Answered by Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, SunniPath Academy Teacher
Nifaq has a strong hold in my heart. I find myself lying in conversations and I owe many make up prayers from the past. I have carelessness about the prayer times when I'm handling my own issues. The list goes on. Nowadays I am praying regularly and I am trying to frequent the masjid. Days pass and I know I must make up my prayers but laziness and apathy takes me and regret. Please help.
In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.
The Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, "“The signs of a hypocrite are three: When he speaks he lies, when he makes a promise he breaks it, and when he is given a trust he breaches it." (Bukhari)
The Prophet, may Allah Ta'ala grant him peace and blessings, also said, "Verily, the only thing separating a person from disbelief and polytheism is the abandonment of prayer." (Muslim)
These words should serve as a wake-up call to all of us who want to establish our deen on a firm foundation of iman. If we want to prevent the seeds of nifaq from taking root in our hearts, then we should strive to always speak the truth, even if it is to our detriment. Likewise, we should uphold our promises and honor our trusts.
If we fall short, does this mean that we are hypocrites? If we fear that we are becoming habituated to the blameworthy traits of nifaq, then we should ask Allah Ta'ala for help. And, we should also be aware of the words of the Prophet, Allah bless him and give him peace, that "Every son of Adam is a sinner, and the best of sinners are those who oft-repent."
If you find yourself falling into lying or breaking promises, then examine the reasons behind that. For example, are you taking on too many responsibilities? Are you afraid of being censured? It's better to be honest and excuse yourself from taking on an obligation that you cannot discharge.
Alhamdulillah, you're now praying and that's good news. So continue to pray your current prayers and go to the masjid. Motivate yourself to make up missed prayers by making a schedule. Have a trusted family member or friend give you a helpful nudge in the right direction by cluing them in to what you're doing. And don't stress yourself out. Praying is a joy, not a chore. So when you stand up to do your Dhuhr, for example, double up and pray a qada as well. Insha'Allah, you'll be well on the way to accomplishing your goals.
May Allah Ta'ala increase you in himmah (enthusiasm) in His way.
And Allah knows best.
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