12 June 2008

Faith: practice makes perfect

As cliche as Nike's "Just Do It" has become I find that it best describes my attitude towards the ritualistic aspects of Islam.

Faith, like everything else in life, is driven more by habit than by internal spiritual motivation. It's a matter of conscious commitment.

The problem is that puts me at odds with the popular religious rhetoric.

We pray our five daily prayers because we believe. We only come to miss praying when it becomes a habit. When I lived in the U.S. praying Isha'a in congregation at the mosque was something I did daily. I miss it when I don't go, not because of some spiritual calling but because it has become a habit. The sights, the sounds, the motions and even the people at the mosque made my night complete.

Yes there is a bond that develops eventually, at least I hope, but it doesn't happen instantly. News Flash: The minute you start praying your life won't change. Chances are NOTHING will happen. Eventually, it becomes part of who you are, you develop a stronger God-consciousness by habit.

This has always been my approach to religion, if something is prescribed and I believe it then I won't wait for a "calling" to at least attempt it.

I've always been bothered by preachers who make rituals romantic. "Fajer prayer will bring you peace and sakeena..." Riiiight. May be true for some BUT personal experience has taught me that in the immediate future fajer prayers will disrupt my sleep and annoy the crap out of me because I have to take it into account while trying to get to sleep the night before.*

Romantics say "hijab will feel right and you'll feel spiritual and protected." I say clearly that's a statement made by a man. Hijab is hot and it crimps your style (if you're doing it right) but that's all beside the point.

If you believe that hijab is right should it matter how it'll make you feel? Because regardless of the way you feel, if you start you'll get used to it and it'll be part of you soon enough. I'm not saying the practice is without challenges.

One of the tabiyeen, the generation after the companions, said something to the effect of "I struggled with myself to pray Qiyam ul-Lail for 20 years, then came to enjoy them 20 years after." If it took a tabi3i, who arguably had a stronger connection to the Prophet than we do and much less distractions, 20 full years to begin to enjoy the voluntary prayers why are preachers talking of instant gratification to my generation?

I guess like pretty much everything else, my approach to religion is practical and logical. And I think religious romantics are doing us all a disfavor with their rhetoric.


Earlier posts on faith here.

10 comments:

Glitter said...

*Jumps off the sofa to give you a standing ovation*

EXACTLY!

My sentiments EXACTLY!

I think i'm falling for you, HARD!

The Masquerader said...

gabil la agra ur post ib sa3a kint ga3d at7cha 3an nafs ilmawtho3 bilthab6 with a friend,
only my own way, anyho, its great, 3ala rasy

Salah said...

من فوائد الصلاة أنها تنهى عن الفحشاء والمنكر كما يذكر لنا القرءان.

لكن هل الصلاة التي نصليها تنهانا بالفعل عن الفحشاء والمنكر؟

الجواب بالنسبة لكثير من الناس وانا واحد منهم هو لا

فكيف نفسر عدم تحقق ما تنبأت به الاية الكريمة كنتيجة حتمية للصلاة.

فاما الصلاة لا تنهى عن الفحشاء والمنكر واما أن صلاتي ليست صلاة

ولأني أؤمن أن القرءان صحيح ومنزه من أن يدخله الباطل

أعتقد أن صلاتي ليست صلاة.

هل استمراري عليها بشكلها الحالي يكفي لاصلاحها؟

أتمنى ولكن لا أعتقد

لأن المسألة تحتاج الى مجهود أكبر من الذي أبذله كل يوم.

بالنسبة للدعاة الجدد وكما تسمينهم رومانسيين. أعتقد أنهم يبسطون الأمور أكثر من اللازم!

تحياتي

elaine-ess said...

ana personally i started praying regularly at quite an older age (16/17) and i noticed that with praying, my day became organized and it lessened some fitan that we do (like bad talking people, or watching the 'bad laq6at' in movies) and as corny as it just sounds when i got into praying and performing other religious rituals, i did feel a sense of calm and protection

The Masquerader said...

g.e, esm7ely ba3liq 3ala comment ilakh salah,

اخوي صلاح، اول شي السلام عليك

انا معاك فعلا، من فوائد الصلاة تنهي عن الفحشاء والمنكر وهذا مثل ما ذكرت مذكور بالقرآن

ولكن، هذي مو الفايده الوحيده للصلاة

خلنا اول شي نفهم المعنى،

شنو يعني صلاة؟

يعني الصله بين شيّن او شخصين او ما الا ذالك

معنى جذي، انك بالخمس صلوات ملوتك قاعد تصل رب العالمين

فكر فيها جذي.

تخيل واحد من ربعك او شخص عزيز عليك يطق عليك باليوم ٥ مرات او يدز مسج باليوم خمس مرات

مو بيكون قريب منك اكثر؟ مو راح تقرب المسافه بينك وبينه؟

هذي فايدة الصلاة، انك تقرب المسافه بينك وبين رب العالمين، حتى لو انه على قولتك صلاتك مو صلاة وانك قاعد تخربط ومو قاعده تنهيك عن شي،

بس قاعد توصل رب العالمين، جنك قاعد اتطق عليه واتقرب منه ٥ مرات باليوم

وصدقني ياخوك كل ما تقربت المسافه بينك وبين الله سبحانه راح تقوى شخصيتك وتتضح عندك الامور وتصير انت بروحك بعقلك تنهي نفسك عن الفحشاء

بس السالفه يبيلها شويت وقت، حالها حال اي علاقه ثانيه، يبيلها وقت على ما تقوى وتوصل للمستوى المطلوب

يعني جنك توك متعرف على واحد، حتى لو بتكلمه ٥ مرات باليوم منت متقرب منه بيوم وليله

وبالنسبه لصلاتك، تره ياخوك اهي صلات وحده، مافيها هذا صح هذا غلط، وضوء ركوع سجود كلنا نعرفه، لذالك مثل ما قتلك المسأله يبيلها وقت وشوية ايمان لا اكثر ولا اقل

وانا اعتقد انك تملك الاثنين

Salah said...

The Masquerader:

بالتأكيد للصلاة فوائد كثيرة ولكن ذكرت مثال واحد فقط ويمكن سحبه على بقية العبادات.

ما قصدته هو عندما لا نجد الفائدة من العبادة، قد يكون السبب هو عدم اتقاننا لهذه العبادة أو قد يكون هناك سبب اخر نجهله.

في رأيي المتواضع يجب على المؤمن السعي لمعرفة القصور من خلال محاسبة النفس ومن خلال مراجعة ما يقوم به من طقوس!

وكلامك كله صحيح وشكرا على التذكير

:)

Ruby Woo said...

That's what my mom tells me. She never misses a prayer, and when she urges me to pray, she keeps on repeating that it's a habit.

I do believe that it is a habit, and with time you'll come to live with it..

eshda3wa said...

amen to that sister!

keeping up with rituals is HARD.
and most of the time oo lilasaf i feel its a burden, but i get up and do it anyways, sometimes only because i have to, because i believe i have to.... and sometimes simply because i want to, and that makes alll the difference

intlxpatr said...

I agree - it's a habit, and a discipline, and life runs more smoothly - for me, it is like plugging in. But I learned a long time ago not to look for feelings. Feelings change, commitment doesn't.

We are asked to be faithful. If I can even just to that, I am thankful.

lilacluv said...

I like this entry. Someone told me, fake it till you make it. Of course there is effects on doing it and not doing it. But have to do it, to realize it. Peace from Malaysia.