I Thought I Had Prayed Fajr
As taken from text messages with a friend.
And so the story goes:
Once I woke up confused as to whether or not I had prayed Fajr that morning. I was semi-certain that I had gotten up, performed wudhu, and prayed. I had heard of people that had dreamed dreams so convincing that they thought they had prayed Fajr when they hadn’t, and always shook my head in disbelief as to how that could happen to someone.
That morning I stared long and hard at the position of my prayer mat on my bedroom floor, and, thinking back to praying Isha the night before and how I left my mat afterwards, I sadly concluded that I had missed Fajr prayer while in the land of dreams.
Missing Fajr was sad enough, but the significance of my mistake was what upset me more. The fact that I could be unsure about something so special, intimate and important was ridiculous to me.
Fajr is something we are supposed to pray every single day of our lives. We wake up before sunrise and dedicate our first action of the new day to Allah.
The spiritual value of Fajr is indescribable: it is a mark of a true believer, it determines whether or not we have a good start to our day, it is a blessed time to recite the Qur’an, and the two voluntary units of prayer before it have immense value and rewards, among other blessings and benefits.
It is a time of closeness with Allah, newly awake and undistracted from a busy world’s thoughts, and often a time when the world is asleep, but we are blessed with the opportunity to spend this moment with the Lord of the Universe.
For this reason, to think we have prayed Fajr just because we could imagine going through some motions is alarming. Worshipping Allah is something that requires our active and intentional presence. It should stir our hearts, bring tears to our eyes, and stimulate our minds with thoughts of His Majesty and Oneness. If we don’t experience these things, that means we’re not doing it right.
The fact that we do it every single day is supposed to highlight its spiritual significance, and give us the chance to renew our connection with him again and again. The opposite of that is for it to become a mindless habit that we perform with so little connection that we can imagine we’ve done it without having done so.
We should feel that we haven’t prayed Fajr if our hearts haven’t been calmed by our first meeting of the day with Allah. We should notice it by the lack of reflection on what we read from the Qur’an during the prayer. We should be able to mark an emptiness by missing having asked Him for our heart’s desires in sujood and dua.
So when Fajr turns into a task among tasks that we can simply tick off our list without thinking, it begs the question: what have we gained?
Are we fulfilling the reason we pray in the first place?