And then there followed after them (the prophets)
an evil generation who delayed the prayer and followed their lusts. Soon will
they face destruction, except he who repents, affirms his faith and does deeds
of righteousness [Soorah Maryam: 59-60]
Sufficient it is for me to praise Allah and supplicate Him for peace on those servants of His whom he has chosen.
To proceed: I have read this letter entitled "Mending the Rift" and found it to be valuable in the choice of its subject matter. Thanks to Allah, the author succeeded in realising the growing tendency of people to miss the Dawn Prayer in congregation in the mosque. He noticed with dismay that mosques are getting virtually empty of people at that time, except for a few elderly people and some adults who, with Allah's assistance, found their way back into the mosque. Indeed, even a sizeable majority of these elderly people have stopped coming to the mosque to uphold this prayer in congregation and have grown lazy about the other prayers as well.
Our Prophet is our exemplar who provided the best example in spending long hours of the night in prayer and waking in time for Fajr Prayer. This record was authentically known of him both in his teachings and his living example as he did not like sleeping before Ishaa [night] Prayer and discouraged his followers from useless talk after it. In this he was followed by his companions and all the muslims up to a time not very far from our own days. They knew the reasons which cause laziness and lessen motivation to observe prayers in time (be such prayers Fard [obligatory] or Nafla [optional]) and warned people against them so much that some of them are reported to have said: "If you are unable to pray at night, then that is a clear sign that your sins have shackled you and deprived you of good deeds". Al-Hasan al-Basri was once asked: "Why is it that we cannot uphold prayers at night?" He answered: "You are shackled in your own sins".
Motivation is presently lacking among muslims. Otherwise they would not have given in to sleep even if they had to stay awake in the first part of the night. When one of them is required by his work arrangements or for his own worldly benefit to wake early at dawn, he would no doubt take the necessary precaution not to miss his appointment. He will forsake his peace of mind and have a restless sleep just for fear he might be punished or have his salary reduced. When it comes to prayer, they have no excuse especially when in our modern times Allah has provided us with alarm clocks which would be set at any time we wish. The problem therefore, is one of laziness. Such people do not know what they are missing. The Prophet said with respect to those who do not observe Ishaa and Fajr prayers: "Had one of them known that he would find a wholesome meal or two good targets, he would have come for Ishaa prayer."
All in all, for him who sincerely wants to purify his soul from the attributes of the hypocrites, let him steer clear of laziness, be active, put into practice the action inspiring instructions laid out in our religion, accustom himself to take the initiative and realise what he and everybody in his position are missing in terms of the health of the body and great reward from Allah. Only then will his performance improve, Allah willing, and he will make up for what he has missed and follow the lead of the best of generations.
Allah, the Most High and Exalted, is the Provider of success and assistance. Peace and Blessings be upon Prophet Muhammed, his household and followers.
Abdullah Ibn Abdur-Rahmaan al-Jibreen.
Most surely all praise belongs to Allah, we praise Him and we seek His Aid and Forgiveness. We seek refuge in Allaah from the evils of our souls and from the evils of our actions. Whomsoever Allaah guides there is none to misguides and whomsever He misguides their is none to guide. I send prayers and blessing upon our leader Muhammed with the best of prayers and the most complete submission.
One of the ill-seeming phenomena and most serious precedents boding impending danger and punishment, giving reason to fear and calling for most urgent consideration on our part requiring immediate investigation into its causes and treatment of its symptoms is the fact that a growing number of observers of prayer deliberately shun Fajr prayer in congregation and only perform it at times other than its lawful time.
It may be the case that this is due to their wasting away long hours at night engaged in idle and leisure pursuits. Our ancestors not very long ago used to make a point of going to bed early, to lock their doors after Ishaa prayer and to make their dinner light so as to be able to wake up for Fajr prayer in an energetic state. That is why they led a happy, peaceful and healthy life experiencing the real taste of life.