Prayer is one of the greatest forms of peace we can use to cope with life. I had the opportunity to help my mother conceptualize this the other day. She was having a down day so I told her, “Truly in remembrance of Allah do our hearts find rest.” She asked, “Why would I care about some Arabic words right now? People don’t care about you in life. You work a job, you get paid, people and family use you, and then you pass! Life taught me a lesson!”
I thought for a second as I held the phone. I could feel her pain through the speaker and as I was searching my thoughts to find a response my words found me, “In Islam your way of life is called a “Sunnah”. Your wealth, titles, possessions, even your esteem, none of those travel with you when you pass. The only thing you leave behind are your deeds. Your deeds were defined by the life you lived and the actions you performed while here in the world. You taught us a very key principle growing up that I think you’ve forgotten somehow. You taught us to be good and do well and you taught us to pray.” She paused for a second and I could hear crying on the other end of the phone. I let her shed her tears for a second and then she finally said, “I really believe at times all that is a lie. It feels like you do good at times and nothing happens.” I told her, “Life doesn’t have to give you roses all the time. You will be tested throughout life. But all test provide you a way to pass them, you just need to seek the maker and find relief. Do you remember teaching us to pray? How you used to say, whenever we feel like we are fed up we should kneel down? When is the last time you prayed?” She said, “Brian I have no idea.” I told her, “Pray”.
At times we let life bog us down with stress and difficulties and we forget that Allah doesn’t promise us a smooth ride but He promises a safe landing. Life is not a smooth journey, and it is not designed to be. I think many of us are just trying to live and trying to set a good example. But out of all our deeds, the most important is prayer. Rumi has said, “When the world pushes you to your knees you are in the perfect position to pray.” When we pray, we go to a source of strength greater than our own. I remember when I explained this to my mother she said, “But what if you can’t find words?” I responded, “At times I don’t know what to say either. However when those moments occur I know to pray from my heart. I ask that He searches my heart and finds the prayer that I can’t form into words. And honestly mamma, those are the prayers that bring me to tears. Whenever I cry in my prayers I know He has heard my silent words and He knows what has burdened my spirit. Finding that peace and relief in my prayers truly does give me the greatest moment of rest I could possibly attain.”
If we want salaam in our lives, we have to hold fast to our prayers. When we pray we should have our children with us, to show them we are not perfect and super. It shows them that Mom and Dad go through so much and when they need guidance they turn to God. Teach your children to pray and set the sunnah for them to follow, show them prayer is the fundamental tool that is an absolute necessity for us to practice. Our children study our actions so let them study you in prayer so they can develop an appreciation for the power of prayer. Give them a positive sunnah to follow so that when you may need a reminder they can remind you. It’s when we feel like breaking that many of us feel like giving in, but actually this is the moment to turn to Him. If Allah becomes our heart’s shelter we can truly find peace.