Hadhrat Abu Zuhair ‘Umarah ibn Ruwaibah narrated that he heard Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “No one who used to offer Salaah before the rising of the sun and before its setting will enter the Fire,” meaning Salaatul Fajr and Salaatul ‘Asr.” (Muslim)
For many, the Salaatul Fajr (Dawn Prayer) is the most challenging to perform consistently. There are some important considerations to help you get your Salaatul Fajr offered almost definitely.
In terms of trying to ensure that one wakes up to offer Salaatul Fajr, there are three types of things one can do:
In order to make the effort to rise for Salaatul Fajr, the first thing we must do is to understand the great status this time of Salaah holds, both as a time of the day, and amongst the five obligatory Salaah.
The Importance of the Fajr Prayer
In the Quraan, Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most High, says:
أَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِدُلُوكِ الشَّمْسِ إِلَى غَسَقِ اللَّيْلِ وَقُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ إِنَّ قُرْآنَ الْفَجْرِ كَانَ مَشْهُودًا [الإسراء: 78]
“(O Prophet!) Establish Salaah between the decline of the sun ((Zohr and ‘Asr) and the darkness of the night (Maghrib and ‘Eshaa), and (establish) the recital at Fajr (Dawn). Surely, the recital at Fajr is well attended.” (Al-Israa 17:78)
The meaning of well attended here means that both the angels of [previous] night and the angels of the [new] morning intently listen to the Salaatul Fajr being recited aloud because of its great status and virtue. (Al-Suyooti, Tafseer al-Jalalain)
Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s Messenger (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) has said: “Whoever performs the Salaah before the rising of the sun (Fajr) and before its setting (‘Asr), will not enter the Hell.” (Muslim)
And the Prophet, Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) also said: “Whoever offer Salaah at the two cooler Salaah times (i.e., Fajr and `Asr) will enter Jannah (Paradise).” (Bukhari and Muslim)
The Ulamaa (Islamic scholars) comment that Fajr and ‘Asr were specified since they are two times when one can easily miss the Salaah: whether they are lost in sleep during Fajr, or engrossed in trade and work at ‘Asr. It is understood that the one who offers Salaah at these two times, usually offers all five daily Salaah.
Finally, the reward mentioned in the Hadeeth indicates that the one who regularly offer Salaatul Fajr and Salaatul ‘Asr can be expected to have a good ending to their life: that they die upon faith as a Muslim. Which of us would not be eager to rise for the Salaatul Fajr, if we truly understood the benefits: a death on faith and eternal success?
Some Warnings About Missing the Fajr Prayer
There are also warnings mentioned regarding missing the Salaatul Fajr. The Prophet, Hadhrat Muhammad (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) said: “The most burdensome Salaah for the hypocrites are Salaatul ‘Eshaa and Salaatul Fajr, but if they only knew what they contain, they would come even if they had to crawl.” (Ahmad)
The Ulamaa say burdensome because they prefer the comfort of sleep to Salaah.
The Prophet (SallAllaho Alaihe WaSallam) also said: “Whoever offers Salaatul Fajr, then He is under Allah’s protection. So beware, O son of Adam! that Allah doesn’t call you to account for being absent from His protection for any reason.” (Muslim)
If the rewards do not convince us, once we understand the seriousness of going about our day without Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa)’s protection around us for the day in which we missed Salaatul Fajr, that should push us to make every effort to wake up the next morning, and keep trying, until we establish its observance as a habit.
Some Practical Steps to Waking Up
There are many different techniques to try to wake up for Salaatul Fajr. They vary from person to person, depending on what prevents a person from waking up.
There are various physical preparations:
1) Winding down before bed and sleeping early
2) Setting multiple alarms out of one’s immediate reach
3) Simplifying one’s bedding
4) Drinking ample water so one is forced to the washroom
5) Having a family member or friend wake you up when they rise.
These are some of the main suggestions, of which sleeping early is perhaps the most common remedy.
Then, there are mental preparations:
1) Before bed, visualizing oneself rising, washing and praying
2) Telling the mind with firm resolve before bed that there is an important appointment (with Allah) at Fajr time that one must attend
3) Warning the mind beforehand that the body will indeed be tempted to close its eyes “for just a few more minutes” when the alarm rings — and not to give in to it.
Finally, there are the spiritual preparations:
1) Filling the heart with the importance and love for offering Salaatul Fajr and the fear of missing it
2) Begging Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) before bed for the ability to wake up the following morning
3) A feeling, deep-seated regret and sadness if one misses it and immediately making it up
4) Trying to avoid other major sins in one’s life and repenting from them to try to gain Tawfeeq (Divine assistance).
If one accidentally misses Salaatul Fajr however, while they should feel regretful, they should never feel despair and hopelessness such that they feel dissuaded from trying to wake up the next morning, since it is a sign that they were relying on themselves, and not on Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) as they should be.
The Reality of Salaatul Fajr
Few people find it hard to wake up if there is a plane to catch the next morning, or a lucrative job interview. This is because we are so desirous to take that trip or get that job, so our eyes open with vigor when the alarm rings. Some people might awaken even before the alarm, due to their anticipation.
The only reason this does not happen as often for Salaatul Fajr is because we haven’t attached the same importance to the Aakhirah (Hereafter) as we have attached to our worldly lives. Our awe and sense of duty to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa) might be weaker than our desire for the ephemeral things around us.
Those who are attached to Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), however, see Salaatul Fajr as more important than the rest of the day’s affairs put together, and so they find it easy to rise to worship their Lord, in submission and gratitude. They then find peace from this, which spurs them to rise again, in a positive cycle. Thus, it is about breaking bad cycles and establishing good ones.
May Allah (Subhaanahu Wa Ta’aalaa), the Most High, make us all among those who rise and offer Salaatul Fajr easily and consistently, out of submission and gratitude.