Ramadan Muslims

As people, we make mistakes, going about our day to day live’s doing things that we may know are completely wrong or forbidden, enticed by the ‘sweet’ whispers of the Shaytan. However, when it comes time to Ramadan, the sudden opportunity for change presents itself. Where you didn’t pray or perhaps wear hijab you find that you start to change, praying your five times in Ramadan, putting that hijab on to ‘try it out’. However, what usually happens after the hype of the blessed month wears off, most of us who have grasped this chance may find ourselves slipping and turning back, doing the things we used to or not to do. Perhaps, you are going through this yourself, or know someone who is experiencing this. It was only recently that I discovered that this ‘slipping’ is often referred to as ‘Ramadan Muslims’

In Ramadan the thing we’re trying to accomplish is change as it is the most blessed month and we should show gratitude to Allah, striving to get closer to Him, for He is the All Knowing, the All Seeing.  That being said, the key to change is doing good deeds consistently, keeping it up throughout the year.

Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” Sunan Ibn Majah, 4240 (authenticated by al-Albani)

Why is it that we act a certain way or do a certain thing during Ramadan and outside Ramadan? It could naturally be due to the fact that we are aware that Ramadan really is a blessed month, a month of striving, so we’re on our best behavior as we try to accomplish as many good deeds as possible. However, even when the motivation is low, we need to wake up and push ourselves to turn the things we’ve accomplished or worked on this Ramadan into habits, realizing that Allah is the All Seeing the All Knowing, the Judge of all things.

If we know He sees and hears all things, then we must fear His punishment, staying away from bad deeds and displeasing Him. It is sad to say, but also true that some of us are good Muslims during Ramadan and then at soon as it ends we find it as a free pass to stop praying, let that hijab slip, be rude to our parents, talk in a bad way, fight with our siblings, listen to music, etc. the list goes on and on.

We have to motivate and help each other, when we fall back and do something wrong don’t give up! Repent and move forward and remind yourself that: “I’m going to try and be the best Muslim I can be!” Repeat this mantra in the mirror everyday when you wake up if you feel it’ll help.

Anas ibn Malik reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “All of the children of Adam are sinners, and the best of sinners are those who repent.” Sunan Ibn Majah, 4251 (authenticated by As-Suyuti)

Repentance is beloved to Allah, as He says: “Verily, Allah loves those who repent and those who purify themselves.” [Al-Qur’an 2:222]

Going forward we need to develop an awareness of how we act outside Ramadan vs. the way we act during Ramadan. The way we act during Ramadan is how we should strive to be all year round. This is because we want to change ourselves for the better, pleasing Allah, not to show off or please others. If you do a good deed such as finishing the Quran, or make a delicious iftar for your family, reaffirm your intentions that at the end of the day you’re doing this for the sake of Allah.

“And your Ilâh (God) is One Ilâh (God – Allah), Lâ ilâha illa Huwa (there is none who has the right to be worshipped but He), the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.” [Al Qur’an 2:163]

We’re human and we all make mistakes and slip up. Now that Ramadan is coming to an end, use this time to evaluate yourself and where you stand. Take responsibility and make attainable goals to continue your progress outside of Ramadan, and hit the ground running rather than lagging behind.  It’s important to note, and remind yourself when the motivation is running low and you feel like lapsing back, that the next Ramadan is never guaranteed. Therefore, take this moment to return in gratitude to Allah for giving you a golden opportunity that you may not experience next year, reaffirming your belief, as you use the Ramadan as stepping stones to getting closer to Allah throughout the rest of the year.

Narrated by Abu Dhar, that Allah’s Messenger said that Allah said: “He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.” Reported by Muslim.

Being SMART During The Last 10 Days

Nabiha started Ramadan with a good kick, zealous to complete her goals and take the steps towards the changes she wanted in her life. She was extremely excited, following her strict regime ‘To a T’. Extremely careful not to skip a day, for she had made up her mind to change and make the most of this blessed month. She did good, until the tenth day of Ramadan hit, the first third, she was feeling over-confident, and her motivation started to wane – just a little. She decided to give herself a break – just for one day.

BAM – the last ten days are approaching faster than she imagined; the first ten days surely hadn’t been so fast had they?  She felt guilty, having become lax with her goals and fell further behind than she would’ve dreamed, her to-do list now piling up. Her motivation was pretty much a thing of the past, and she had to struggle and fight to try to catch up. She felt despair…would she be able to make the most out of the last ten days like she’d originally hoped?

Many of us face a similar, if not the same, situation as Nabiha. We start off Ramadan all excited, rearing to go, only to crash and burn before the end has even arrived, feeling unmotivated with the idea of ‘throwing in the towel’ becoming more and more appealing as the days speed by.

A common mistake that we make is setting unrealistic goals that are general and broad.  After falling into this same trap time and time again, in countless situations a wise teacher taught me how to make SMART goals. Which means making your goals:

 S – specific, significant

Make sure that your goal is well defined and that it’s clear to anyone has basic knowledge of your goal.

M – measurable, meaningful, motivational

Measure whether it’s obtainable and how far away is the completion.

A – attainable, achievable, action orientated

Make sure you can actually achieve your goal within the set measured time that you’ve set above.

R – realistic, reasonable, result-orientated

That you can realistically do it with your given resources available, taking your level of comittment into account.

T – time based

Make sure you have enough time to complete your goal and not too much time as this can affect your project performance.

One valuable lesson my mom taught me was to eat my ‘Elephant’, goal,  bite by bite rather than trying to swallow it whole. As we can undoubtedly vouch from experience, it’s extremly easy to get overwhelmed by looking at the big picture. Even though the last ten days of Ramadan are almost here, it’s not too late to re-evaluate your goals and readjust your plan, using the SMART template above as a guide.

Tahajjud: its excellence and benefits

Abu Huraira (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “The best month for observing fast after Ramadhan is muharram, and the best salah after the prescribed salah is salah at night”

As servants of Allah, we should be always seeking ways of getting closer our Lord, and Islam teaches us that one of the easiest ways in which we can ignite a connection with Allah and grow closer to Him, is through the night prayer. When is the last time any of us left our beds for the sake of Allah, and stood in the depths of the night to pray? Last Ramadhan? Before an exam? Maybe there hasn’t even been a first time, and yet it is a beautiful act of worship with a huge amount of reward.

Salah, in general, is one of the most important actions a servant must perform in our religion, we know, it is the second pillar of Islam after the shahada (testimony), and this highlights its significance. Tahajjud is one of the supererogatory prayers we are constantly advised to perform, it is one of those actions that, when performed, enables us to become amongst the individuals mentioned in this beautiful qudsi hadith: Narrated on the authority of Abu Dhar: Allah’s Messenger said that Allah said: “He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand’s span, I will draw close to him an arm’s length. And whoever draws near Me an arm’s length, I will draw near him a fathom’s length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me.” [Muslim]

This act is a beautiful deed which Allah swt loves. Just imagine, during the night when the world has settled and people are caught up in their sleep, you arise and begin to pray, you’re one of the very few servants of Allah who do this. Calmness and serenity settles within you because you are alone with Allah, you worship Him, remember Him, make dua to Him. Due to the night’s calm atmosphere and silence, you genuinely feel a sense of comfort. The Prophet (sallAllahu alaihi wa sallam) said: “The Lord descends every night to the lowest heaven when one-third of the night remains and says: ‘Who will call upon Me, that I may answer Him? Who will ask of Me, that I may give him? Who will seek My forgiveness, that I may forgive him?”. What an incredible hadith subhanAllah! It is sad to think that so many of us miss this amazing opportunity because we choose sleep over prayer, and contrary to what Muslims believe, this act of worship is not tiring or difficult in anyway, in fact once it becomes a habit, it will be something you will find difficult to live without.

Praying tahajud is also one of the most excellent ways of manifesting your gratitude towards Allah swt and the uncountable blessings He has bestowed in your life. One of the best hadith that illustrates this is the one that follows: Aishah (May Allah be pleased with her) reported: The Prophet (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) kept standing (in prayer) so long that the skin of his feet would crack. I asked him: “Why do you do this, while you have been forgiven of your former and latter sins?” He said, “Should I not be a grateful slave of Allah?” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim] This hadith teaches us so much, the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, despite not possessing much, acknowledged the blessings of Allah swt upon Him, and stood in prayer until his skin got affected to show his gratitude to His lord, what excuse do we have? Our blessings are so much that it is impossible to count them,  “If you were to count Allah’s favors, you would not be able to number them; most surely humanity is very unjust, very ungrateful.” [Sūrah Ibrāhīm: 34] this verse should soften our hearts, and make us feel ashamed when we compare our ungrateful attitude towards Allah’s generosity towards us. Even though it would realistically impossible to thank Allah for all His blessings, let us implement the action of the prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam, and pray tahajud as way of showing some gratitude towards Allah.

Ramadan is near – Stay active and keep worshiping

As children, the phrase: “Ramadan is coming” brought joy to our hearts. Knowing that Ramadan was a month where we have guest, delicious food, night trips to the mosque; where family and friends come together to fully appreciate this unforgettable month. As children we didn’t pay much attention to what we were supposed to do and not to do, but as we’re getting older, we’re realising that Ramadhan is much more than Maghrib  countdowns and good family vibes, and sometimes we may be confused with what to do as we become young adults.

Many of us are focused on the food and inviting guests during this month, to the point that we miss the actual benefits of Ramadan. We get caught up in an everyday routine and we forget the actual purpose; to praise Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, in Ramadan, which is a widespread problem in our Ummah today .

Things to do in Ramadan

  • Sleep at night, not the day

It’s easy to get your nights and days turned around as you get up to prepare Suhur before Fajr and pray Taraweeh in the Masjids after Isha’. Make it your goal to not be amongst those who waste precious hours in the day and find ways to keep yourself occupied during the daytime i.e reading Quran, make dua, etc.

  • Try to be active during the day by worshiping Allah and increasing your deeds

When preparing for this Ramandan make a goal list. Think about the type of person you desire to be and pick a few characteristics or deeds and break it down into obtainable goals and work on them this Ramadan. One such goal may be to indulge in less screen time and social media. Choose goals that will help you fill your day and try and stay off that phone until after iftaar.

  • When you cook, try to spend less time in the kitchen. Eat light foods and make easy meals so that Taraweeh isn’t difficult and you can worship Allah at night

Remember that Ramadan is not the month of ‘feasting’ but rather a month of training and endurance against your Nafs, self/desires, a vital stepping stone for helping you build your relationship with Allah, subhanah wa ta’ala, throughout the year. Eating a lot and ‘feasting’ will leave you tired and overly full making Taraweeh extremely difficult. This can lead to missing out on such a golden opportunity for gathering rewards.

  • When the last 10 day have approached, don’t spend all your time preparing for Eid.

The greatest rewards are in the last ten days, espically Laylatul Qadr, a day that is better  than a thousand months – that is longer than most people live. As stated in Surrah al-Qadar(97):3: “The Night of Decree is better than a thousand months”

A night wherein Allah sent down the Qur’ân to the lowest heavens. Our good deeds on this special night are magnified in value, so that it is as if we have been offering those deeds for 1000 months.

  • Increase in kindness to those around you. Give your fellow Muslim brothers and sisters their rights.

Use this blessed and beloved month as your training ground to becoming a better version of yourself and choose take the high road when provoked by others.

  • Keep yourself hydrated and satisfied when eating and drinking (make soups to maximize on hydration) and help your mum in the kitchen or around the house.

Staying active during Ramadan

Health! We all spend time trying to get to a body size, that we wish to be, or just want to eat healthy in general. Making time to workout during Ramadan can be difficult especially when you’re fasting and want to make time to sleep before getting up for suhoor.  The following is a solution that you can implement during this Ramadan:

  1. You can workout 1-2 hours before Isha  or before Fajr
  2. After taraweeh you can rest until 1-2 hours before suhoor and then you can workout.

It’s important to remember that spiritual and physical health are both vitally important and therefore we should strike a balance, all the while not forgetting the true purpose of Ramadan. Use this beautiful and blessed month as your training ground to prepare both and insha’Allah, by the end of the month you will see the fruits or your hard work.

 

Staying away from Music

Music. Something that the youth is freely hearing these days, sometimes we come up with excuses like: “it is just a song” or “what is the big deal?”, ignoring the fact that it’s haram without exception in Islam.

Growing up in Saudi Arabia, I’ve noticed that Music is something which both adults and youth listen to, which is a shame considering Saudi is a Muslim country.

I’ve spoken to people who talk about Allah and the Quran, prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings he upon him) but at the same time they’ll say things like “I’m not sure why when I was growing up my teacher would say Music is haram” eventhough Islam provides a clear explanation for this issue.

The point is, as Muslims we have to try our best to obey the rules of Islam, not taking the ones we agree with and leaving the ones we disagree with. It is not a matter of opinion, but it is what Allah has told us to do.

So if you are somewhere or with someone, and music is being played, do not be afraid to say: “can you please turn that down” or “can you please turn that off” and explain why you are making this request. Dawah is something we are obligated to do, and it is not solely for non-muslims, we too are in need of the remembrance. Do not feel embarrassed or awkward, and do not feel concerned about them judging you, we are here to worship Allah swt, and we should continuously strive enjoin the good and forbid the evil regardless of the situation we are in.

We should encourage ourselves to develop a relationship with the Quran, as when we have the words of Allah with us, we will find that they suffice and we need nothing more.

This is an Ayah that always sticks with me when I am thinking or talking about this subject –

﴿شَهِدَ عَلَيْهِمْ سَمْعُهُمْ وَأَبْصَـرُهُمْ وَجُلُودُهُم بِمَا كَانُواْ يَعْمَلُونَ﴾
(their hearing (ears) and their eyes and their skins will testify against them as to what they used to do.) means, all their deeds, earlier and later; not a single letter will be concealed.

The Noble Qur’an – Luqman 31:6

And of mankind is he who purchases idle talks (i.e. music, singing, etc.) to mislead (men) from the Path of Allah without knowledge, and takes it (the Path of Allah, the Verses of the Qur’an) by way of mockery. For such there will be a humiliating torment (in the Hell-Fire).

And this hadith:

Hadith – Bukhari 7:494

Narrated Abu ‘Amir or Abu Malik Al-Ash’ari that he heard the Prophet saaws saying,

“From among my followers there will be some people who will consider illegal sexual intercourse, the wearing of silk, the drinking of alcoholic drinks, and the use of musical instruments as lawful. And (from them), there will be some who will stay near the side of a mountain, and in the evening their shepherd will come to them with their sheep and ask them for something, but they will say to him, ‘Return to us tomorrow.’ Allah will destroy them during the night and will let the mountain fall on them, and Allah will transform the rest of them into monkeys and pigs and they will remain so till the Day of Resurrection.”

Dua: its virtue and importance

Dua (supplication to Allah) is one of the many gifts Allah swt has bestowed upon His slaves. It captures the very essence of eebadah and Tawheed, and it is an act which Our Lord loves. The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “Nothing is more honourable to Allah the Most High than dua’a” [sahih al jami no.5268], illustrating that it is an action which holds much significance in our religion. To highlight this further, in another hadith, rasul sallallahu alayhi wasalam said: “The most excellent worship is dua’a” [sahih al-jami no.1133] and once again, this shows its importance. Like many things in Islam, the topic of dua’a is broad, it can be tackled from different angles and discussed in length. The purpose of this post is to encourage Muslims to remember this act of worship, and to make it something that we consistently perform in our day to day lives. I will discuss some of the benefits of dua’a below.

A believer is always in need of Allah. Whether we are going through hardship, or our lives are running smoothly, it is in our nature to need Allah: “O mankind! It is you who stand in need of Allah, but Allah is Rich (free of wants and needs) Worthy of All Praise”, notice that in this verse Allah is not solely addressing His slaves, but the whole of mankind, illustrating that it is the entire human race is in need of Our Creator. When we need something from Allah, we ask Him by way of dua: “Ask Allah for everything, even the lace of your shoes. If Allah does not provide, it will never be available.” [Ibn al-sunni, no.349- hassan. Supported by at-Tirmidhi and others.] SubhanAllah! The prophet sallallahu alayhi wasalam is telling us to ask for everything, even something as small as a shoelace, because Allah swt is the All Provider. At this stage in your life, there may be things which you are desperate to have, have you considered asking Allah for them? Perhaps you consider it impossible to acquire, but it is important for us to think positive about Allah. Recognize that everything is in His hands, and that He can make the impossible possible. “And He will provide for Him from places he never imagined. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient.” [surah at-Talaq]

Dua is one of the ways through which we build our connection with Allah, it is a means by which we can grow closer to Him. A beautiful feeling settles upon a believer when he realises that Allah has responded to his request. A similar feeling should occur when Allah doesn’t respond, it could be that He is saving you from something great that you do know of or realise. Allah swt says: “And it may be that you dislike a thing which is good for you and that you like a thing which is bad for you. And Allah knows but you do not know.” This verse brings comfort to a believer, knowing that whatever situation he finds himself in, then it is good for him. It could be, for example, that you want to marry a specific person. You ask Allah for that person but you don’t end up having them, before you become frustrated and upset at your Lord’s decree, take into consideration that He may be saving you from something great. We do not see or know what Allah swt Sees and Knows, from your perspective, this person is your dream spouse. However, Allah knows that he/she will make your life a misery if you end up with them, for example. He/she might not be able to offer you that happiness you want from them. It could be that this spouse was in fact okay, but Allahs swt has someone even better for you. A balance of patience and trust is what it takes, and do not worry because beautiful things await.

This life tires us. Some of us may not even be able to remember the last time we felt peace and tranquillity, everything from money to studies to kids stresses us. Dua’a is a relief from distress, worry and anxiety. When you make dua’a, you are settling your affairs with Allah, acknowledging that He has power over everything, and that He can make a way out of every stressful situation for you. Dua’a is an action, it is something that prophets and messenger always performed, and we see the benefit of this action as we read the Quran. They called upon Allah, He answered and helped them in unimaginable ways subhanAllah.

And so, brothers and sisters, I urge you to always make dua’a to Allah whether your life is running smoothly or you find yourself in a hard situation. Settle your affairs with him, and always remember to make dua’a for yourself, friends and family for the hereafter. When you see the Muslims being oppressed and harmed, do not feel hopeless at the fact that you cannot physically do something to help them, grant them your dua’as. Allah is in control after all, and you would be surprised the change that one dua’a can bring.

Hijab: trends or Islam?

One of the most beautiful things legislated in Islam for Muslim women is hijab. Contrary to what many people believe, the hijab is not merely a piece of cloth that we drape over ourselves as a symbol of oppression. It is not something we wear because we are forced to by male guardians, or because we have no rights. The hijab is worn because Allah (subhana wa ta’ala) has commanded us to wear it, it a reflection of our inner faith, and manifestation of our Islamic identity.

For many of us young women, wearing the appropriate hijab is a struggle. Sadly, we are not replicating the attitude of the female companions, who instantly wore it upon having the ayah of Quran revealed to them: “And tell the believing women to lower their gaze and guard their modesty, and not to display their adornment except that which appears ordinarily thereof, and to draw their veils over their necks and bosoms…”. Rather, the hijab has become a kind of fashion statement for us. Many Muslim women observe it in a way that completely contradicts its intended modest purpose. Scholars (may Allah have mercy upon them) have written at length concerning hijab and how it should be worn, we have no excuses nor are we deprived of the knowledge; rather we are purposely making the choice and jumping into the bandwagon of trends, allowing societal standards to corrupt our Islamic identities. We have become ashamed of being distinguished, modest women.

Knowing Allah, and understanding some of the wisdom behind laws in Islam is essential if we want carry out the actions commanded by Allah. When you learn more about hijab, its revelation and benefits, you will be drawn to wear it always and proudly.

Observing the hijab enables us to become closer to Allah, we are performing a good deed by wearing it for His sake, and Allah loves that His slaves obey Him. Hijab symbolises liberation and freedom, we distinguish ourselves from other women. We don’t abide by fashion trends which other humans have decided, nor do we feel the need to copy or imitate. We are proud to wear that which the Creator has ordained, and not the creation.

By wearing hijab, we are judged by our intelligence and intellect because our beauty is shielded. In a society that is so fixated on ensuring that women look good, and judges you by your appearance, we are an exception to rule. People have no choice but judge us based on our conduct and speech, and not appearance.

Hijab is a type of shield and barrier against evil. We do not put ourselves in a vulnerable position by wearing immodest clothing and displaying too much of our body, thereupon looking appealing to men, being looked at or worse than that. We treat our bodies like jewels concealed in treasure boxes, they are not displayed whatsoever.

Another benefit is that our Islamic identities, which we should be very proud of, are manifested. Anyone can distinguish a doctor or policeman for example, because of the outfit they wear. Likewise, people can distinguish Muslim women based on their hijab. I once read a quote that goes as follows: “So what if their beauty is a topic in magazines? yours is a topic in the Quran!”, subhanAllah! If we understood the Greatness of Allah, and valued Islam as it should be valued, we would strive to expose our Islamic identities as ordained in the Quran and sunnah. We would not be afraid nor embarrassed about wearing other than what fashion commands, knowing that our brand is straight from the sunnah.

And so I remind myself, and my sisters to take care about Hijab and how we treat it, as mentioned above it is not merely a piece of cloth which we drape upon ourselves, it is a command from our lord. An outfit decided by Allah Himself, we should take care to wear it exactly as He wants, and encourage other women in the ummah to do so as well.

Your choice

We all want a fresh start on the first day of a new year as we set goals and try to accomplish them before the year ends. This can be a big step for some people as it is hard setting something, sticking by it and being motivated to fulfill that particular goal or task. No matter what day, month or year you start, it will always be the beginning of an adventure. This is even true if you start at the end of the month or middle of the year, because you’re taking the steps towards change and working to accomplish a goal that motivates you.

As Allah says in the Quran: “Indeed Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” 13:11

You can try t0 finish the Quran, go rock climbing or even sky diving. Whatever you decide, go crazy about your goals and put your trust in Allah. There is no limit as to how much adventure you can have as long as you keep your Islamic responsibilities in mind.

It’s important to note that Allah is in control of your life, but so are you. When setting goals try to make them worth your time, because life is too short for regret. Keep in mind that sometimes you may have to do tasks that you don’t like in order to achieve your objectives. However, don’t despair and allow such things get you down or stop you from reaching your end goal. 

One such time in my life, I wanted to buy myself an iPod that cost 1000 Saudi riyals (not to sure about the exact price but it was around 1000 riyals) and I only had 20! The reason why I wanted to buy an iPod was because I wanted to treat myself instead of always spending my money on makeup. It seemed impossible to reach my goal and I was about to give up as my self-made deadline was just three months away. Alhamdulillah, my mother made a deal with me agreeing that she would pay me 500 riyals if I made her 30 smoothies. Keeping my end goal in mind, this was a great deal and so just 2 months later I had earned 500 riyals. It happened so fast I couldn’t believe it SubhanAllah. Allah had opened the doors and made it so easy for me to earn the money that I needed. 

Sometimes you might feel as if you’re not able to perform a particular task or goal. It’s easy to feel like this because what we’re trying to accomplish is very new and we are human and prone to feeling emotions of doubt as we’re overwhelmed by the big picture of things. 

As Ibnul Qayyim (may Allah have mercy on him) once said: “Never does Allah, in His Wisdom, close a door upon a servant, except that He opens, from His Mercy, two other doors.”

So have trust in Allah, take the first step and always make your tasks and goals worth the while, and Insha’Allah, Allah will open doors that you could never even possibly imagine and give you the advantages you desire.

It’s never too late

So, we’re at that time of year again and you’re thinking: “I didn’t get that done last year, so it’s going to be the same this year” Well that is in Allah’s hands. It’s entirely up to us to push for the things we want to do, and achieve our goals. Don’t sit around thinking you can’t do it, when you can! Don’t let the past affect your future. Try and make the best of what you have and in shaa Allah with time you’ll be where you want to be and achieve what you want.

Even if you don’t get it done on the first day, first week or even first month you just have to believe in yourself and know that you can do it, and there is nothing wrong with taking your time. All it takes is patience, motivation, trust and belief. Allah (SWT) is the best of planners and you just have to put your trust in Him, and know it will work out and be fine in the end, in shaa Allah.

This past year, I’ve learnt so much about reaching goals and achieving them. In my experience, I find it really helps to plan your days and even keep a checklist of things you want to get done to keep yourself accountable. I’ve found that it’s also extremely important to not be too hard on yourself, and assign too many tasks or goals to accomplish in such a short time when you’re first starting out. It’s best to take things step by step and have a couple of things during the day and achieve them, and as you work up the motivation and habit of fulfilling your goals, you can then broaden your horizon to achieve more each day.

Another great tip is to wake up early. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) prayed to Allah to grant abundance to the Ummah in their early mornings:”O Allah, bless my nation in their early mornings (i.e. what they do early in the morning)” (Sunan Ibn Majah)

We can attest to this as the early mornings are much more productive and rejuvenating, and it is so much easier to get the work done, having more hours in the day and a bright start. Doing this won’t only kick-start your day, it’ll also leave you with a feeling of accomplishment, as you’ll then have time later that day to do things that you enjoy.

Also, pull your friends and family into your goal. Tell them your ideas and include them in on your plan. This will motivate you to get it done and will also help you keep yourself accountable to achieve your dreams, as they can help give you that push you need every once in a while!

Remember do not despair as you have not failed until you quit trying and always remember to put your trust in Allah as Allah states in the Quran: “And in Allah (Alone) let the believers put their trust” 14:11

 

The Secret of Today

When we’re young we’re often asked a seemingly simple question. What do you want to be when you grow up? As kids we can think of a million things we want to be: superheroes, firefighters, veterinarians, doctors perhaps even florists, nothing was impossible to our little minds. Then we grow up and the reality of the world hits us as we’re asked the same question—that used to fill us with joy and games to play for hours as we ran around the house roleplaying our destiny—but now the same question freezes our mind. Sure, we may have a slight idea, a dream, but then we’re plagued with doubt.

Is it really right for me?

Can I actually accomplish it?

Will I really get there?

These thoughts, unfortunately for many, often lead to anxiety and stress, as we envision who we want to be…but we don’t know how to get there, how to achieve it, and again can I? We spend all day worrying about it, which naturally leads us to taking no steps at all because we can’t think of anything but the next step, which still remains a mystery. Then after some time passes, a week, a month, sometimes a year we look back and realize all the time we’ve wasted worrying, being anxious and realize that we’re not any closer to becoming that person we dream to become. However, what most don’t recognize is that the secret of becoming that person starts with our today.

We tend to live in this dilemma of regret of the past and anxiety of the future and we forget to live in our today. We fret over what we can’t change (yesterday) and we stress over what may never happen (tomorrow) to the point that we no longer have a today. Today is a gift from Allah SWT with no promise of tomorrow as stated by Ibn Umar:

When morning comes don’t expect to live until evening and when evening comes, don’t expect to live until morning.”

Meaning: Take advantage of the time you have in your hand and don’t worry about tomorrow until/if it comes.

One of the things most people take for granted is their youth. As youth, we are mostly free from major responsibilities, like heading a household and paying the bills, and are full of energy, completely capable of doing so many things for the sake of Allah SWT and reaching our maximum potential. And yes, to answer your unspoken doubt, you can reach your maximum potential! See the secret is taking that goal, dream, potential, whatever you want to call it, bite by bite and doing a little bit of it today. Because when you spend your time making the best of the time you have in front of you, you’ll see that little bit you do today will build up and that over time will lead to those goals and that potential.

Anas ibn Malik reported: A man said, “O Messenger of Allah, should I tie my camel and trust in Allah, or should I leave her untied and trust in Allah?” The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Tie her and trust in Allah.” At Tirmidhi

In Islam, we’re taught to use our time wisely and to tie our camel, do our part and put your best effort in. Put in your best effort and work on your goal today and trust in Allah SWT. Trust that He will take care of that future that you are working so hard for.

And in Allah (Alone) let the believers put their trust” 14:11

Stop beating yourself up and realize that you are a work in progress, which means you will get there a little at a time and not all at once. Take note that the struggle that you’re going through today is indeed building the strength that you need for tomorrow and that no matter how hard we try, it’s impossible to escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today. Make the most of your today because as they say: “yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present.”

Take hold of that enthusiasm that you had when you were a kid and make this year’s resolution one to put your best effort in, trust the future to Allah SWT and make the most of your today.

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