Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Someone asked: I have been having trouble getting to the salats on time and doing them consistently. Do you have any suggestions?

Answer: Try to perform them as soon as the time enters, and remember that not praying within the prescribed time is an enormous sin. Praying on time is something that protects one from blasphemy, it is like a fortress wall. If you leave the prayer, you remove that wall and Allah might punish you by letting you fall out of Islam. In general, performing obligations protects you from blasphemy, while performing sunnah worship* protects you from missing obligations. Performing worship that is optional, but less in rank than a sunnah, protects one from missing the sunnah.

*A sunnah worship is something that is not a sin to leave but that the Prophet (may Allah raise his rank) did consistently.

Someone asked: I have for a period of time fallen away from doing salats and would like to make them up but don't know how many. I became a Muslim two years ago and have not had much teaching in terms of deen, only online, and just recently I have begun to practice with a community.

Answer: You must make sure that you pray those that you missed, i.e. if you are not sure whether you missed 7 or 8 Thuhr prayers, then you must pray 8. By the way, make sure to find a trustworthy teacher to guide you. Simply reading on one's own is not enough, especially as a novice.