To the casual observer, I appear suave in my salaat, I seem to be in it effortlessly and seldom forget it even though I maybe traveling.

No one knows of the war going on inside me every moment of my waking hours and the daily jihad I wage to conquer my Nafs and the whisperings of the Shaitan just to fulfill my five daily prayer with Khushoo and love.

My work begins at night when after Ishaa, I start to build my barricades for the night, against Shaitaan. One by one the lines of Ayat-el Kursi leave my lips and a barricade is up. I follow this with the four Quls, remembering to read one each for my closest loved ones, in case they forgot, including the ones in the grave.

Sometimes I pause to wonder why do I read the Qul for him, he is already dead, no harm can come to him, he is inshallah in Jannah. Then one night I pray to Allah Could you show me Tariq if he is in good condition, and I awake the next morn dreamless. The waswasahs and anxieties are gnawing at my heart and mind and I have to restart my jihad with some istighfaar & durood (salawaat) on the tasbeeh and perhaps two nafil of istigfaar.

The most serious war is waged on me in the mornings. Sometimes I am victorious. At other times something has happened, a friend died, I am bereft all over again and I cannot get out of bed, the alarm rings and I put it on snooze, till I am reminded of Sheikh Magroubi’s words “salaat is the treatment, you need the treatment when you are sick, you should not wait to get the treatment when you get well” so I force myself to get up. While my collective nafs continues to suggest that “ I am too belabored by grief, why not just rest this one morning”, and thus goes the morning conversation on the days when my jihad is weak.

The next onslaught on my barricades against Shaitan occurs around Dhuhr, but that one is easy to defend as I have time built into my patient schedule and thus I pray Dhuhr usually without being attacked by my nafs or Shaitan, Infact in the middle of the afternoon, dhuhr comes like an oasis in the middle of the desert a sanctuary from every worry of dunya. Sometimes I even manage to read some adkaars.

As I rise from the musallah, I feel guilty. The note from my dear friend from South Africa peeks out from under the tasbeeh. I know what it says, it is her prescription for me, “read one ruqu of the Quran after Dhuhr”, the whisperings tell me I have no time for that and that I must get back to the patients and I do. My battlements have been weakened.

It is now evening and Asr in the summer has a long stretch and I feel the catapult of Shaytaan working on the wall of my will. As I wind down the office work and think about praying Asr before I leave, the whisperings urge me to go home, where I can pray in a relaxed manner and can even pray the evening adkaars.

I listen to them as the battlements of my heart weaken. I enter my home and I realize I have to cook dinner, as nothing is ready and I can perhaps pray after dinner is ready. I start to cook and I can feel the battlements falling and my will to pray being crushed under it till it is knocked unconscious as I become engrossed in the preparation of the evening meal.

As I look outside I realize that the sun will set shortly. I rush to wudu and hurriedly pray asr, and return to complete the cooking of dinner and setting it up. I am reminded that Prophet Muhammad PBUH particularly warned us to guard the asr salaat, I now understand why.

As Maghrib approaches I eat with the sense that soon I have to pray Maghrib and sometimes I do, but sometimes my inner warriors are lulled into conversation and I see the night falling rapidly and I rush to wudu and pray.

On the days when I am winning my daily jihad, I have everything done on time and at Maghrib I silently disappear into my prayer room where my glass of water, my tajweedi Quran and my notes await me.

I begin my Maghrib with a state of expectation of timelessness. The fard prayer and reciting the surahs aloud never fails to surprise me as I listen with wonder how Allah SWT has loosened my tongue and the words of Allah roll from my lips and their meaning is echoed in my heart.

Ending the salaat with Ayat el Kursi, sometimes I make my duas for my parents, for my dear Aunt, my child, my brother and my child’s friends and some others right away and sometimes I wait and defer my duas till the end of this magical time of surreal spirituality that has descended on me at Maghrib.

On the recommendation of my dear longtime friend F I then read Surah Fatiha three times and come to my favorite part of the day………..As I open the Quran and turn to Ayah 55 and begin the first words of Surah Rahman, the last moan of Shaytaan tells me he is vanquished and next to him lies my nafs weakened atleast for now.

I love the repetition of the question from Allah to the reader………….On completion I read the four quls, make dua for Shifa for myself and friends and family and drink the water in three gulps as is prescribed in the sunnah.

Sometimes …..I go on and read other sections from the Quran as my Nafs and Shaitaan lie vanquished and are no longer bothering me. At other times I am reminded that I have not cleaned the kitchen and that perhaps I need to check my email and when that does not work then the guilt that I am not spending the evening with my husband…….and so I go on to my next chore dictated by my nafs or guilted into by the whisperings…..

When I am traveling and have to renew my wudu, I hesitate in the airport bathrooms, the whisperings tell me to defer….people are watching you, you don’t have time, you might miss your flight etc etc ………and just when I am convinced, I think, “what if I die in a plane crash? My body will be borne by angels who will hold their noses because of the smell coming from me because I am wudu less…..” this thought reinforces my jihad and vanquishes my opponents and I begin my wudu in the airport restroom.

I don’t know about you, but every day is a new challenge for me. The five prayers may come easy to you, but for me just when I think I have reached the point of spirituality where entering into salaat is effortless, I am faced with new challenges.

For me it is a daily jihad to overcome my nafs, Shaitan and distractions to attempt to pray the way he (PBUH) prayed.

How about you?

11 thoughts on “MY DAILY JIHAD

  1. Please do share it on your blog and provide a link to mine, not because I want to claim it as intellectual property because it all belongs to Allah but because in seeking one thing we sometimes find something else which is more beneficial for that moment.
    It is almost Iftaar time and then the mystery night which may be lailatul qadr is beginning, so I am signing of. May Allah guide us and keep us Saadiq


  2. Believe it or not, I am like stuck to ur blog (its past midnight and I cant close my laptop). This article is so inspiring and strong, subhanallah. I am most humbly asking ur permission to share it on my blog. referring to ur blog, off course.

    many many warm salams


  3. AsalmuAlaikum. I’m not alone!
    Your day is pretty much identical to mine.
    This weak banging at shaitan and my own evil can seem pointless. But i’m sure they are cracking (shaitan/nafs = idol). Just like us they are putting on a brave face. The opening will come and the idol will break. Then chunks will fall off and we will smile.

    response from asqfish: Inshallah! It is encouraging to view our efforts of our daily jihad as eventually freeing us from the shaitaan and find freedom and smiles.

    May Allah reward you for encouraging all of us who are still struggling.


  4. Walaikum Asalaam, I like your idea of “professional muslim” where we do our salaat in the most professional manner, and Islam is the “field” What a wonderful example!
    Jazaaik Allah hu Khairan.


  5. Assalamu’alaikum,

    It’s true, the hardest jihad is to fight our own nafs (ego). Everyday, we face it and for me sometimes i win but sometimes i lose. I just never give up do my best to be a ‘professional’ muslim. ‘Professional’ muslim means : shalat in time, and do what are obligatories as best as can be, you know like a carreer women…he he…but in this case islam is the field.
    Now, here, maghrib is 21:55, isha time is 23:35 …it’s really a challenge for us here 🙂
    First time may be hard, but we adapt well after. Just duas to Allah to make everything easy to do.



  6. Dear Sister,
    It is a jihad as you have mentioned. I have further problems. My mind seems to travel at supersonic speed darting from thought to thought when I am praying. The ayats are coming from my lips but my mind is some where else. Again and again I have jolt myself to the salat. The thoughts are mostly of ordinary things, and lately almost always small things from the past about my son. Can you or any of your readers give me a solution.


  7. Definately a jihad. I promise Allah(swt) certain things and I fail and give into my nafs then I feel so empty .You know I am grateful that our Creator is Allah subhanawata’lah. Had we been governed by peope like us, they would judge our sins in way that forgiveness would seem like a impossible thing.
    May Allah make us strong in our imaa’n and let us stay qaim on it.


  8. asqfish, I am very proud of you and the painful journey you have valiantly struggled with. I know it is a very difficult time, but you have the emotional strength and faith that will triumph over any adversary. Please know that you have many friends who support you and wish you inner peace and happiness 🙂


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