Namaaz Deconstructed

August 21, 2016

Words Fatema 
Photograph Sakina


“Namaaz par! Nai pare to gunah thaase.” (Pray namaaz, or you’ll be punished.)

“Oh no” my panicked 7 year old self thought. Maybe someone will steal Sasha (my bratz doll). “I could pray, or I could hide her behind the toilet bowl. How would they know for sure, I could just say I prayed. Or…

“Fatemaaa! Namaaz par!”

Sawaab is very hard to quantify. Correlating the occurrence of something good to an amal is rather dubious. I struggle with this almost every day. It isn’t a matter of believing in the plentiful sawaab I will receive- but the lack of something substantial can be demotivating.

When I decided I was not going to miss any namaaz to the best of my abilities, it was, genuinely, out of fear. I heard about the various azaabs that would ensue at my lack of doing so. Even then, on days I succeeded at snoozing the alarm, or found the perfect excuse to justify “aaje nai, but kale definitely karis” it was only my Ammi’s persistence that got me to my masala.

However groggy.  

Though imperfect still- I have come far.

Ammi’s callings have subsided and yet not completely eliminated. They never will I suppose. It’s one of her many different jobs as an ammi. My ammi.

Along the way I have realized this- I’ve reaped benefits in so many other, more worldly, ways. In fact, a lot of things I need to learn, I do with Namaaz.



Often times I find myself scrambling for time. There is so much to be done. In between classes, parents, friends, chores. The urge to rush through namaaz is alluring, even necessary. It is then, when I am racing through azaan, or niyat, carelessly eating half the words, I pause and realize- but it’s only 5 mins.

It’s only 30 mins (all namaaz added up) of 12 hours (that’s 720 minutes!).

It’s like Yoga. Any yogi will attest that the bounty in yoga is not found at it’s completion, but through it’s journey.



I love claiming to be a multi-tasker. But I know it’s my flimsy way of justifying trying to study, along with dragging a photo back and forth through Valencia and Low-Fi all the while managing to grab a handful of chips.

I also know it does me no good. I can’t memorize that formula, I’m likelier to choose the wrong filter that I will realize only after posting, and good god I am not entirely relishing the tastiness of Salt and Vinegar Lays.

Namaz has taught me the need to remain focused- one thing at a time.


Importance of habits

Whenever I need to fit in a new task into my already tight schedule (or so I like to think), I get overcome with extreme anxiety. How could I possibly? Commitment does not come easy to me.

But- I never fail to floss before I go to bed. In the same way, I find establishing routines around Namaaz and other smaller habits, much simpler.



Planning helps put my day in perspective. Except that I can go pretty overboard with it. So much that I plan more than I do.

Namaaz is an exception. It’s almost magical. To have faith. That things will work themselves out somehow. That I will be ok.

I’m overcome with the feeling of protection, of being watched over by my Maula and Allah. Everything hence, feels doable, attainable.



How does one convince themselves to crawl out of bed, splash cold water on their faces (I can never remember to switch on the hot water) even before, the sun himself, has vanquished the darkness?

I will never understand.

But I will continue trying. To overcome moments of there-is-no-way-I-could-possibly-do-that.



With my own skin.

My identity.

Whether I’m praying in my room, in the midst of a bustling airport, or on the street fearing stares and suspicious glances.

Though I still struggle, it’s a quality I find admirable.

The ability to remain steadfast.

It thickens your skin.

Reminds you- that you’re the same in Allah’s eyes be it in your room, in the midst of a bustling airport or in the streets fearing stares and suspicious glances.


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