By Umm Ibrahim
Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
You snooze, you lose. We’ve all heard this plenty of times. And yet, how easy is it to just keep pressing the snooze button at dawn until sunrise and end up missing the fajr prayer? Sound familiar?
It’s certainly easy and we know as much from a hadith of Prophet Muhammad (sa) who said: “During your sleep, Satan knots three knots at the back of the head of each of you, and he breathes the following words at each knot: The night is long, so keep on sleeping. If that person wakes up and celebrates the praises of Allah, one knot is undone, and when he performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when he prays, all the knots are undone, and he gets up in the morning lively and in good spirits; otherwise, he gets up in low spirits and is lethargic.” (Bukhari)
Anyone who has missed a fajr prayer can easily testify that the ‘extra’ amount of sleep that you get does you no good. You feel exhausted the entire day plus the guilt of having missed an obligatory prayer gnaws at you constantly.
So how do you ensure that you wake up well on time for fajr prayer?
Here are some tried and tested tips:
1- Sincere intention
Before going to sleep each night, resolve to yourself that you will wake up for fajr the next morning for Allah’s pleasure and to add blessings (Barakah) to your day. Ask Him to help you fulfil that resolve. If you wake up (and it’s the last third of the night), don’t go back to sleep. Perform voluntary night prayers and supplicate to Allah until it is time for fajr.
2- Timely alarm
If sunrise is at 6:45 am and you are setting the alarm for 6:30 am, you are clearly going into the danger zone. If you have a ten-minute snooze time and you hit the snooze button at 6:30 am, you’ll get up (if you do) at 6:40 am which is definitely too late. Set your alarm well ahead of time: in this case, for 6:00 am and keep a five-minute snooze time so even if you hit the snooze button, the alarm rings after five minutes and you wake up on time.
3- Placement of alarm
If you have a habit of hitting the snooze button until the sun rises, it is wise to never keep your alarm clock or phone within arm’s reach. Keep it on top of the cupboard or inside a drawer (away from the bed) so that you have to get out of bed to shut it off.
4- Alarm apps
If the above doesn’t work for you, try out an app like Mimicker Alarm that requires you to do certain tasks before it shuts off (for instance, take a photo of a red object). These tasks ensure that you wake up thoroughly (or suffer through the ringing alarm). Either way, you have to wake up.
5- Recall its virtues
Keep in mind the following virtues of the two units of fajr prayer. Recall them when Satan tries to entice you back to sleep at dawn when your alarm rings.
It was narrated from Samurah ibn Jundub that the Prophet (sa) said: “Whoever offers the morning prayer is under the protection of Allah, the Mighty and Sublime.” (Ibn Majah; sound)
- Follow the Sunnah and go to bed early (preferably as soon as you’re done with ishâ prayers).
- Keep yourself away from screens altogether for at least a couple of hours before going to bed – too much screen time just before bedtime interferes with proper sleep.
- Time your supper: don’t eat a heavy meal just before bedtime, and likewise, avoid eating so early that by the time you go to bed, hunger pangs don’t let you sleep.
- To ensure that you wake up on time, pair up with a friend who, like you, wants to ensure that fajr prayers are not missed. The one who wakes up first gives the other a wake-up call. When you know that someone is depending on you, you are likely to wake up on time.
May Allah (swt) help us perform our obligatory prayers on time and reap the blessings of doing so. Ameen!
Umm Ibrahim is a freelance writer and editor
© IIPH 2016