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Daily praying habit

My Dad’s a practising Muslim. He offers Namaz (ritual prayers) five times a day, and until his disease, he used to observe all fasts during the month of Ramazan (holy month in the Islamic calendar). Dad’s been a huge believer in the power of prayers, and often times it has been his faith that has sustained the determination to fight cancer and the concurrent pain with it.

Every morning at 4.30 am, Dad is up, ready to pray. Back from work during lunch hours, Dad prays. And the evening tea only takes place after he has performed the Maghreb prayers. It’s a routine that he has followed wherever he’s been, while travelling or even when he was admitted in the hospital. For most of us, Namaz has been a medium of routine to remind us of our Muslim heritage, and ensuring that one pillar in the five pillars of Islam is followed. Some of us believe in it, some of us don’t. But for Dad, it is a vital part of his daily regime. But more than anything, it is his confidence booster, his therapist and often times, his sole reprieve from the worry of the disease.

I am often amazed at his earnest devotion to pray, even in the middle of all the emotional and physical baggage he carries. It’s his meditation. Endowing him with hope and positivity, when he reaches out to God. His belief is unfaltering and I find no reason to question it. What I’ve learnt by seeing him pray everyday is that he keeps the routine, because the routine keeps him going. It provides a sense of purpose to his day. I don’t know what are his wishes, but I realise that thinking about them and praying for them, give him respite. And this is what medicines cannot do.

Not everyone has a praying habit. But everyone has an inner voice. Some project it through prayers, some through dreams, and some through meditation.Whatever they are, they channel ones thoughts into a medium that provides an escape from the reality. It enables ten minutes of zoning into a mind space that is devoid of the daily patterns rivalled with worry of the disease. It provides comfort that there is time to think and mull over, but there is also time to harness that mulling into something productive. Often when Dad gets back from work, he’s not just tired but also surrounded by the pain and lack of sleep, that tide over him. It is only when the call of the azaan rings through, that he forgets those, if only for 30 minutes, and heads to the prayer mat. As family, we ease through those minutes, knowing that when he’s in talk with God, he’s numbing his worldly worry and relaxing his body too. Calming his mind, and thoughts. Isn’t that what positivity means?

Image credit — Google images / New Yorker

Hi, I’m Mariyam, thank you for reading my post. This is part of my series on finding positivity and decoding the ‘be positive’ attitude as my father fights through aggressive oral cancer.

If you liked it, you can read other posts on

You can also follow me on twitter @MariyamRaza for more. Much love 🙂

Mariyam Raza Haider

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A journalist by training, Mariyam Haider is a writer and performance poet in Singapore.
She is the researcher of the book The Billionaire Raj: A Journey Through India’s New Gilded Age written by James Crabtree.
Her writing has appeared in Hindustan Times, Livemint, Feminism In India, New Asian Writing and Kitaab.

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