When I began to practice Islam, I couldn’t pray Salah (obligatory prayer). The idea of formally praying was daunting. I didn’t see myself praying in the formal sense. I started my pursuit toward Islam by making small commitments. I read the Quran (in English) every night before I went to bed. I lifted my hands toward the dingy ceilings of my bedroom, the room that I’ve spent the entirety of my childhood in and now the first half of my adulthood. I believed that these small practices were enough.
And I was right; at that point in my life, they were just what I needed. When people are approaching a life a spirituality, we often throw many things at them all at once. We fill their heads with unattainable expectations, and we forget that we were once at a beginning point. My small acts of devotion were good stepping stones to my spiritual development.
These are the rules I live by. I believe in the power of consistency. I think about who I was at the point in which I started my pursuit toward spirituality. I knew I believed in a supreme force, I just wasn’t sure about the way that I wanted approach it all. I spent time analyzing different traditions and finally came back to Islam. I wasn’t sure where to begin, so I promised myself that I wouldn’t go to sleep without reading the Quran that I had got from Barnes and Noble.
I was 13 years old, reading an older translation of the Quran. Trying my absolute best to understand the tongue-tying, almost Shakespearean English that was laid out in front of me every night. I had limited my spiritual practice to this nightly vigil. I didn’t even want to think about praying. The thought of Salah made my stomach turn because I was afraid of this commitment.
When people are approaching a life a spirituality, we often throw many things at them all at once. We fill their heads with unattainable expectations, and we forget that we were once at a beginning point.
I guess what I’m trying to relay is that it’s okay to start small. When Islam was revealed to our Beloved Prophet (pbuh), there was no formal Salah at first. The early Muslim community focused unlearning prejudices and practices that were detrimental to their spiritual selves before they were given the Salah. Today, I look at Salah as a mercy to me. There are times when I miss prayers, there are times where my Salah is filled with flaws but I constantly remind myself that this is my spiritual journey and Allah SWT has written it out for me to be exactly the way it is.
This month’s Dua:
Oh Allah, peel away the seal of sorrow from our hearts, adorn our spirits with flowers from Your garden, and usher us into the vastness of Your mercy. Ameen.
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