by Habeeba Husain
I attended a lecture in the month of Ramadan a few years ago, and the speaker mentioned Muslims are supposed to remember God often. He explained “often” meant the majority of the day. While Muslims pray five times a day already, their remembrance of God does not and should not end with the completion of their ritual worship. With the hustle and bustle of everyday life involving school, work, commutes, family, and more, it becomes difficult to even allot a small amount of time for the remembrance of God. How, then, do Muslims spend the “majority” of their day remembering God with all the other responsibilities life requires?
The answer the speaker gave was simple and eye-opening. Remembrance of God is not only praying. While the five daily prayers are necessary and held in a very high regard, they are not the only means of connecting with the Lord. To pray, a Muslim is required be ritually pure, having performed ablution. One must recite in Arabic, face Makkah, and wear clothing that covers certain parts of the body. Looking elsewhere, eating, and walking becomes forbidden once the prayer starts. It is a time of setting everything in your life aside and focusing solely on God. There are prescribed times for the five prayers, and they certainly do not occupy the majority of a Muslim’s day. For many, one prayer can take just five to ten minutes totaling less than one hour in the day!
To expand that one hour of ritual prayer into remembrance of God for the majority of the day, one has to understand the many ways there are to connect with God. It can occur anywhere and any time. Waking up in the morning and realizing God brought you out of your sleep, observing the rain and acknowledging God sends it down, and even obeying the traffic signals and noting God required you to follow the rules of your land — all of these otherwise seemingly mundane acts have the potential to be moments of remembering God. At work, a Muslim should remember God put on us a responsibility to provide and take care of our family and turn that time into remembrance and obedience. When eating, remember God requires you to nourish yourself with that which is wholesome. When life is observed and lived in this way, there is no doubt that the majority of a person’s day can be spent in the remembrance of God.
This kind of mentality also becomes very useful for a Muslim in times of grief and joy. Connecting our lives with God brings contentment to the heart, since it is understood that our circumstances are all from God and He will help us through it. When we forget God, it becomes much more difficult to navigate life and our struggles become much more burdensome.
Remembering God often is an aspect of Islam that can be hard to imagine upon first hearing it. But understanding that God permeates life in multiple ways beyond prayer, it is easy to see how His remembrance makes the lives of Muslims fulfilling, purposeful, and connected with their surroundings.