The Importance of Waking up for Fajr Prayer
Bismillah al-Rahman al-Rahim
(In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful)
Some Muslims around the world have trouble waking up for Fajr, or morning prayer. However, few do not realize how important Fajr really is. The Qur'an and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) emphasizes the importance of waking up on time to pray the Fajr prayer but with the hustle and bustle of the modern world, some Muslims are still having trouble with this.
Allah's Messenger (pbuh) said, "During your sleep, Satan knots three knots at the back of the head of each of you, and he breathes the following words at each knot, 'The night is, long, so keep on sleeping,' If that person wakes up and celebrates the praises of Allah, then one knot is undone, and when he performs ablution the second knot is undone, and when he prays, all the knots are undone, and he gets up in the morning lively and in good spirits, otherwise he gets up in low spirits and lethargic." [Sahih Bukhari 3269]
How to pray Fajr (Sunni)
How to Pray Fajr (Shi'a)
Prayer is one of the pillars of Islam. As Muslims, we are commanded to pray five obligatory prayers. However, many Muslims have difficulty waking up in time for Fajr. Although all prayers are important, but the Prophet (pbuh) said, "No prayer is harder for the hypocrites than the Fajr and the `Isha' prayers and if they knew the reward for these prayers at their respective times, they would certainly present themselves (in the mosques) even if they had to crawl..." [Sahih Bukhari 657]
Some Muslims will either sleep through the alarm or hit snooze early in the morning. Others come up with excuses as to why they can't pray Fajr on time. And yes, although it is permissible to make up Fajr even after sunrise, the rewards are much greater for those who wake up to pray on time before the sun begins to illuminate the skyline. Even still, the rewards are increased more for those who wake up on time to pray Fajr (and Isha) in the masjid (mosque).
Abu Huraira said, "I heard Allah's Messenger (pbuh) saying, 'The reward of a prayer in congregation is twenty-five times greater than that of a prayer offered by a person alone. The angels of the night and the angels of the day gather at the time of Fajr prayer.' " Abu Huraira then added, "Recite the Holy Book if you wish, for "Indeed, the recitation of the Qur'an in the early dawn (Fajr prayer) is ever witnessed."(Surat Al-'Isra' 17:78) [Sahih al-Bukhari 648]
"...the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) say: He who observed the 'Isha' prayer in congregation, it was as if he prayed up to midnight, and he who prayed the morning prayer in congregation, it was as if he prayed the whole night." [Sahih Muslim 656a]
For some people, they whine about not getting enough sleep and think that sleep is better than prayer. How can this be? Prayer is better than sleep for those Muslims who fear Allah and seek to glorify Him in worship. Allah does not need us, but we definitely need Allah. Even in our kalima (shahada) it states, "la ilaha illallah" (there is none worthy of worship than Allah). So why would we defy what it is that Allah has commanded us to do?
It is also quoted that the Prophet (pbuh) said that "He who prayed the morning prayer (in congregation) he is in fact under the protection of Allah..." [Sahih Muslim 657a] It is also reported that the Prophet (pbuh) said: "Whoever offers the morning prayer, he is under the protection of Allah, so do not betray Allah by betraying those who are under His protection. Whoever kills him, Allah will seek him out until He throws him on his face into Hell." [Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah Hadith 3945]
It is also good to note that those who wake up and pray Fajr on time are more productive throughout the day than those who are not. However, some have no problem boasting about their work out and other mundane tasks but still ignore the value of salah (prayer). But as Mufti Menk said, "If you want to be strong, lift your blanket for Salat al-Fajr."
For a few Muslims, the thought of waking up early in the morning is not something they look forward too. However, it is very important to be awake on time to pray Fajr. The benefits outweigh the action of sleeping in or the discomfort of waking from a restful sleep. So what are some helpful tips to make sure you are awake in time to pray Fajr?
General Tips for Waking Up for Fajr
- Have sincere determination. This means truly be determined with your intent to wake up each day for Fajr. Don't have a lazy attitude about it. Constantly remind yourself of the rewards that come with praying Fajr on time.
- Go to sleep after praying Isha. It is reported in Sahih Bukhari 547 that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) disliked sleeping before Isha and disliked speaking after Isha. The reason behind this is because if you take a nap after Maghrib you may sleep through the night and miss Isha. Also, if you stay up at night whether in conversation or whatever, you may be too tired to wake up on time for Fajr. However, the permissible exception is if you stay up studying the Qur'an or other Islamic topics to increase your knowledge. But you still run the risk of oversleeping.
- Set your alarm clock away from your bed. Do not press the shaitan button (snooze) and get back in your bed. Seriously, if you don't want to get up when the alarm goes off, what makes you think you will want to 5, 10, or 15 minutes later? If you have problems waking to an alarm, set several alarm clocks.
- Drink plenty of water before going to sleep. If your alarms won't wake you up, perhaps your bladder and the urgency to urinate will. Of course, if you have bladder issues this may not something wise to do.
- Don't eat right before going to sleep. This will just make you more tired and want to sleep longer instead of wanting to wake up in the morning. Wait at least 2 hours between eating and going to bed.
- Have a Fajr buddy. This means having someone or several people call you to help you wake up. Families work together to help each other wake up for Fajr. Hold each other accountable. In other words, help each other benefit from the rewards of Fajr by giving each other reminders. Probably a good idea to choose people who already have no problems with waking up for Fajr. "...And cooperate in righteousness and piety, but do not cooperate in sin and aggression. And fear Allah ; indeed, Allah is severe in penalty." [Surat Al-Ma'ida 5:2]
How often do you wake up on time for Fajr?
Spiritual Tips for Waking up for Fajr
Avoid sins, both major and minor sins. This will help keep you motivated to continue pleasing Allah. Also, don't let minor sins accumulate. This will just weigh you down and influence you to do more things that are NOT pleasing to Allah.
Keep a constant reminder of the virtues and rewards of Fajr close to your bed so that you will have a constant reminder of why Fajr is so important. Suggested hadiths include:
Wudu before going to bed at night. In Sahih Bukhari 247, it is reported that the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said, "Whenever you go to bed perform ablution like that for the prayer..." This is because if you don't wake the next morning, you would have died with faith.
Make sincere intentions with dua before bed asking Allah to give you the strength to wake up the next morning for Fajr prayer. Also say "Subhanallah, Alhamdulillah, la ilaha illallah, Allahu Akbar" 33 times before going to sleep.
Recite Ayatul Kursi before going to sleep. "When you go to your bed, recite Ayat-al-Kursi, (Surat al-Baqarah 2:255) for then there will be a guard from Allah who will protect you all night long, and Satan will not be able to come near you till dawn." [Sahih Bukhari 5010]
"Allah - there is no deity except Him, the Ever-Living, the Sustainer of [all] existence. Neither drowsiness overtakes Him nor sleep. To Him belongs whatever is in the heavens and whatever is on the earth. Who is it that can intercede with Him except by His permission? He knows what is [presently] before them and what will be after them, and they encompass not a thing of His knowledge except for what He wills. His Kursi extends over the heavens and the earth, and their preservation tires Him not. And He is the Most High, the Most Great." [Surat Al-Baqarah 2:225]
Upon Waking Up
When your alarm goes off, sit up without delay. It is Sunnah to rub your face with your right hand and say "Subhanallah". Subhanallah translates to "Glory be to God." How befitting it is to start your day off with praises to Allah for allowing you another day to worship Him in this world and do more good deeds.
Then immediately go to wudu. Once that water hits your face, it will help you wake up. Don't delay this process. If the water is unbearably cold, many people today are fortunate enough to warm it up a little and for that say, "Alhamdulillah" (Thanks be to God).
Recite the last ten ayat (verses) of Surat 'Ali `Imran 3:190-200. You can also recite various morning duas. This will help you fully come out of your groggy sleep state and thank Allah for another day because it is only by His will that you are alive.
There are so many things that would help you wake up for Fajr. For some people, it is more about creating a personal routine. Once you establish a good routine and habits, especially based on Sunnah, you will find that waking up for Fajr is like second nature.
If you aren't used to waking up for Fajr but are sincere about doing so, understand that for some this will take time for it to come with ease. Don't become discouraged. Have faith and remember not only are their great rewards from Allah that come with praying Fajr on time, it will also help to increase your iman and taqwa throughout the day.
© 2014 Linda Sarhan. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form or by any means without prior written permission of the author.
© 2014 L Sarhan