Main namaz nahin parhti. Bhool gayee hoon kaise parhte hain.
Lekin mujhe iss baat ki sharmindagi bhi buhut hai.
Ho sakta hai shaitan isi sharmindagi ko istimaal kar k mujhe namaz parhne se aur rok raha hai, aur yeh cycle isi tarha chal rahi hai.
Lekin mera bhi kuch kam qusoor nahin. What’s stopping me from saying my prayers? What’s stopping me from re-learning, especially when I know that the last time it took me hardly 3 days to re-learn.
Har roz main niyyat karti hoon k iss baar when I am home for the whole day, I will take out my class 9 Islamiyat book and see how prayers are said, and then will start saying my prayers. Come that day and I need to catch up on my sleep and do my laundry and what not. Come that night, the circle of guilty planning begins yet again. And there goes another week, another month, another season, another Ramadan.
Iss baar tou rozay bhi chhoot gayay thhay mujh se, I was not well at all, was on pills for blood deficiency and what not, couldn’t walk the length of my house from drawing room to bedroom without beginning to pant – i was basically 92. I kept telling myself I’ll pick up from the end of Ramadan once I get back into my routine of the workaholic life I love, running around, meeting fast approaching deadlines, getting work done. It din’t happen.
Part of the reason I do not pray is also the fact that I face a lot of contradiction in my mind about the balance which one can or must strike between, say, listening to music, and praying. I guess what I’m trying to say is that when I think of saying my obligatory prayers, I get ashamed of the Maliha who loves to sing, sings, loves to act, acts, hangs out with mixed sex company, covers her head not. And that when I say my prayers, or when I used to, I felt ashamed of this Maliha. And that when I sang, or acted, or laughed with a male friend, or wore clothes to look and feel good, I felt ashamed of the Maliha standing in the corner, eyeing me so intensley as if ripping my clothes off, questioning my lack of practice of saying my prayers.
Another reason I feel unable to pray was that I felt that I turned to prayer only when in trouble or pain. Only when I wanted something only He could give me. So part of my guilt also told me I had no right to pray when I pray only selfishly.
So the other day, after a million or so days of contemplation as to which road I should choose, as to whether there is a possible balance which I could strike, as to whether striking such a balance is the right way to go or not – I started talking to God. Every day I used to ask Him to make me stronger enough in my intention to be able to put it to practice. Every other day I asked Him to help me make room in my busy schedule for that Islamiyat book and its chapter on namaz.
It did not work. For a long time. While on the one hand shaitan is to be blamed, I am no less guilty. I allowed shaitan to keep me from my duty, from my right to worship whom I please.
But the guilt was killing me. So I tried to talk to God yet another time. And this time, He gave me an answer.
I asked him to make me pray. He guided me that praying is not something at odds with music, or with feeling happy, or with laughing. If nothing at all, it was a way of thanking Him for all that I have. And I have a lot.
I may not have my music classes, I may not have a family that understands and lets me understand that music or acting or taking time out formyself does not mean I’m an awara besharam larki in the wrong culture. But I have education, I have the ability to comprehend, I have the kind of family who would at least hear me out (the number of times and ways i need to talk to them is another issue), I have friends, I have information, I have passion.
And I am thankful to the One and Only – Allah.
And though I have yet not started saying my prayers, or picked up that Islamiyat book, I know I am one real strong and big step closer to that. I’m almost there, God, I’m almost there. I can do it, I promise You, but I can’t do it without you. So don’t take my life yet, grant me the opportunity to take the few mroe small steps left over, and make this part of my routine. I know it is for my own benefit.