Salah A Cornerstone Of Self Care

I would like to begin this message regarding self-care with a narration from the Prophet (SAW) and two of his Companions (May Allah SWT be pleased with them all). In the story there are lessons for us and the importance of self-care in every Muslim’s life, how to develop a work-life-balance and learn the practice of fulfilling rights/obligations, including those pertaining to ourselves:

Here Salman Al-Farisi (RA), teaches Abu Ad-Darda’ and all of us the importance of looking after oneself even when a person is engaged in a worthy and noble act such as worship. 

Narrated by Abu Juhaifa (RA): The Prophet (SAW) made a bond of brotherhood between Salman Al-Farisi (RA) and Abu Ad-Darda (RA)’. Salman (RA) paid a visit to Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) and found Um Ad-Darda’ (RA) dressed in shabby clothes and asked her why she was in that state. She replied, “Your brother Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) is not interested in (the luxuries of) this world.”

In the meantime Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) came and prepared a meal for Salman (RA). Salman (RA) requested Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) to eat (with him), but Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) said, “I am fasting.” Salman (RA) said, “I am not going to eat unless you eat”.

So, Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) ate (with Salman). When it was night and (a part of the night passed), Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) got up (to offer the night prayer), but Salman (RA) told him to sleep and Abu Ad-Darda’ (raa) slept.

After sometime Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA) again got up but Salman (RA) told him to sleep. When it was the last hours of the night, Salman (RA) told him to get up then, and both of them offered the prayer.

Salman (RA) told Abu Ad-Darda’ (RA), “Your Lord has a right upon you, your soul has a right upon you, and your family has a right upon you; so you should give the rights of all those who have a right upon you.”

Abu Ad-Darda'(RA) came to the Prophet (SAW) and narrated the whole story. The Prophet (SAW) said, “Salman (RA) has spoken the truth.”

Fasting – Sahih Bukhari: Volume 3, Book 31, Number 189

”The Messenger of God is an excellent model for those of you who put your hope in God and the Last Day and remember Him often.” [Qur’an 33: 21]

Our daily habits and routines make a huge difference whether we practice self-care, or not. And one of the challenges each one of us faces is choosing the habits and routines that work for us and that over a lifetime, help us live a meaningful and impactful life. After all, each one of us wants to achieve success in life, and the hereafter InShaAllah. 

The Prophet (SAW) who is our example and his companions (RA) demonstrated to us how to develop healthy and balanced habits including practising steps that contribute to make us be the best we can in all matters relating to deen or dunya. These habits will enable us to live a productive, meaningful and fulfilled life.

In my daily life, I strive to achieve time for myself especially as I have a busy and demanding schedule.

O you who have believed, seek help through patience and prayer. Indeed, Allah is with the patient. (Quran: 2-153).  

What helps me in my daily life is seeking comfort, peace and tranquillity in my focus on the five daily prayers which I call my grounding and revitalising station throughout the day. This self-care focus is centred in the five daily prayers and I find that daily prayers gives me an opportunity to connect with Allah (SWT), have a sense of perspective on what really matters and a great opportunity to ask Allah (SWT) to assist me and help me to achieve my purpose in life.

The Prophet (SAW) said that the “coolness of my eyes was made in the prayer“. The coolness of someone’s eyes (Quratu Ain) in Arabic is the greatest expression for what you love the most. That’s because when we pray, we meet with our Lord, we speak to Him and enjoy being constantly connected to Him. The closer the prayer is to your heart, the higher your love is for Allah (SWT). Wouldn’t you like the prayer to be the coolness of your eyes too? It can be!

And seek help through patience and prayer, and indeed, it is difficult except for the humbly submissive [to Allah] (Quran: 2-45).

During your prayer, Surah Al-Fatihah, is a conversation between you and Allah (SWT).

Be present. Focus your mind on each verse and bring your awareness to the dialogue with Allah (SWT) in the form of the recitation. Concentrate on each word to be fully present in your prayers.

Imam Muslim (Rahimahullah) has recorded this narration. The Hadith is therefore authentic and the full narration is as follows:

Sayyiduna Abu Hurayrah (radiyallahu’anhu) says: I heard Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) say, ‘Allah Ta’ala said’:

“I have divided Salah [Surah Fatihah] between myself and between my servant in two halves and my servant shall have what he asks for.

So when a person says: ‘Al Hamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Alamin’ (All praise belongs to Allah, the Rabb of the universe), Allah Ta’ala says, ‘Hamidani ‘abdi’ (My Servant has praised me).

When he says: ‘Ar Rahmanir Rahim’ (The Most Compassionate the Most Merciful) Allah Ta’ala says, ‘Athna ‘alayya ‘abdi’ (My servant has extolled me)

When he says: ‘Maliki Yawmid Din’ (The Master of the Day of Judgement) Allah Ta’ala says, ‘Majjadani ‘abdi’ (My servant has glorified me)

When he says: ‘Iyyaka Na’budu Wa Iyyaka Nasta’in’ (You Alone do we worship and You Alone do we ask for help) Allah Ta’ala says, ‘Hadha bayni wa bayna ‘abdi wa li ‘abdi ma sa-ala’ (This is between me and my slave and my servant will have what he asks for)

When he says: ‘Ihdinas Siratal Mustaqim. Siratal Ladhina An ‘Amta ‘Alayhim Ghayril Maghdubi ‘Alayhim Wa Lad- Dallin’ (Guide us to the straight path. The path of those whom You have favored and not the path of those with whom You are angry nor the path of those who have gone astray) Allah Ta’ala says, ‘Hadha li ‘abdi wa li ‘abdi ma sa-ala’ (This is for my servant and my servant shall have what he asks for)

(Sahih Muslim, Hadith: 395)

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.