From the Islamic Society of Kingston's newsletter, The Bond (May/June 2011)
Sikander Ziad Hashmi
The days are getting warmer and longer, the grass is getting greener and the nights are getting shorter.
And with the passing of each day, the Fajr and Isha prayers take a step towards each other, until the longest day of the year in the June. That’s when we’ll be offering Isha at its latest time of the year and Fajr at its earliest time.
For many of us, this change creates havoc for our sleep and many times, our Fajr prayer ends up being sacrificed, which is troubling because the Fajr prayer holds special importance.
Allah, the Exalted, says in the Qur’an:
“So establish the Prayer after the declining of the sun (from its zenith, for Zuhr and then `Asr) to the dusk of night (Maghrib and then `Isha) and the (Qur’anic) recitation of Fajr. Indeed, the (Qur’anic) recitation of Fajr is witnessed.” [Quran 17:78]
We learn from authentically transmitted ahadith that it is the angels that witness the recitation of the Fajr prayers.
Abu Hurairah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) said, "There are angels who take turns in visiting you by night and by day, and they all assemble at the dawn (Fajr) and the afternoon (`Asr) prayers. Those who have spent the night with you, ascend to the heaven and their Rubb (Lord), who knows better about them, asks: ‘In what condition did you leave My slaves?’ They reply: ‘We left them while they were performing Salat and we went to them while they were performing Salat.’'' [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
The importance of the Fajr prayer is also highlighted by the fact that its observance, along with that of the `Asr prayer (in addition to the observance of all the other obligatory prayers), is specifically mentioned as a means of protection against hellfire and entry into Paradise.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
“Whoever prays al-Bardaan (the two cooler prayers, meaning Fajr and `Asr) will enter Paradise.” [Reported by Bukhari and Muslim]
“Whoever performs the Salat (prayer) before the rising of the sun (Fajr) and before its setting (‘Asr), will not enter the Hell.” [Reported by Muslim]
The observance of Fajr prayer is also a source of Allah’s protection. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said:
"He who offers the dawn (Fajr) prayers will come under the Protection of Allah. O son of Adam! Beware, lest Allah should call you to account in any respect from (for withdrawing) His Protection.'' [Reported by Muslim]
Finally, the observance of the `Isha and Fajr prayers in congregation carries special merit – the reward of offering prayer for the entire night.
So then, what can we do to ensure we offer the Fajr prayer on time (before sunrise)?
Here are some tips:
- Head to bed immediately after `Isha prayer. Before doing so, recite the dua`a of sleeping (Allahumma bis mika amootu wa aHya), ayat-al-kursi (verse 255 of surat al-Baqarah) and surahs al-Ikhlas, al-Falaq, and an-Naas.
- Nap in the afternoon or evening if you’re having trouble getting enough sleep.
- Set multiple alarms on clocks and mobile phones, each one set for five minutes later than the previous one, and keep them out-of-reach so that they cannot be turned off without stepping out of bed.
- Resolve that you will not hit the snooze button and that you will resist the temptation to sleep for “a few more minutes.”
- Consider missing Fajr prayer a “big deal” and if that happens, force yourself to get up, make wudhu (ablution) and pray as soon as you remember.
- Feel regret for missing it and promise yourself to keep trying your utmost to wake up on time.
- Go to bed with the sincere intention of offering Fajr prayer in the morning.
- Finally, seek Allah’s assistance in granting you peaceful sleep and the ability to wake up for Fajr.
Imam Sikander Ziad Hashmi can be reached through his website at www.sikander.ca .