The Importance of Fajr Prayer
Allah is keeping you connected to Him through your desire to worship Him and your regret when you falter, but showing you that this connection doesn’t come without effort and yearning on your part. In the end, every step we are enabled to take towards Him is really only because of His divinely-gifted ability (tawfiq) that He blessed us with.
In terms of trying to ensure that one wakes up to pray fajr, there are three types of things one can do: 1) physical, 2)mental and 3) spiritual.
In order to make the effort to rise for fajr, the first thing we must do is understand the great status this prayer time holds, both as a time of the day, and amongst the five obligatory prayers.
The Importance of the Fajr Prayer
In the Qur’an, Allah Most High says:
“So establish the Prayer after the declining of the sun [from its zenith, for Dhuhr and then Asr] to the dusk of night [Maghrib and then ‘Isha] and the [Quranic]recitation of Fajr [prayer]. Indeed, the [Quranic] recitation of Fajr is witnessed.” [al-Quran 17:78]
The meaning of witnessed here means that both the angels of [previous] night and the angels of the [new] morning intently listen to the Fajr prayer being recited aloud because of its great status and virtue. [al-Suyuti, Tafsir al-Jalalayn]
The Messenger of Allah (Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him) has said:
“Whoever performs the Prayer before the rising of the sun [Fajr] and before its setting [‘Asr], will not enter the Hell.” [Muslim]
“Whoever prays the two cooler prayer times (i.e., Fajr and `Asr) will enter Paradise.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
Ibn ‘Allan comments on that Fajr and ‘Asr were specified since they are two times when one can easily miss the prayer: whether they are lost in sleep during Fajr, or engrossed in trade and work at ‘Asr. It is understood that the one who prays these two, usually prays all five daily prayers.
Finally, the reward mentioned in the hadith indicates that the one who regularly prays Fajr and ‘Asr can be expected to have a good ending to their life: that they die upon faith as a Muslim. Which of us would not be eager to rise for the Fajr prayer if we truly understood the benefits: a death on faith and eternal success? [Ibn ‘Allan, Dalil al-Faliheen]
Some Warnings About Missing the Fajr Prayer
There are also warnings mentioned regarding missing the Fajr prayer. The Prophet [Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him] said:
“The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are ‘Isha and Fajr [AM: because they prefer the comfort of sleep to prayer], but if they only knew what they contain, they would come even if they had to crawl.” [Ahmad]
“Whoever prays the dawn prayer [Fajr], then He is under Allah’s protection. So beware, O son of Adam, that Allah doesn’t call you to account for being absent from His protection for any reason.” [Muslim]
If the rewards do not convince us, once we understand the seriousness of going about our day without Allah’s protection around us for the day in which we missed Fajr, that should push us to make every effort to wake up the next morning, and keep trying, until we establish its observance as a habit.
Some Practical Steps to Waking Up
There are many different techniques to try to wake up for Fajr. They vary from person to person, depending on what prevents a person from waking up.
There are various physical preparations: 1) winding down before bed and sleeping early, 2) setting multiple alarms out of one’s immediate reach, 3) simplifying one’s bedding, 4) drinking ample water so one is forced to the washroom, or 5)having a family member or friend wake you up when they rise. These are some of the main suggestions, of which sleeping early is perhaps the most common remedy.
Then, there are mental preparations: 1) before bed, visualizing oneself rising, washing and praying, 2) telling the mind with firm resolve before bed that there is an important appointment at Fajr that one must attend [with Allah], or 3) warning the mind beforehand that the body will indeed be tempted to close its eyes “for just a few more minutes” when the alarm rings- and not to give in to it.
Finally, there are the spiritual preparations: 1) filling the heart with the importance and love for praying Fajr and the fear of missing it, 2) begging Allah Most High before bed for the ability to wake up the following morning, 3) a feeling deep-seated regret and sadness if one misses it and immediately making it up, and 4) trying to avoid other major sins in one’s life and repenting from them to try to gain divine assistance [tawfiq].
If one accidentally misses Fajr however, while they should feel regretful, they should never feel despair and hopelessness such that they feel dissuaded from trying to wake up the next morning, since it is a sign that they were relying on themselves, and not on Allah Most High as they should be.
The Reality of Fajr
Few people find it hard to wake up if there is a plane to catch the next morning, or a lucrative job interview. This is because we are so desirous to take that trip or get that job, so our eyes open with vigor when the alarm rings. Some people might awaken even before the alarm, due to their anticipation.
The only reason this does not happen as often for Fajr is because we haven’t attached the same importance to the Hereafter as we have attached to our worldly lives. Our awe and sense of duty to Allah Most High might be weaker than our desire for the ephemeral things around us.
Those who are attached to Allah, however, see Fajr as more important than the rest of the day’s affairs put together, and so they find it easy to rise to worship their Lord, in submission and gratitude. They then find peace from this, which spurs them to rise again, in a positive cycle. Thus, its about breaking bad cycles and establishing good ones.
May Allah Most High make us all among those who rise and pray Fajr easily and consistently, out of submission and gratitude.
By: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani