I’m not going to lie: I’m having a rough Ramadan. My greatest weakness as a Muslim has been my prayers and it hasn’t stopped being a problem just because it’s Ramadan. I know that not all converts have this problem—some seem to take to Muslim behavior like a duck takes to water—but I can’t help but think that I would be much more faithful in prayer if I had been brought up as a practicing Muslim.
Strangely enough, I am most faithful with fajr prayer. There’s something about starting the day with prayer that makes me feel better. I’ve even gotten used to getting up early and I used to be a person who slept late every day I could. And of course, fajr is also the shortest prayer.
I even have a prayer reminder on my computer, but it doesn’t do me any good when I have the computer off, which is mainly in the evenings.
But it’s not forgetting my prayers that’s the problem: it’s this feeling of hopelessness I have about my ability to learn and practice all the different prayers, especially in Arabic. I have a hang-up about not being perfect, even though I know that no one is or can be. I’m always imagining that all other Muslims in the world are good at all this “stuff” and I’m the only one who’s a failure.
I feel like this Ramadan so far for me has been one big exercise in starting over. Each day I try to do better than the day before. But the fact that I have to keep starting over is discouraging to me.
If Allah were not a forgiving God, I’d be in big trouble!
This is a prayer that means a lot to me right now, because when I am left to my own devices, I make a mess of everything:
“O Allah! I do hope for Thy mercy, so do not leave me to myself for the twinkling of an eye.”