Do Not Delay Or Get It Over Withby Asma bint Shameem
Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar!
The sound of the adhaan echoed throughout the neighborhood.
"Oh, its Asr already?!" She absentmindedly thought in her head as she flipped channels with the remote. "I 'll pray as soon as this show is over," she mumbled to herself, as she settled down to watch her favorite TV program. And before she knew it, it was another show and then yet another, when all of a sudden, she realized how late it was.....the light outside had turned yellowish orange.....the birds were chirping loudly.... ...the sun was almost about to set.She hurriedly got up, made wudu and did 4 quick rakahs of Asr as fast as she could, so that she could 'get it over with'.
Subhaan Allaah, how many of us are guilty of something like that?
Okay, may be it's not television for all of us. For some of us, it's cooking and cleaning, 'busy' with the kids. And for some it's video games and playstations; while for others it's talking on the phone, chatting on the internet, shopping, sleeping, you name it. Or it may be for just no reason at all.
We delay our prayer....and delay our prayer until the time for it is almost over and then we quickly peck the floor with our heads, thinking we are absolved of the obligation. In other words, we 'just get it over with'.
But, Brothers and sisters, do you realize what the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) called such a prayer? He called it the 'prayer of the hypocrite'!
Anas ibn Maalik said, "I heard the Messenger of Allaah (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) say, 'That is the prayer of the hypocrites, that is the prayer of the hypocrites, that is the prayer of the hypocrites. One of them will sit until the sun turns yellow, and is between the horns of the Shaytaan, or on the horns of the Shaytaan, then he will get up and peck out four (rak'ahs), in which he does not remember Allaah except a little.'" (Abu Dawood).
And its not just Asr. We tend to do that with all our prayers, delaying it until its time is almost up for no valid reason, except that we are just plain old lazy. Allaah says that laziness in prayer is a characteristic of the hypocrites.
"And when they stand up for al-salaah, they stand with laziness" [al-Nisaa' 4:142].
"So woe unto those performers of Salaah (hypocrites);those who delay their Salaah" [al-Ma'oon 107:4-5]
'Abd-Allaah ibn 'Abbaas said: (This means) those who delay their prayers from the proper time. (Tafseer al-Qurtubi)
In fact, do you know what the best deed in the site of Allah is? Its prayer at its time.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) was asked: Which deed is best? He said: "Prayer done on time." (al-Bukhaari, Muslim)
And yet we delay it, without thinking much of it. And obviously when we delay the prayer, we rush through it, not paying attention to the ruku or sujud or the proper etiquettes of prayer.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said: 'The worst type of thief is the one who steals from his prayer.' He said, 'O Messenger of Allaah, how can a person steal from his prayer?' He said, 'By not doing rukoo' and sujood properly.'" (Ahmad and al-Haakim--saheeh by Albaani).
And he (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said: 'The one who does not do rukoo' properly, and pecks in sujood, is like a starving man who eats only one or two dates; it does not do him any good at all.'" (al-Tabaraani- hasan by al-Albaani).
Subhaan Allaah! And where are we with our Salaah?
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) used to move at a measured pace during salaah, allowing every bone to return to its place with each movement. And he commanded those who were not doing their prayer properly to do the same. Remember the hadeeth about the person who rushed through his prayer? The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) told him three times: "Go back and pray, for you have not prayed." Then he told the man: "When you go to pray, say takbeer, then recite whatever you can of the Qur'aan. Then bow until you are at ease in bowing, then rise until you are standing up straight. Then prostrate until you are at ease in prostration, then sit up until you are at ease in sitting. Then do that throughout the entire prayer." (al-Bukhaari, Muslim)
Obviously if we wait till the last few moments to pray, we will not be at ease or be able to pay attention to what the Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alaiyhi wa Sallam) has instructed to do. Obviously, we will end up 'stealing' from the prayer.
And you know what, we may just rush through the Salaah, 'getting it over with', as some of us like to say, but who knows how much of it was even accepted by Allaah? For the reward that one gets for Salaah is in proportion to the degree of khushoo he has in the prayer.
The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said: "A slave may pray and have nothing recorded for it except a tenth of it, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a quarter, or a third, or a half." ( Ahmad; Saheeh al-Jaami').
We, as Muslim must hasten to prayer and with khushoo', if we want to increase our Imaan and good deeds. This is one of the attributes of the believers whose hearts are attached to their prayers. The Prophet (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) would be attending to his family's needs, then when he would hear Bilaal give the adhaan, he would stop whatever he was doing and rush to pray.
He (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) used to say, "Let us relax with it [the prayer], O Bilaal."
He did not say, 'Let us get it over with.'
And he (Sal Allaahu Alayhi wa sallam) said:
"Five prayers which Allaah has made obligatory. Whoever does wudoo' properly for them, prays them on time, does rukoo' properly and has perfect khushoo', it is a promise from Allaah that he will be forgiven, but whoever does not do this, has no such promise – if Allaah wishes, He will forgive him, and if He wishes, He will punish him." (Abu Dawood, Saheeh al-Jaami').
Those of us who are lazy and do not pray until the time is up for no valid reason...those of us who just want to 'get it over with', should remember what our deeds will say to us when we are in our grave: "for the believer's deeds will say to him in his grave: "By Allaah, I only saw you quick to obey Allaah and slow to disobey Him." But in the case of the munaafiq (hypocrite) and faasiq (evildoer), his deeds will say: "By Allaah, I only saw you slow to obey Allaah and quick to disobey Him." ( Ahmad; saheeh by al-Albaani)