I don’t know why, but I am always in a rush. I always feel like I’m behind in getting to one thing or another. It’s always about getting to the next thing, even when there isn’t really any reason to race the clock. Maybe it has something to do with our American culture of getting things done, maybe its a personality trait, regardless, I’m always in a hurry.
Unfortunately, my prayer has not been spared. I rush to make wudu (better yet if I have it already from some ambiguous ‘before’). I rush to start, up down up down up down, tashahud. All done. I read shorter suwar or duaa. I rush to be done with the whole thing. I get up quickly, stash my prayer clothes away and run off to the next errand. I rush even if there really is no rush; even if after prayer all I do is sit there and surf the internet on my cell. It’s like rushing has become part of the ritual. How fast can you get it done?!
I’m not talking about the I-have-to-leave-in-the-middle-of-class-to-catch-prayer scenario. I mean when you have it easy; when there really isn’t much going on or the thing you’re going to do next isn’t so time sensitive. There’s this feeling that this prayer thing that I do is a mandatory chore that must be done in order to be done. . It’s not associated with deep feelings of spirituality and conversation.
The whole point of prayer is slowing dowwwwwwnn. It’s a time to pull yourself out of the routine and into a spiritual experience that energizes you. Rushing in prayer not only compromises its purpose but it can even lead to its invalidation. What’s the point of praying if you’re just hurrying to do the next thing after it. How spiritually uplifting can the experience be if all you want to do is get it done and cross it off the to do list?!!
The Prophet (s) alluded to this when he mentioned that a person who ‘pecks’ in his prayer is like a hungry man who only eats a few dates, what good will that do his hunger? Our souls get hungry. They need their own sustenance just as our bodies and minds do. When I rush through my prayer I’m barely giving myself enough to hold over until the next prayer. If I was physically hungry and had plenty of food in front of me, would I take just a few bites? Why do I feel like I can do that to my soul? If there is no physical urgency waiting for me, why rush through my prayers? If I’m really looking for soul solace in my prayer then, it should be the thing I’m rushing to, not from.
My goal then is to simply give more time to my prayer. Nothing too lofty really, but instead of thinking that I need to finish my prayer asap, I want to think ‘I have all time I need to prayyy’.