The Isha Prayer Struggle - Read Our Analysis

The Isha prayer struggle is the struggle to stay awake in order to observe the Isha prayer before sleeping after a long day of work, travel et al. 

The Isha prayer struggle is the struggle not to rush through your Isha prayers because you are tired and you just want to sleep. The Isha prayer struggle is the struggle to be focused during the Isha prayer like you were during the other four salats.

For non-Muslims who want to understand what the Isha Prayer struggle is, let us try to break it down for you, we (Muslims) have to pray five times throughout the day from morning till night. 

Qur'an: 51: 56: "And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me."

We would say the first three prayers from early morning (fajr) till the late afternoon prayer (asr) are conveniently spaced but the last two prayers, the Maghrib (evening prayer) and the Isha (night) prayer are right after each other. Most times, by the time you are done with the Maghrib prayer, it is time for the Isha prayer.

The fact that the period after Maghrib is more or less the same period of time when you have dinner and after dinner you drift into this relaxed, tired state that makes you just want to chill or sleep without doing anything else that is physically tasking leads to the Isha prayer struggle because ideally, you shouldn't sleep without observing your Isha prayers, herein lies the struggle.

Abu Huraira (Radhiallahu 'anhu) said : “My Khalil (friend) (the Prophet Shalallahu ‘alaihi wa Salam) advised me to observe three things and I shall not leave them till I die: 1. “To observe Saum (fasting) three days every (lunar) month; 2.” To offer the Duha prayer; 3. To offer Witr prayer before sleeping.” Naratted by Bukhari and Muslim.

We have lost count of the number times that we slept off and was jolted awake by that unsettled feeling you have when you fall asleep without saying the Isha prayers (Muslims know that feeling) and we had to forcefully get out of bed so as to do the compulsory ablution before observing the Isha prayer in the middle of the night!

Anas related that the Prophet (saws) said, "Whoever forgets a prayer should pray it when he remembers it, and there is no expiation for it save that." Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.

One of the reasons why we have not made more of an effort to overcome the Isha prayer struggle at the early part of the night is because the Prophet (Peace be upon him) has advised us against praying whilst feeling drowsy:

It was narrated from Anas that the Prophet (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) said: “If any one of you feels drowsy when praying, let him sleep so that (when he gets up) he knows what he is reciting.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, al-Wudoo’, 206).

In another hadeeth: “If anyone of you becomes drowsy whilst he is praying, let him sleep until he is refreshed, because if any one of you prays whilst he is drowsy he may not understand what he is saying and he may want to pray for forgiveness but may insult himself by mistake instead.” (al-Bukhaari, 212; Muslim, 786).                                                                                       
Another reason why we have not made more of an effort to overcome the Isha prayer struggle at the early part of the night is because the period for the Isha prayers is from the early part of the night until midnight so for us it's a win-win situation.

The Prophet (Blessings and peace of ALLAH be upon him) is reported to have said: “ If it were not to be a hardship upon my nation. I would order them to delay the night prayer until a third or a half of the night had passed”. 

It is Sunnah to observe Isha prayer later, after one-third of the night has passed because the Prophet (peace and blessings of ALLAH be upon him) delayed one night until they said, “O Messenger of ALLAH, the women and children have fallen asleep,” so he went out and led them in prayer, and said, “This would be its time, were that not too difficult for my ummah.” 


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