Posted on Mar 19, 2020
By Danah Shuli
In thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic and current worldwide crisis, it’s fascinating that a microscopic virus has managed to literally take over the entire world. SubhanAllah! For many Muslims, the most troubling aspect about this is that it has disrupted the way we practice Islam.
Seeing the photos coming out of Makkah of the Kaba’a completely empty of pilgrims as well as the inability to attend Jum’uah prayer and the temporary closing of most mosques is a source of fear and anxiety for many of us. We turn to these places of worship for spiritual comfort, and although we can pray anywhere, there is something healing about going to the masjid and praying in congregation. In fact, praying in congregation is beloved and strongly encouraged in our faith.
Image source: Rawpixel
While there’s no telling when things will go back to normal, the best we can do is take this time at home to creatively create alternate ways in which we can pray together as a family. Below are a few tips for creating a prayer space at home that I hope will inspire you and your family to take ownership of the current situation instead of letting it take ownership of you.
1. Create a prayer abode. Creating a designated space for prayer at home, instead of praying anywhere around the house, will help mimic the physical boundaries/structure your mosque provides for prayer. Whether in your bedroom, a corner of your living room or a nook under the staircase, make this a spiritual sanctuary.
Lay out prayer rugs for each person in the family, add some plants and a diffuser for an extra zen atmosphere. Burn some candles or incense (if you don’t have allergies or sensory issues) during the time of prayer or use LED and twinkle lights for the evening prayers to light up the space and provide a relaxing ambiance. Make it a space where you can come to recharge and leave all of the worries of this world behind.
2. Call the adhan (and iqamah) at home. You don’t have to be at the masjid to hear the call to prayer, nor do you have to be of a certain age to become the mu’athin. If you have boys in your family, this is the perfect time to have them practice and play the role of the mu’athin at home. Many of us have the prayer apps on our phones or the electronic clocks that call the adhan in our homes, in which case you can appoint someone in your family to call the iqamah in order to encourage everyone at home to join in and pray together, jama’ah.
3. Pray sunnah and do dhikr. If there’s one positive thing the coronavirus has given us, it is the blessing of (family) time. While we practice social distancing for a while, many of us have more time on our hands. On a typical day, we may not take the extra few minutes before or after each prayer to pray the sunnah or engage in dhikr on our tasbih. This is the perfect time to start!
Try doing some dhikr after every prayer, which we are encouraged to do already. The beauty of having everyone at home is that you can do your tasbih as a family every day. Not only are you reaping the rewards that come with remembering Allah (S), but you are doing so as a family.
If you don’t regularly pray sunnah, don't overwhelm yourself by trying to do them all at once. Start with one sunnah for each daily prayer and add on. Soon enough you will have them all down. Doing this regularly for the next few weeks, months, or until we resume our normal lives will turn an act of voluntary worship into a habit that you will, Insha’Allah, carry on doing after this storm passes.
4. Choose a video series on stories of the Quran or stories of the Prophets to watch as a family (or on your own), maybe in the evening after Maghreb or Ish'a prayer. This 2011 series from Mufti Menk about stories of the Prophets is an old favorite of my editor Dilshad.
The Prophet Muhammad (saw) said,
"When any group of men remember Allah (S), angels surround them and mercy covers them, tranquility descends upon them, and Allah mentions them to those who are with Him." (Muslim, Tirmidhi, Ahmad, lbn Majah, and Bayhaqi)
Take advantage of this unexpected gift of time, and don’t forget to include some special du’as for protection as we navigate this period of uncertainty. Pray for the protection of yourself, loved ones and the Ummah as a whole. Remember those who are especially vulnerable to sickness. We ask Allah (S) to protect us from the trials and tribulations of our time and to hold us steadfast in our deen, Ameen.
Danah is wife to Kareem and mama to two children. She was born and raised in Charlotte, NC, and loves all things food, fashion, photography and home decor. After having Kinzah, she created her blog, Mother of Pearl, where she shares a glimpse into her life as she navigates motherhood and hopes to build a safe space for other mamas to connect. You can follow her on Instagram.
All images are from Unsplash.