Small Watches of the Morning – Commentary by A. Helwa

“Pray in the small watches of the morning.”(Qur’an 17:79)

“No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy; maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the Face of God.” (Rumi)

The salat or body prayer is the “center pole” of the tent of faith, because of how it unveils our inner idols and connects us with the Divine.  Prayer is like a spiritual shower that washes the dirt of forgetfulness from the spirit.  It is like a flashlight, bringing to light all the hidden idols and barriers we have placed before God, that veil us from fully basking in the sun of His eternal presence, so that we can purify ourselves.  

Prayer is not a means of avoiding or repressing our feelings, rather, in prayer we are called to stand in the brokenness of our experience and turn to Allah in that place.  God wants us to come to Him with our problems, struggles, and even our idols.  God want us to surrender to Him so that He can guide us back to who we have always been, but lost sight of in sin.  The Prophet said, “The key to Paradise is prayer” because prayer connects us to God, purifies the eyes of the heart, and realigns us on the path back to the heavenly gardens that we once called home.  In a sense, prayer is not a map to a place we have never been, but an unveiling of who we already are.  

Salat is the only pillar given directly from Allah to the Prophet without the intercession of the Angel Gabriel.  It is through the divine revelation and prophetic inspiration that God speaks directly to man, and it is through prayer that we speak and relate to God, on behalf of ourselves and all other creatures on the Earth.  This is why even when we pray in solitude, we say, “You alone we worship; You alone we ask for help.” (1.5) In every moment, through everything that Allah has created, He is speaking to us, and prayer is how we reply, and show our gratitude.

The more we humble our egos and turn away from the illusion of separation, the closer we get to unveiling the all-encompassing oneness of Allah.  When we turn down the chaotic voices of the mind, turning instead into the gentle presence of God in the heart, we are better able to hear the continuous stream of God’s guidance.  This is why the soul of the prayer is said to be in the position of prostration, because it is the only position in which the heart is elevated above the mind, reigning as the conscious king of the body. When we pray in direct contact with the earth, as the prophets used to pray, we are spiritually, emotionally, and physically being healed.

This blog is an excerpt from A. Helwa’s recently published best-selling book, “Secrets of Divine Love: A Spiritual Journey into the Heart of Islam.” Her book is available on

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About A. Helwa
A. Helwa believes that every single person on Earth is deeply loved by the Divine. She is a writer who has inspired hundreds of thousands of readers through her passionate, poetic, and love-based approach to spirituality. Her popular blog @quranquotesdaily, was established while obtaining her Masters in Divinity, as a means of helping others overcome personal and spiritual struggles on their journey of experiencing divine love. 

With over 15 years of experience writing and speaking on Islam and spiritual development, A. Helwa draws from her personal experiences and traditional sources to help her readers access ‘Divine love in everyday life.’

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