Summer has come and gone, and now down to the last few drops, and I can say that my battle with fajr is hardly won. I can’t say its lost either, but somehow were at a standstill. Maybe it’s wrong to talk about fajr like this, maybe that’s the whole problem: that I see it like an enemy rather than a savior. No matter, still we have a long way to go.
I have constantly struggled with fajr. It’s tested me and broken me. It’s pushed me more than most other religious rituals. Here’s the beginning of a post I started in the midst of a bout of failure this summer:
It’s summertime here and with it the feelings of shame and despondency wash anew. I’ve been here before and I will probably be here again but that only makes it more bitter. The problem is, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to make myself believe that I am committed enough to make fajr prayer on time. Every morning that I snooze my alarm, I am reminded that I don’t have it in me.
It being The Faith.
The faith that all my fellow congregants seem to have. That I am met with all around at friday prayers or in Quran study circles. All these believers with all their awe inspiring faith. A faith that wells up inside them and pushes their sails forward. Upward and onward. While I sit here, flailing, floundering, and sinking.
To be honest, I think I never really had it. In my years when I would consistently offer fajr prayer on time, I truly believe that it was out of a sense of discipline and correctness more than anything. I hardly remember a deeply gratifying morning prayer. I can say with confidence that fajr was and is the least spiritually involved prayer that I offer. If not offered in a daze, it is offered in a hurriedness. Really, the best ones, if we can really use best here, have been the ones I’ve prayed late and have been filled with shame and remorse standing there before God.
Sometimes I tell myself, that’s it. That shame and sadness is part of why this is God’s plan for you. He offers you more feeling and connection, even though it’s not ‘correct’. But that only feels like a half answer. God could offer me anything in any way. He doesn’t need me to wake up late to give me connection in prayer. There is a shortcoming on my part that has not allowed me to transcend to the next level. I feel stuck repeating the same mistakes over and over; I can never overcome.
So how can I make myself believe? If I have no action to inspire faith, and no faith to inspire action, where do I even begin?