Muslims are required to pray 5 times a day at fixed times.

During these prayers, they recite verses from The Noble Qur’an which is in Arabic.

The prayer positions include standing, bowing, prostrating and sitting.

After embracing Islam, I was wondering why I have to pray in this way.

I liked the idea of stopping our daily activities 5 times to communicate to Allah the Permanent who sustains everything.

But I kept fighting the need to recite rote lines in Arabic during prayer. It is not my native language and therefore reciting in that language doesn’t seem like it is from my heart.

The sitting position during prayer can be quite uncomfortable to someone who is not used to this way of praying.

Why would Allah want me to be so frustrated and be in difficulty when I’m trying to communicate with Him?

Wouldn’t it be better for me to get into a relaxed position and really speak from my heart?


We are all slaves of The Creator

We always fight the idea of being a slave to anyone because of our ego.

We never want to be lower to anyone or anything.

The truth is we are all slaves.

We don’t have a choice to be anything else.

The only thing we choose is WHO we serve!


Slaves of our ego

Most of us serve our ego (nafs).

Regardless of what we achieve (degree, senior position, high income), our nafs will constantly demand more.

Like a vicious salve master, our nafs will continue to press us to do or become this or that.

We think we are free.

We think we serve no one.

The truth is we are slaves to our egos until we choose to serve Allah instead.


Nafs as test

Our nafs can be a blessing or a curse.

It is our test. It can distance us from Allah or deliver us to Him.

It depends on what we choose.

If we remain trapped as slaves to the demands of our egos, then it will eventually lead to misery and unhappiness.

Every thought and action of ours will either strengthen our ego or tear it down.

Continuously chasing dreams, fulfilling urges and satisfying desires strengthen the ego.

Worshipping, fasting and disciplining the urges tame and diminish the ego.

If we learn to tame the ego, then it will become our ticket to our true freedom and happiness that will place us in the right path to the journey to Allah the Merciful.


Now I know that praying my way is serving the ego

Of course, Allah wants us to open our heart to Him. Worshipping Allah from the heart should be as natural as breathing air.

But that is different from the required daily prayers. If we only prayed when we liked to pray and in a manner that we preferred, then we are still serving our ego.


Serving Allah the Merciful

By requiring us to pray in a certain manner five times a day Allah has given us the formula for taming the ego.

Our convenience and comfort should not be the consideration in our daily prayers.

Obeying totally and unconditionally The Command of Allah the Merciful should be our only consideration.


Tough luck nafs!

Of course our nafs will be displeased when we ignore it and obey Allah instead.

It will complain and say to us, “Why must I pray this way? I don’t want to pray!

Our answer to the ego should be. “Well guess what, you are not the boss. Allah is my master and I serve Allah.

Making you happy is not my goal in life. Serving you will make me miserable.

Serving Allah is my true purpose and joy.

The daily prayers are to make sure that you (nafs) and I always remember my true goal!”

Our nafs will never be pleased regardless of how desperately we serve its needs.

Yet Allah is pleased with every effort.

Imagine the results if we gave Allah the attention and slave hood that we give to our egos every day.

Jihad is the struggle to control our nafs.

Now I know why jihad or the struggle against the enemy within is the most difficult and noble battle.

Welcome to the way of Allah that shows the way to tame your egos.

By Dr Y Mansoor Marican, Ph. D