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Lessons from Scenes in Ramadaan: Longer Qiyaam

Lessons from Scenes in Ramadaan: Longer Qiyaam

“Huff!” someone sighed loudly over the imam’s recitation. The mosque was small, the prayer area was crowded, and the atmosphere was stuffy. The room was getting hot and people were getting agitated and tired. The imam’s recitation was dwindling, it seemed even he was exhausted from the long fast. Sounds of yawning and shifting could be heard as people were already ‘bored’ of Taraweeh. We had barely just begun, only 4 rakaah’s in! The congregation was lousy, their lines were wonky and their shoulders drooped from fatigue. They barely concentrated on the words of Allah. They merely waited for the moment they had to respond.
“Ameeeeen!” they all chimed with the imaam, when he completed surah Fatihah. This is one of the liveliest parts of Taraweeh, everyone eager to make their voices heard, to have their ‘Ameen’ coincide with the ‘Ameen’ of the angels. Yet as soon as it was over, people seemingly feel asleep again. They shifted on their feet, bumping those next to them. They subconsciously counted the minutes until the imaam would say “Allahu Akbar” indicating the next part of the salaah. Once in ruku’ they would hurriedly mumble the words, “Subhana Rabbi al Atheem” and impatiently wait for the imaam to say “Allahu Akbar.” So impatient are they, they often rise before the imaam! Then they would all rush into sujood banging their knees on the ground with a loud ‘thump!’

Yes, this scene is exaggerated; but often this is the case. As much as we want to pray and gain Allah’s rewards there are etiquettes for praying; beginning with lining up straight. Anas ibn Malik narrated that the Prophet (Saw) said, “Straighten your rows, for straightening the rows is a part of perfecting the prayer.” (Bukhari and Muslim) Moreover we are standing before Allah, Lord of the worlds, should we not line up properly; the way the angels do?

Secondly, we should not pray if we are tired, because we will not have any concentration or khushu’. The Prophet (Saw) said, “if anyone of you feels drowsy when praying, let him sleep, so that (when he gets up) he knows what he is reciting.” (Bukhari) So, if you are unable to keep still in Taraweeh, and you feel drowsy; take a nap, either before going to Taraweeh, or delay your taraweeh and pray qiyaam al layl later in the night. When we pray, we are talking to Allah, and He listens and responds. With each verse of surah Fatihah that we recite, Allah answers us. However, if we are repeating like parrots… well there is no need to explain. We should stand before Him with humility and not be impatient. We should focus on our words and actions within the salaah, whether we are hot, cold, tired or hungry.
Thirdly, rising before the imaam. This is a big no-no. The imaam should have risen or bowed first, before we make a move. The Prophet (Saw) said “do not bow until he bows, and do not prostrate until he prostrates. Does the one who raises his head before the imaam not fear that Allah may turn his head into the head of a donkey or turn his form like that of a donkey?” This is a severe warning from the Prophet (Saw) and we should do our best, to follow the imaam and not lead him!

I forgot to mention the du’aa in witr. That’s another part everyone waits for. Holding their hands up high, and begging Allah for forgiveness. When it comes to du’aa people often forget that they are tired, sweaty or uncomfortably positioned. This is from the blessings of Allah, and throughout our Taraweeh we should be such; unconcerned with the ache in our feet, or the sleep that makes our eyelids heavy, or the heat of the room. We should devote our full attention to our Taraweeh, and should not be distracted from it, especially during the last ten nights when we are searching for Layla tul Qadr. A night better than a thousand nights, during which we may be saved from the hellfire and have all our sins forgiven. May Allah make it easy for us, and may He allow us to witness Layla tul Qadr and benefit from it!
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