By Jamaal Diwan
Ibn ʿAṭā said:
“Do not abandon the invocation because you do not feel the presence of God therein. For your forgetfulness of the invocation of Him is worse than your forgetfulness in the invocation of Him. Perhaps He will take you from an invocation with forgetfulness to one with vigilance, and from one with vigilance to one with the presence of God, and from one with the presence of God to one wherein everything but the Invoked is absent. ‘And that is not difficult for God.’”
One of the tricks of Shaytan is that he will find us engaged in an act of obedience, such as prayer or dhikr, and when we have moments of forgetfulness or heedlessness he will try and convince us that we should stop that act of worship as a result. This happens to people all the time with all kinds of acts of worship. We start to think that we are being hypocritical because we’re praying but we’re not paying attention fully or we’re reading Quran but we’re not fully concentrating and so on. Then we decide to stop that action. This is a mistake. We should not stop, but rather continue and try our best to focus and concentrate. Maybe for a while we will have lapses but eventually the situation will imrove and God will bless us with insight and closeness to Him in our acts of worship.
This Ramadan, and in our increased acts of worship before, there will be times when we catch ourselves floating off, times when we are not paying attention. That happens, don’t worry. Just renew your intention and keep focusing. Don’t give up half way through the month, but keep working and by the grace of God we will reap the rewards of our reliance upon Him by the end of the month.