Gem: People can wake up to receive phone calls from other human beings but can contentedly sleep soundly through the call from Allah azza wa jal, the Most High, when he calls us to pray the night prayer and/or the obligatory fajr dawn prayer.
I have never really had too much trouble in waking up early in the mornings. Amongst my earliest memories, are that of my father waking up early in the middle of the night to continue grading his students’ blue book essays. He would make himself some tea or coffee and if I woke up as well he would put some hot chocolate for me to drink in my pink bunny rabbit bottle before I returned to bed.
I had a newspaper route that I shared with my siblings for years from 3rd grade to 8th grade. We had to wake up 7 days a week, 365 days a year at 4:30am, through the blistering cold snowy winters and the hot summer months in upstate New York. Talk about training and discipline.
I was a bit of a news junkie back in middle school and high school and I would get up in the middle of the night to listen to the local public radio station, which played the BBC, Deutsche Welle, and a French broadcaster so that I could listen to good international reporting to find out what was happening in the world.
After the blessings of Allah, I suppose that all three of these things were good training because after my acceptance of Islam, I did not find it difficult to wake up for the fajr salaah.
I remember one day, sometime after my conversion that I woke up late with a shock and fear in the brightness of the dawn, thinking that I had missed fajr salaah. I immediately began asking Allah for forgiveness, hurriedly made wudu ablution and prayed 2 rakah crying, thinking that I had missed the timing of fajr. After I prayed, I looked at the clock and realized that I still had some time before the sunrise, so I prayed 2 more rakah, still shaking, trembling, crying, and begging for forgiveness for being so negligent and heedless of the time and the commands of Allah.
I remembered the hadeeth of the companions that once overslept and missed fajr salaah and their description that they were looking up toward the sky afraid that the punishment of their Lord was going to come down upon them at any second. I was still a new Muslim then, and found myself looking up to see if I was going to be punished. I have never forgotten that feeling and that emotion and alhamdulillah that has helped propel me to get up each and every day. Sometimes, I miss that sincerity, innocent enthusiasm, and zeal from those early days…
Ibnul Qayyim mentions that for the one who is regular in their salaah that if they are asleep and the timing is about to expire, that Allah azza wa jal will send them an angel to gently nudge and push them out of bed so that they do not miss the salaah, and I truly do believe that.
Many times, I have overslept my alarms, even missed my flight to Ilm Summit due to oversleeping three alarms but alhamdulillah, when I woke up I was so happy that it was still well within the darkness of the fajr time. I hurriedly made wudu, prayed, finished packing, got to the airport missed my flight by a nose, they had literally just closed the plane door when I came up to the gate but I was not worried about what I would have to face, put my trust in the hands of Allah and felt a sense of comfort and peace knowing I had prayed fajr in its time and alhamdulillah, I was able to get on the next flight to Houston to attend Ilm Summit.