Saturday, February 20, 2010

Mind Games

 (this is a read-at-your-own-risk blog because it might be too religious for some, so it's your call really!)

If you are a practicing Muslim, then you might have an idea of what I am about to share with you today. If you're not-- then this is all new to you. I thought today I might share a real day to day struggle for my Muslim self. This is by no means an account for all Muslims... Most Muslims (and non Muslims) are better than me, and most humans have different struggles with different levels, at different stages of their lives. Below is a little scene about a little mind game I play with myself, oh about 25 times a day. Some days are better than others, this one is from the... well... others:

I am preparing lunch for everyone in the house. I glance at the digital stove clock-- 12:30 it reads. Good I have plenty of time left. (I just prayed Dhur *noon prayer*)
I proceed with my green monster soup making, put Grabby on her highchair and have Mei sit on hers.

Three hours pass...

I am on the floor multitasking: Nursing baby while reading all the books Mei can find and bring me one after the other. I take another glance at the stove clock-- 3:20 pm it reads. I have a little over two more hours, maybe I should wash up and pray quickly...

An hour or so later...

The stove clock reads: 4:35 pm. I am washing the dishes and thinking about dinner, and bedtime routine. Meanwhile Grabby is emptying the contents of the kitchen cabinet by my feet, and Mei is watching Kai lan and pretending to be the baby rabbit from the show.

Some time later (you do the math!)...
The stove clock reads: 5:15 pm-- Dang, *Maghrib (dusk prayer) enters in 15 minutes, I need to run!
I swiftly turn off the running water, wipe my hands on my pants as I carefully jump over Grabby. I struggle with the safety knob on the bathroom door to open. Then shut the door as fast as I can to avoid an approaching Grabby from slipping inside the bathroom from under my legs (she's very slick this little one). I wash up for prayer, while still keeping an ear for any turbulence from the other end of the bathroom door. Two minutes later I emerge triumphant, I jolt through the rest of the house and arrive at the other end (no worries, our house is conveniently tiny)--the cupboard where I keep my Isdal (prayer garment) and my rug is on that end. Seconds later I am raising my palms with open fists right by my ears. Allahu Akbar (God is great)...

I often time think it's easier to not have to interrupt life for prayer, certainly not five times a day. Often times I am wrong... With this particular issue I am always wrong... I am always grateful I have to interrupt life. It brings me back to center, be it-- while washing the dishes, shopping in the mall, (watching a movie in the theater) or soundly sleeping at the wee hours of the morning. I never ever have this regret after performing my prayer. Before the prayer-- well, I won't lie to you.

Years back (pre-husband and kiddos and America era) I was spending the night with a friend of mine, and as these things go, we were chatting away in darkness... and again as these things go the conversation took a spiritual turn and we were asking each other about our favorite or easiest form of worship. Reading the Quran, she answered quickly without even stopping to think. Really? That's like the hardest thing for me (I was educated in English schools and classical Arabic was a bit of a challenge for me, let alone archaic Arabic).
What's yours she asked. Praying, I paused or Fasting. I can't decide.

Today, praying and fasting are a great struggle for me-- I perform them the way we're supposed to. I put them off most of the time, but when I finally perform them, I get reminded again why It's a choice. It's like that phone call with your father that you're dreading, but then you call and really it's not that bad. It's as-a-matter-of-fact so pleasant you don't want to hang up.

Speaking of which. It's *isha time (night prayer time).


*The Five Obligatory Prayer Times these days (they change according to day light hours-- which means everyday)::

Fajr         4:54 AM (Dawn Prayer time enters, Night prayer time ends)
Shuruq    6:38 AM (Sunrise, time for Dawn Prayer ends)
Dhur      12:04 PM (Noon prayer time enters)
Asr          3:03 PM (After-noon prayer time enters, noon prayer time ends)
Maghrib  5:31 PM (Dusk Prayer time enters, after-noon prayer time ends)
Isha         7:04 PM (Night prayer time enters, Dusk prayer time ends)
I was told by my super observant significant other that I made some crucial typos that directly affect my story, so I went back and corrected them for the sake of saving you (dear very patient reader) the confusion. Sorry about that!

1 comment:

Me said...

I hear you! It's been a struggle ever since my son was born...and I sometimes feel the "quality" of my prayers isn't the same... I mean with regards to full concentration and kheshoo3... but alhamdulilah... Fajr and Isha are the ones I can pray in peace coz he either hasn't woken up or is asleep :-)