Monday, October 15, 2012

Fajr, the Lazy Killer

I truly respect successful writers, no matter what form. Be it a novel, a textbook, poetry, a Hollywood screenplay or blogging; the ones who are on the grind and churning out writing pieces on the regular deserve all the props you can throw at them. I can only dream of possessing even a small fraction of their productivity. What's their secret to success? Well, I know that. They wake up early and write in the solitude of the early morn while the rest of the world is still catching their Z's.

Now naturally, this shouldn't be a problem for me. As a Muslim, it's essentially a must to be early risers because we have to pray the first obligatory prayer of the day, Fajr, right at the break of dawn. Of course for many Muslims, even devout ones, this can be easier said than done. I'm sure a ton of Muslims don't wake up for Fajr and ignore the Adhan(call to prayer) clock and fade back into La-La land (guilty). Then we have another segment who do get up, pray the Fajr prayer and plop right back into bed (guilty of this too)!

Pushing Islam aside for a bit, it's universal that a majority of the population doesn't wake up early and if they do, they hate it and have to suck down buckets of coffee to eke through the day. We're not morning people! We stick up the middle finger to "the early bird gets the worm". However, these are also usually the same people, stuck in the same rut, in the same situation they are sick and tired of and don't see life getting brighter anytime soon because they aren't truly productive.

For non-Muslims, it's their job or school which compel them to set their clocks early and kicks off their day. For Muslims, we have the commandment of God to wake us and kick off our day in His remembrance. But, Fajr is supposed to be the very start of our day. No going back to sleep. "Screw you, Satan, you ain't pissin' in my ear today!" Glory be to God, Fajr is a heckuva blessing! For Muslims, Fajr should be the "lazy killer", IF you utilize it the way it was meant to be.

In my life, Fajr has been a roller coaster of inconsistency. Surprisingly enough, I've pinpointed distinct patterns which occur when I pray Fajr on time and when I miss it and keep sleeping. A positive/negative domino effect, if you will. A brilliant illustration of this was exemplified by popular Muslim figure and productivity guru Muhammad Al Shareef, coined "The Anatomy of Fajr Productivity". You can see it below:

I can definitely relate to the diagram above completely. I am very much familiar with the bottom half of the timeline. Stretches of waking up late, missing Fajr--EVEN THOUGH I heard the adhan, and my clock alarm--rushing to get ready for work, missing my workout, having a crappy rushed breakfast or worse: no breakfast at all, getting late for work and when arriving to my desk, enduring an 8 hour time block of lethargy. Getting home becomes an unproductive mess as I eat horribly and kill my diet, horse around and not get anything productive complete then sleep late and continue the vicious cycle.

I've also had amazing stretches where I've woke up for Fajr and followed it up with dusting off the Qur'an and working on my Tajwid (Quranic Arabic recitation), then I'd read some of the English translation. After that I'd bust out a exercise as part of a regular workout regimen and top off the morning with a delicious well-balanced breakfast before heading out to work. And sometimes on really good days, I'd even write a bit and muster out a blog! Talk about productivity! And the rest of the day just becomes a breeze! You suddenly get the feeling of there being a lot more hours in the day and it's up to you to use it to your advantage.

What was the difference between those two scenarios? Fajr, of course. A very profound quote from Aristotle states, 

"It is well to be up before daybreak, for such habits contribute to health, wealth, and wisdom."

Fajr truly a gift from God. Merely fulfilling a religious obligation ensures a productive day in all the other aspects of your life. So, as a Muslim, it's even more imperative to get your lazy butt up for Fajr and stay up. All it brings is good. 

If you're having trouble getting up for Fajr, follow these essential steps:

  • Dua (supplicate) to Allah and ask him to make it easy for you to wake up early for Fajr. 
  • Make it an intention before you go to bed and PLAN AHEAD. 
  • Don't stay up so late texting, dinking around on your phone, watching TV and blasting heads on Call of Duty.
  • And set your alarms! I have my Adhan clock blasting at Fajr time, my wife's phone alarm set, my phone alarm, the Clock radios alarm. That's 4 alarms set up around me, cajoling me out of bed!
And a few good reads to check out which inspired me to write this blog, Steve Plavina's article "How to become an early Riser" and Productive Muslims "Fajr Double Advantage".


  1. You are so right. When I get up for Fajr, I have a better day, even if I go back to sleep, I still have a better day just by praying Fajr. When I say I will get up in one minute and then promptly go back to sleep, I end up missing Fajr and then have a massive headache for the rest of the day. Or I just don't have a good day.
    I love staying up late because no one is around to bother me and ask me to do things, but I always have the feeling that I can't really get things done because it is too late. On those rare mornings that I don't have to rush to work and I am just up, I get a wonderful feeling that the whole day is still ahead of me. I am a heavy sleeper and need five alarms to wake me up, but I am still working on this becoming a morning person thing. I just need to be more consistent in my routine.

  2. Hehe, you are definitely not alone! Fajr truly is the key to productivity in life, we just have to treat it that way. Sleeping early is even harder nowadays with TV, Video games and all those electronics. People are staying up in bed on their phones and tablets and not getting much needed bedtime!

    It's just something you have to work on, even if it takes your entire life. Allah make it easy.

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