To have priorities in life is important and natural. All of us have them. All of us should think about and reflect our priorities. What is our main priority? Why is it our main priority? And what would we actually want to be our first priority in life? For many people, their priority is their work or their studies. For many others, it is their family, children, or friends. Ideally, we arrange our life according to our priorities.
Choose Between Class and Allah
When I studied in Germany after my conversion to Islam, Allah taught me what He wants my priorities to be. The prayer times in Germany are an interesting challenge throughout the year as in many other places in the Northern hemisphere. In summer, the day is extremely long and the night is very short. In winter it is the opposite. The day is short and the dark hours of the day are very long. It was in my first German winter after accepting Islam that I realized the tremendous importance of Islam and Allah in my life. The midday prayer, duhr, started at 12.30 p.m. and the afternoon prayer, asr, started at 1.35 p.m. That was just one hour to get my midday prayer done. However, I had class from 12 to 2 p.m. Alhamdulilah, Allah showed me that He was the most important priority in my life. There was no excuse. I had to go and meet Him, despite the interesting and heated discussions in class or the test that was conducted during class time. I stepped out of the classroom and onto my portable, mobile prayer room, my prayer carpet. I talked to my Lord, bowed down to Him and showed Him that He is my main and first priority in life.
Our Children or Prayer
The second example that illustrates the importance of getting our priorities straight is from one of my best friends. When she had her first baby, she told me, she often struggled with observing the prayer times. Her baby was screaming a lot and she had to carry him a lot. Whenever she put him down to try and pray, he would scream at the top of his lungs. She then did not pray and delayed her prayer. However, when the time for one particular prayer was almost up, she said, she just put her baby down and prayed. After 30 seconds into the prayer, the baby was asleep. Glory be to our most Merciful Creator. She later told me that it was during this time that she truly understood that her prayer and her connection with her Creator was the most important thing in her life. And that nothing can come between Him and her.
Created to Worship
There are many other examples that can be cited to illustrate the point. Being Muslim means to fully submit to Allah. It means to set our priorities straight. It means that Allah, His Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and His religion should naturally be our first priority. Why? Because we love Allah. We love His messenger and we love the religion He gifted to us. It is because of Allah that we feel peace and tranquility in our heart. It is because of Him that we are able to breath, eat, move, and live. Observing our five daily prayers should never be a burden on us. Rather, we should run towards it. It is a relief from the worldly life. It helps us to set our priorities straight. It constantly reminds us of what is really, truly important in this life. Allah created us for the purpose of worshiping Him. That’s it. That is our task. That is our purpose. Everything else comes after that. Every other responsibility, every other work, task, joy or hobby comes after we have fulfilled our main purpose in life. Realizing this can bring true calmness and submission in our life. It does not mean that we will forsake all of our other responsibilities. But, it reminds us that everything will pass. Our prayer helps us to understand the true purpose in life. Making our prayer our first priority, we submit ourselves and everything else to Him.
Allah Is In Control
Allah reminds us in Qur’an that our property and our children are a test for us (8: 28). He warns us against letting our wealth and children divert us from the remembrance of Allah (63: 9). When we remember to make our most Merciful Creator our first priority, we hand ourselves and our problems and responsibilities over to Him. When we put Allah and His religion first, everything else will fall into place. No matter what comes our way, we have our prayer, we have Allah to fall back on. We do not have to be able to manage, control, and understand everything. That is not our main purpose in this life. Allah is able to manage everything. He is in control and He understands everything. We just have to worship Him. May He guide all of us to perfect our prayers. Ameen.