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While salah is the most fundamental practice of the believer, many Muslims struggle to pray or to pray consistently. You may be such a Muslim. You may have maintained prayer many years ago but somehow, along the way, fallen out of practice. You may have never really gotten the hang of praying. No matter. If you are feeling motivated to start praying then take comfort. Allah ﷻ tells us that no slave of His takes a step towards him except that He, Allah, comes toward him even more quickly1https://abuaminaelias.com/dailyhadithonline/2017/06/01/if-he-comes-walking-i-come-running/. Your desire to return to salah is an indication of Allah calling you to Him. Don’t let negativity stop you. Respond to Allah’s call and begin.
A simple reason to take heart in the beginning of this journey back to meeting Allah is knowing that others have tried and succeeded. Muslims all over the world are on a journey to meet their Creator. Some are in the same exact place as you, and some were and have moved forward. This personal story gives a lot of inspiration for anyone struggling to build a consistent practice of prayer. Another personal reflection shares how it’s possible to be lost, find your way, and then get lost again; but not to lose heart. And finally, if you need inspiration in the form of more tough love, check out this convert’s reflections on salah.
Where to Start
The idea of building or rebuilding a complete prayer practice is overwhelming. It is key however, to override emotions of pessimism with those of longing and hope. Before even beginning to look into how to schedule your prayers, reach out and reconnect emotionally to Allah. What will propel you through this period of building salah into your life is a growing attachment to being with your Lord. Check out this article for further discussion of why this is so important. It’s the first step in your journey back to Allah but it’s also encased in every step you will take forward.
Getting to Work
Honestly, a simple google search will yield many different tips on how to go about reinstating or solidifying a prayer practice. We’ve tried to narrow down the options and have picked some that tend to cover most of what is out there. For a comprehensive discussion of how to begin a prayer habit check out this article here. These articles here and here, though not as comprehensive, give varying tips to keep strong.
Look through the tips available and start with what you find most appealing and applicable. Don’t spend too much time agonizing over how you will be able to maintain 5 prayers everyday. As you go through the process, the constant practice itself will allow for greater commitment. Additionally, if you find that something isn’t working, just alter and keep going. The most important thing is just start.
If you’ve ever started to pray consistently but then eventually dropped off, you’ll know that the process includes challenges. Again, don’t be disheartened. Every challenge you come up against can be seen as a test from Allah that will allow you to grow.Your faith and resolve will strengthen. Consider what challenges you may face or have already faced and create a plan.
This article here on Sillah, though written with converts in mind, can help address some hurdles you may face. Additionally, a common obstacle for many is Fajr prayer. Check out these articles here and here on how to make sure you always perform the dawn prayer on time. Finally, many people begin to slowly slip out of their prayers because they don’t feel the sort of connection they are looking for. This article talks about how this faulty logic actually undermines your ability to gain depth from your salah. Consistent practice will yield greater results over time. Be patient and persevere.
Going for More
Eventually, once salah has become second nature to you, you will be able to focus on really deepening your experience of it. Though maintaining regular practice requires a great deal of discipline, the goal of salah is not routine building alone. More important than that is connection. Building your connection with Allah will take time and a change in perspective. This article, posted here on Sillah, highlights the importance of transforming one’s attitude about prayer while journeying towards depth of experience. To allow greater feelings of closeness and connection to Allah, salah must become a deeper moment along a series of moments in your day of thinking and conversing with Allah. Salah becomes an extension of the way you live your life wholly. Maybe this seems utterly impossible, especially from where you’re starting, but others have done it and you definitely can too.
May Allah bless this journey for you and allow you to taste the sweetness of overcoming its difficulties. Every step you take to improving your salah, is a step closer in improving your relationship to Allah. Every step you take is a leap which Allah is taking toward you. Be honored and be humbled. Don’t lose hope; Allah wants you so keep moving forward.