Years before becoming Muslim I used to stay in the home of a Muslim family. They exemplified all of the(superficial) cultural expressions of Islam, great food, traditional dress, language, but the home was spiritually empty. The prayer mats had as much dust as the Quran that sat out of reach on top of the bookshelf.
I remember coming into Islam and being confused, “Why would someone be Muslim and not pray?” I remember saying this aloud to a friend, needless to say they were embarrassed and our relationship became a bit rocky after that. However, my brain couldn’t compute.
It couldn’t compute hearing that the Prophet was brought up to the heavens itself and in the presence of God was given the gift of the 5 prayers. How then could someone who loves God, who loves the Prophet not love this gift?
It took me a few years to find the answer when someone told me, “It’s not that I don’t want to pray, but whenever I do, I don’t feel anything.”
I remember not knowing how to answer, I just remember feeling uncomfortable. I was uncomfortable because this person was a Muslim, from a Muslim family, had bought me an “Allah” chain and was going to the Lupe Fiasco concert with me (because I loved the fact that he was Muslim) and yet didn’t pray because they “didn’t feel anything.”
Years later I sat in a class and my teacher mentioned something that struck me.
“We don’t worship God for ourselves, we worship God because of Him.”
That was it.
It was literally that simple for me, so simple in fact that I couldn’t explain it prior to hearing this. I was surrounded by “the religion is one of ease,” to the point where just a tad bit of inconvenience had rendered the prayer useless or unwanted by the people around me.
I can only speak for myself when I say that it’s not always convenient, and very seldom do I feel anything special after I’ve prayed. . .but there is one thing that I do know beyond doubt, my Lord is worthy.
And that’s all that matters to me. What about you?
Rajab 25th, 1440
April 1st, 2019
Arthur K. Richards