I recently had a conversation with a friend of mine. She was going through a lot, and I told her to keep pushing and not to give up. She described to me some of the recent events in her life. I will not give the details of them, so not to expose her or her private life. Throughout my conversation with her, I could sense something wasn’t right with her. I encouraged her to never give up in Allah and explained to her that everything she was going through could be a test from Him. 

My friend agreed with me. She stressed to me the fact that she had faith in Allah and that she was sure He was by her side. I was happy to hear that from her and gave her a few reminders and a bit of sisterly advice. I said, “Allah is with you and so are my prayers. Just keep up with salaah you know? Don’t ever leave it off. 

Though she did not clearly say that she had not been keeping up with her prayers, I could tell she was hinting to it. She said she was trying her hardest and that she was mad at herself. She assumed I would be angry at her as well. I listened to her ramble, saying nothing. I was not angry; I was hurt and scared. I was scared that she was losing her faith and strength. She finally told me, “There is a difference between not wanting to, and wanting to but not doing.” I stopped her there, gently, but I stopped her. 

I explained to her that prayer is the foundation of our religion. It is our secure connection with Allah, and it’s what makes us different from every other group of people. We need it in our lives to stay spiritually healthy and gain blessings in our lives. Prayer is such a great part of our religion. Allah brought the Prophet Muhammad pbuh to Him, on the night of Al-Israa and Al-Mi’raaj to give us the gift of Salaah. Allah could have sent the legislation through Jibreel, but decided it fit to give it to the Prophet pbuh directly. Perhaps He did this, to show us the reverence that the five daily prayers have in our religion. 

Leaving off any of the five daily prayers; Fajr, Dhuhr, Asr, Maghrib, and Isha, is considered a major sin by the scholars of Islam, and some even say it takes one out of the fold of the religion. Leaving off prayer is not like leaving off fasting Ramadan, Zakah (Charity), and Hajj for those who are able. Though a person who leaves off these fundamental principles of Islam is sinful, it is worse to leave off the five daily prayers. 

How can we expect Allah Subhanahu wa ta’alaa to accept our duaas, to fill our lives with blessing and rizq if we are not fulfilling our duty to Him? Of course, Allah gives to whom He wills whether he or she prays or not. But there is a level of gratitude Allah is owed for giving us so much, and the least we can do is pray.

We shouldn’t criticize those who struggle with prayer. We shouldn’t mock them, degrade them, or be harsh with them. The prophet pbuh was far from harsh, but he did offer reminders, and that is our duty. It is our duty to check in with our brothers and sisters in Islam and remind them to give Allah his due write. We must encourage them and not chase them away from the deen. There is; nonetheless, hope for them because we do not know their hearts. Allah remains the changer of hearts, and He guides whom He wills. It isn’t up to us to judge who is going to Hell, and who is safe. We should focus on ourselves, and staying connected with Allah through our prayer and we should simply remind our fellow Muslims. 

Allah is the Most Forgiving, the Most Merciful. There is no sin too big for Him to forgive, and there are no sins too many for Him to wipe out. It is up to us to take our first steps towards Him and to ask His help and guidance, and He will do the rest. No matter how hard it gets, no matter how little motivation or concentration you have, always pray. May Allah give us success. 

 إن الصلاة كانت على المؤمنين كتابا موقوتا (103)
 Indeed prayer has been legislated upon the believers with legislated times. [4:103]