Written by: Kendall A. | Umm Iman
One of my spiritual goals has always been to be a person of prayer. For me, this means: being a person who truly finds peace, comfort, and contentment in the salah; developing concentration and connection in the salah; fulfilling the salah at the earliest timing with a fresh wudhu and use of the miswak; and having a strong tawwaqul that everything in my life is truly from Allah swt and really utilizing dua for this purpose. This is a lofty goal that I have yet to approach, and I would be putting up a front if I said that I am even fraction of the way in meeting this expectation for myself. Alhumdulilah we are given five opportunities a day to attempt to see the reality of this goal, at least once in a lifetime as laypeople. What I would like to do is to establish this goal not only for myself, but also for my family–for us to be a family of prayer, in sha Allah.
Rabata’s Pilgrims @ Home Challenge helped me in creating an ibadah routine where I felt that making active progress toward this goal was possible. I enjoyed learning about the additional types of prayers that I can engage in on a daily, weekly, and monthly level beyond the fard and sunnah prayers. I felt particularly encouraged one night when my daughter woke up and decided to join me for tahajjud prayer. This gave me encouragement that with consistency and follow through, we can become the family of prayer that I envision. It is my hope that in my prioritization of prayer, my children will find me in that state and see how important it is. I created an accountability page for myself to get started slowly by committing to one extra act of ibadah per day with the intention of increasing that to two extra acts, three, etc., until all of them become daily habits, in sha Allah. I fully recognize that this is a lifetime goal and not something that I will ever just arrive at. The salient point here is truly believing in the adage that “what we water, grows.”
In terms of involving my children in that process, I don’t ever want salah or any type of worship to feel like a burden, boring, or forced upon them. My approach here is to invite them to join me, share how much Allah swt loves to hear from them in salah, and offer lots of cuddles around the completion of salah, because I want them to have fond and pleasant memories of acts that are meant to connect us with Allah. One tip that was shared with me from a friend was that she had a rule in her house that whenever one of the parents was praying, the children were expected to join. I think that this is a nice expectation and encouragement, because if I am praying beyond the fard salah, this “rule” would encourage the children to develop the habit of making additional prayers, and in sha Allah, that would become a habit that is carried into their later lives as well.
Again, as a family and as an individual, we are not anywhere close to where I want for us to be as of yet in wearing or fully embracing this title of being a “family of prayer;” however, it is something that I want to really invest time into and invite other families to do as well. Anse Tamara Gray speaks frequently of the benefits of tahajjud prayer, and if this is something that I can instill in my children from a young age, I believe it would be a beautiful revival of the sunnah and gift for both the dunya and akhira in ensuring their success.