The solution to this problem, like others, has two aspects: theoretical and practical.
The theoretical aspect may be further broken down into two points:
The Muslim should know the great status of salaat al-fajr in the sight of Allah, may He be glorified.
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said:
“Whoever prays the dawn prayer in congregation, it is as if he had prayed the whole night long.”
The Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) also said:
“The most burdensome prayers for the hypocrites are salaat al-isha and salaat al-fajr, but if they only knew what they contain, they would come even if they had to crawl.”
“Whoever prays fajr is under the protection of Allah. Do not put yourselves in a situation where Allah has to call you to account for your negligence.”
“Angels come to you in shifts by night and by day. They meet at salaat al-fajr and salaat al-asr, then those who had stayed with you at night ascend, and are asked by the One Who knows better than they: How did you find My servants? They say, We left them when they were praying, and we came to them when they were praying.”
“Whoever prays al-Bardayn* will enter Paradise.”
[Bukhari] * Al-Bardayn are fajr and asr.
The practical aspect of dealing with this problem includes a number of steps which the Muslim can take in order to get used to performing salaat al-fajr regularly in congregation.
These steps include:
◊ Sleeping early. According to a saheeh hadeeth, the Prophet (SallAllahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) used to dislike sleeping before isha and talking afterwards. The Muslim should not sleep before salaat al-isha because it is obvious that most of those who sleep before it will spend the rest of the night feeling so tired and heavy that it will be as if they are ill.
◊ It is a fact that people differ with regard to their need for sleep, so it is not possible to dictate a set number of hours that people should sleep, but each person should stick to the salaat al-fajr.
◊ Making sure that one is clean (taahir) and reciting adhkaar (prayers) before sleeping. This helps a person to get up for fajr.
◊ Having a sincere intention and being determined, when going to sleep, that one will get up for fajr. But a person who goes to sleep hoping that the alarm will not go off, and that no one will come and wake him up, will not be able to get up to pray fajr whilst he still has this bad intention.
◊ Remembering Allah as soon as one wakes up. Some people may initially wake up, then they go back to sleep again. But if a person remembers Allah straight after waking up, this will loosen one of the knots of Shaytaan, and will motivate him to get up. When he performs wudoo, his determination becomes stronger, and Shaytaan is driven further away, and when he prays, his shaytaan is defeated, his balance (of good deeds) becomes heavier, and he will feel happy and energetic.
◊ Seeking help from ones family and friends to pray fajr, and encouraging one another in this regard. This is essential, and is undoubtedly included in the words of Allah (interpretation of the meanings):
“Help you one another in al-birr and al-taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety)”
“By al-asr (time). Verily! Man is in loss, except those who believe and do righteous good deeds, and recommend one another to the truth and recommend one another to patience.”
◊ The Muslim should encourage his wife, for example by waking her up to pray fajr, and she should encourage him, no matter how tired and exhausted he may be. Children should also seek their father’s help to wake up, so he can wake them when it is time for the prayer. No father should say “They have exams, they are tired, let them sleep, poor kids.” It is a mistake to think that by doing this one is being a kind and merciful parent; true parental mercy means that the father wakes them up to worship Allah.
“And enjoin al-salaah (the prayer) on your family, and be patient in offering them (the prayers)”
(Ta-Ha 20:132 (interpretation of the meaning)