Take your time

June 19, 2016

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Painting by Ludwig Deutsch

After travelling and overall exhaustion from the heat I fell asleep and ended missing two prayers. Usually, when I miss a prayer I try to rush to make it up. But I have the unfortunate habit of rushing the salah itself. Somehow in my mind, I mix up having to rush to pray with rushing the prayer itself. With this being my typical habit -to the point where I don’t notice I do it, I was about to do the same thing until something came over me and gently said: “take your time”. Take my time, take it easy, relax. Release the anxiety of making up a prayer, release the anxiety of whatever you think you have to do after prayer, release the idea of “getting it over with”.

I sometimes suffer from performance anxiety with my salah causing me to rush when there’s no need. I’m afraid my salah won’t be good enough -which of course it won’t be, it won’t be reflective enough, I won’t pay enough attention, I’ll forget a verse or what rakah I’m up to, it won’t be deep enough or profound enough. So maybe I rush through it to avoid the pain of not being good enough.

Or maybe it will be too profound. Maybe the verses will penetrate too deeply. Maybe the hell fire will become too clear. Maybe my shortcomings will become too heavy to bear. Maybe I’ll see the reality of “God is greater” and “Glory to God”. Maybe I’ll fall apart and be unable to continue through life knowing the reality of the prayer, the reality of life.

Whether fear of underperforming, being overwhelmed or a false sense of urgency. Something helped me to just forget it all and simply take my time. It’s not to say I had a grand spiritual opening but I felt at ease. A small step but a big one in improving our worship to God.

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