he awoke, to not make his bed too comfortable for it would make it “difficult to awaken,” and that he preferred the lack of comfort to sleep.
Ease and comfort prevent awakening, and in fact thus lead to hardship, while the Way of the Spiritual Warrior, the way of the zahid, is one of perpetual discipline and honor in the Divine Presence.
For the Spiritual Warrior, home is not this world, but rather in Eternity. And hence the Arabic saying, la rahata fiy-deen, “There is no rest in the Way.”
While ease and comfort in life ultimately lead to hardship, discipline and difficulty in fact lead to ease, for they create strength and clarity. And hence, Allah Almighty says in the Holy Qur’an that “with hardship comes ease.”
“For verily, with hardship comes ease. Verily, with hardship comes ease.”It is of immense value to be awake when the world sleeps, to observe the holy rite of Fajr prayer in Islam, and thereby align oneself with divine destiny as holy deputies of the Almighty.
— Surah ash-Sharh (Holy Quran, 94:4-5)
There is immeasurable reward to thus strive and struggle, to wage the holy war within against weakness, laziness, lethargy and unconsciousness, when the tendency of the world is to cultivate these very qualities.
“Do not leave the two cycles of Fajr prayer, even if you are being attacked by cavalry.”How to Pray Fajr: Suggestions for Success
— Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) [Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Al-Bahaiqi, at-Tahawi]
The following suggestions will help you attain maximum benefit from observing Fajr prayer in Islam, and insha’llah, by the Grace and Goodness of God, lead you to strength, health, prosperity and purpose.
The Night Before
Enable yourself to be in the best condition to arise for Fajr prayer in Islam beginning with how you end your evening the night before.
“Whoever prays the Fajr prayer, he or she is then under Allah’s protection. So beware, O son or daughter of Adam, that Allah does not call you to account for being absent from His protection for any reason.”1. Eat Light
— Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) [Muslim]
Eat a light meal early in the evening. Do not eat heavy and rich foods, particularly late at night. Fresh fruit, vegetables, a salad or raw smoothie are excellent choices.
Light and living foods cultivate consciousness, while rich and heavy foods cultivate unconsciousness, and lead to lethargy and laziness, often demanding more energy from the body to process than they provide.
Light and natural foods, the divine bounty created by Allah Almighty, provide living enzymes and give the body energy, facilitating health, healing and repair.
2. Pray 2 Raka
Before retiring for the night, pray two cycles of prayer and then rest while in a state of wudu, ritual purity. This is most conducive to conducting spiritual energy and attracting divine support and angelic presence.
3. Sleep Early
The human body is designed to obtain maximum benefit from rest early in the night, particularly after being awake, working and struggling the entire day. Give your body the love and care it deserves, and allow it to rest early.
While this may be a challenge in modern times with abundant distractions via technology, remember that health, strength and wellness are best cultivated with simplicity, and that worldly entertainment and engagement pale in comparison with the joy and pleasure of a pure life in the Divine Presence of the Almighty, the Creator and Source of all that is.
“Early to bed and early to rise makes a man healthy, wealthy and wise.”Clarify Your Intention and Purpose
— Benjamin Franklin
The Prophet (SAWS) said that “the value of an action is dependent upon the intention,” implying that much of life is precisely what we make it.
By approaching Fajr prayer in Islam with the right perspective and in the appropriate light, as an honored appointment in the Divine Presence of the Lord of Heavens and Earth, so it shall be.
See Fajr prayer in Islam as an opportunity to cultivate consciousness, and a healthy and balanced life. Understand that this is an invaluable opportunity to attract spiritual light, grace, barakah and beauty.
Remember that Fajr prayer in Islam is a holy opportunity to cultivate divine purpose and eternity, and to awaken from unconsciousness, heedlessness and slumber.
Awaken before the Fajr prayer arrives, and pray the Tahhajud prayers. In its simplest form, Tahhajud prayer simply consists of 4-8 cycles of prayer before the time for Fajr.
By setting your intention to awaken for Tahhajud, you strengthen your resolve to observe Fajr itself, and secure the likelihood of awakening for that most important prayer of the entire day.
Pray in Congregation
Whenever possible, at least once per week, do your best to observe Fajr prayer in congregation at a mosque. The benefit and barakah of praying in jama’, in congregation, are exponentially greater than simply praying alone.
Also, by making a commitment to pray with others, you create accountability and strengthen both your resolve as well as your alignment with divine purpose, in addition to contributing to the cultivation of a spiritually aligned community based in divine service.
“The most difficult prayers for the hypocrites are the Isha and Fajr prayers. Yet if they only knew what these prayers contain, they would come to prayer even if they had to crawl.”Meditate Daily
— Prophet Muhammad (SAWS) [Ahmad]
The physical, mental and emotional benefits of daily meditation are innumerable, and by observing a daily meditative spiritual practice, you will best position yourself for success both in this life and in the hereafter.
A simple consistent practice of about 20 minutes per day will not only enable you to get maximum benefit from your daily prayers, but will also augment every aspect of your life.
The health benefits of meditation are now well documented, and range from lowering blood pressure to keeping the body young, fit and alive.
Meditation nourishes your body’s tissues with qudra, life-energy, at the cellular level, and maintains a balanced biochemistry that strengthens and heals your system by improving immune system function.
A strong and healthy body has little difficulty in awakening early morning for Tahajjud and Fajr prayers, and needs far less sleep than a body deprived of the deep rest only meditation can provide.
By calming the mind, Islamic Meditation, also known as muraqaba, produces clarity and ultimately prescience, enabling again your system to get far more rest than otherwise, for the largest single drain upon the system’s resources are continual and compulsive thoughts, often plagued with negativity and fear.
A mind untrained in being still through meditation is often frought with fear that reduces and diminishes not only quality of life, but weakens the entire body and makes one susceptible to disease.
When we are stressed, the mind produces stress hormones that ultimately take a devastating toll on the mind and body. Yet by meditating daily, you regain control over your very mind, and ultimately attain true freedom.
Daily meditation is essential to a healthy Islamic lifestyle.
Barakah and Noor
Meditation cultivates Presence, which is essential in prayer and in life. In fact, salah, or Islamic ritual prayer, is an exercise in presence, being rooted here and now, and thus connected to the Divine Presence.
By meditating daily, you best prepare yourself for being still, calm, present and focused during prayer, enabling you to get maximum benefit from this vital Islamic spiritual practice.
Praying with Presence cultivates and attracts barakah and noor, Grace and Light, supporting you with Allah’s Angels in all you do.
“One hour of meditation is more valuable than seventy years of worship.”Fajr Prayer in Islam
— Prophet Muhammad (SAWS)
Prayer is jihad, and is in fact of Jihad al-Akbar, the Greater Struggle of self-purification mentioned by the Prophet (SAWS) as being the essence of Islam.
It not easy to stay upon the Straight Path, particularly in the modern world where most have lost, abandoned and forgotten the Way. Consequently, stress and suffering have become the pervasive norm.
Yet good tidings to they who keep the Way. Never before has there been so great a reward and potential for a result, for light, barakah, grace, and awakening.
Arise. Awaken. Heed the call to the Divine Presence and to your greatest good. You are being invited five times daily. And it begins with Fajr prayer in Islam.