salam sisters n brothers Fajr Prayer The fajr (dawn) prayer is amongst the most important acts of worship, being one of the five obligatory prayers. Unfortunately many of us have become so used to missing it at its prescribed time – which ends at sunrise - that we have forgotten its position in our religion, and barely feel anything is wrong when we wake up in the morning for work or school without having performed the fajr prayer. On the other hand, if one of us was to miss a job interview or a flight, we all know how disappointed he or she would feel. Therefore I thought I’d prepare this article as a reminder to myself first, then to all my brothers and sisters. Muslims should know the great status of fajr in the sight of Allah. Allah (SWT) says (interpretation of the meaning) “Establish regular prayers at the sun's decline till the darkness of the night, and the recital of the Qur’an in the fajr prayer, for the recital of the fajr is witnessed” (Al-Israa 17:7 In addition, the Prophet (PBUH) said: “Whoever prays the fajr prayer in congregation, it is as if he (or she) had prayed the whole night long.” [Muslim & Tirmidhi]. Now, to show the seriousness of missing this prayer, we present the Hadeeth of the Prophet (PBUH) “The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are ishaa and fajr, but if they only knew what they contain, they would come even if they had to crawl.” [Ahmad] The practical aspect of dealing with the problem includes a number of steps which we can take in order to get used to praying fajr regularly in congregation: Having a sincere intention and being determined, when going to sleep, that you will get up for fajr Remembering Allaah as soon as you wake up. Allah's Apostle (PBUH) said, "During your sleep, Satan knots three knots at the back of the head of each of you, and he breathes the following words at each knot, 'The night is long, so keep on sleeping.' If that person wakes up and remembers Allah, then one knot is undone. When he (or she) performs ablution (wudu) the second knot is undone. And when he (she) prays, all the knots are undone, and he (she) gets up in the morning lively and in a good mood, otherwise he (she) gets up dull and gloomy." [Bukhary] Sleeping early. According to an authentic Hadeeth, the Prophet (PBUH) used to dislike sleeping before ishaa and talking after it. The kind of talk that is discouraged in this case, as the commentators explain, is that in which there is no clear benefit. However, if it is for good reason, such as studying, speaking to a guest, or spending time with one’s family, then there is nothing wrong with it. This has no connection with the reasons for which many people stay up late nowadays, to do wrong and commit sins. Family members should encourage one another, and likewise roommates sharing the same apartment. If you know a friend who normally wakes up on time, ask him or her to give you a call at prayer time. I have been using this technique on and off for quite some time now, and have found it to be extremely effective. If you find that you switch off the alarm clock then go back to sleep, you might want to place it a few feet from your bed. This way you will actually have to get up and walk to the clock in order to turn it off. Try using an alarm clock with the snooze feature. Avoid eating too much before going to bed. Overeating makes you fall into a deep, heavy sleep. Finally, true devotion to Allah is the best thing to motivate a person to get up for prayer, because Allah alone controls all means of help. I ask Allah Almighty to facilitate this prayer for us, and to guide us to what pleases Him.