What makes you so special?

D30:

#Isteqamat

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To doubt your piety is the real essence of piety.
After asking Allah to guide you to the straight path, don’t just stand there … start walking!

When we help religion, we end up helping ourselves.

Look, you’re working, you’re working. Whether it’s for good or bad, you’re working hard in this life. You might as well make it count before it’s too late. Live for Him.

‘O mankind, indeed you are laboring toward your Lord with [great] exertion and will meet Him’ 84:6

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“Oh my servants, all of you are misguided. ⁣

Except whom I guide.” (Muslim) ⁣

A line from a hadith so powerful that Imam Al-Nawawi includes it in his 40 hadith collection. It begs a profound question, ⁣

“What makes you so special?” ⁣

What makes you so special that the light of faith was turned on in you? ⁣

What makes you any different than the thousands of people around you who still walk in darkness?⁣

What made it that you are guided, and Abu Talib, the one who raised the Prophet ﷺ was not?⁣

And when you realize that you’re not special, other than Allah bestowed on you this incredible gift of guidance, it invokes humility. ⁣

And gratitude. ⁣

And fear. Fear that your light may flicker when you need it most. Or that it die out. ⁣

Of the Prophet ﷺ most consistent prayers was, ⁣

“Oh turner of hearts, make my heart firm upon your religion.” Even the prophet ﷺ is asking for steadfastness constantly. ⁣

Abdullah Ibn Umar, the great companion and son of Umar ibn Al-Khattab, stood in Hajj saying, ⁣

“”O Allah, You have said, ‘call on Me – I will answer you’ and You do not break Your promise. So I am asking You, in the same way that You have guided me to Islam, not to take it away from me until you take my life while I am a Muslim.”

That’s the worry of a companion who lived in the Prophet’s footsteps. ⁣

We say 17 times a day, “Guide us to the straight path.” ⁣


There is no level of service to the religion or knowledge that you acquire where you are not in need of making this request. ⁣

So let us be humble, grateful, and fearful..⁣

but also hopeful. ⁣


Because the hadith continues with a promise. ⁣

“Oh my servants, all of you are misguided, except whom I guide,⁣

so ask Me for guidance and I will guide you.” ⁣


These are the days of accepted prayers, may Allah gift us a guidance that illuminates us until we meet Him.⁣

“Verily, those who say: “Our Lord is Allah,” and thereafter stand firm, on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.” [46: 13]

Subhan’Allah, this verse is *so* apt for our current time and era. Istiqamah (remaining steadfast) is something that people struggle and grapple with in their lives. Some win, some continue in the battle, and some unfortunately will lose the fight. Sufyan (ra) once came to the Prophet (s) and said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about Islam which I can ask of no one but you.” Imagine. The Prophet (s) could’ve told him about the intricate details of Islam, or the articles of faith, but at this particular moment, he decided to give him a lifelong lesson and advice. He (pbuh) said, ‘Say: “I believe in Allah” — and then be steadfast.‘” [Muslim]

Tell yourself to be upright. Inform your soul of its Creator. Remind yourself of where you’re going because steadfastness is everything. Islam is simple in many ways, but remaining upon simplicity is something people struggle with for some reason. So we go this way, and we go that way. We overburden ourselves, and then fall very short. We study but don’t implement. We know, but make excuses. We’re too harsh and then go off the rails ourselves. It’s a complete mess subhan’Allah – and much of it comes down to this: We lack steadfastness, particularly upon the simplicity and basics of Islam.

If ever you begin to experience doubts or weakness in faith, do everything that is in your power to escape that weakness and strive like you’ve never strove before until Allah saves you.

The righteous before us always used to say رب سلم سلم – ‘My Lord, grant me salvation. My Lord, grant me salvation.’

Sufyan was described as being like one who was upon a sinking ship because of how much he used to say this statement. Brothers and sisters, your Iman is your most prized possession. Every day, we are tested. And every day, Allah sends us signs. The heart and soul gather the blackness of evil thoughts, deeds, and intentions until they reach a state where they become an enemy to us, then it becomes a battle which only a few will triumph, إلا من رحم الله…

One of my favourite supplications is: اللهم لا تجعل المصيبة في ديننا ولا تجعل الدنيا أكبر همنا – ‘O Allah do not cause calamities to befall our Deen and do not make this world to be our greatest concern.’

Imagine if our greatest concern was the health of our Iman, and bond with our Maker? Your life would flourish in so many ways.

I find it very interesting that the verse above ends with

‘on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve.’

This is actually a statement given to the believer at the time of death and in the Hereafter. Yet here, Allah links it to steadfastness in this world. In other words, remain steadfast upon belief, and all shall be easy through life, death, and resurrection insha’Allah. As the next verse goes: “Such shall be the dwellers of Paradise, abiding eternally, as a reward *for what they used to do*.” [46: 14] – And there lies many an answer.

O Allah, save us from the trials of this world and beyond. Keep us steadfast upon your Deen and upon righteousness until we meet You, ameen.

Consistency!

Mental Health & seeking Laylatul Qadr: do you sometimes feel intense anxiety during your worship in the last ten nights of Ramadan? I do. I often feel like there’s no way I can do enough. I’m losing hours, which could be equal to months. It’s painful — and I don’t think this is what worshipping Allah should feel like.

If this resonates with you — then I’m not the only one feeling this 🙂

Allah tells us that the worship of Laylatul Qadr is better than a thousand months. But Allah doesn’t break down the reward by the minute and second as some well-meaning Instagramers post left and right.

In Tirmidhi, we read the following story: Then, he led us in prayer on the fifth until half of the night had gone. We said to him: ‘O Messenger of Allah! Wouldn’t you lead us in prayer for the remainder of the night?’ He said: ‘Indeed, whoever stands (praying) with the Imam until he finished, then it is recorded for him that he prayed the whole night.”

Allah’s Messenger, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, prayed. And when he prayed, he was satisfied.

He didn’t have this attitude of every second is worth a gazillion years of worship, so don’t even stop to blink — man I’m feeling anxious just thinking about that. Maybe it’s just me, is it just me freaking out? 🙂

He prayed, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam. And went home.

This Ramadan is especially hard because we’re all living under pandemic. Add to that intense feeling of anxiety that you’re going to miss out if you’re not worshipping 24/7. Add to that, some people might have to go to work the next day and don’t have the luxury of staying up all night. Add to that mothers and fathers who have kids running around all day not giving a sleep break to the adults who spent the whole night awake.

I’d like to propose a way to calm the anxiety, and bring you contentment and joy in your worship:

*stick to a consistent worship checklist*

If you get your personal worship checklist done for all of Ramadan’s last nights, then Alhamdulillah, you prayed on Laylatul Qadr!

A sample worship checklist may be as simple as this (and you can make your own):

o Pray 8 rakahs of Taraweeh
o Recite 10 pages of Quran
o Ask Allah for forgiveness 100x
o Make your personal Duas for 20 minutes
o Make your Hereafter Duas for 20 minutes
o Make Dua for the Ummah and others for 20 minutes
o Pray Witr

And just be consistent. And enjoy your worship.

Even if you up your worship in the last ten, you can still use a checklist – just make it longer or put more (manageable) stuff on it.

When you get your checklist done, it’s ok to chat or nap or chill. Your mind and your emotions need to relax to function healthily.

Was this helpful? I needed to bring this up to calm some of my own anxieties, and I hope it brings some calm to others. What are your thoughts?

-Sh. Muhammad alShareef

Be Proactive

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Mindset of a Believer: I want Allah to use me to do good, I want to be an instrument in spreading Allah’s Mercy

Attitude of a Mu’min: Always proactive. Bringing benefit wherever he goes!

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I remember reading this definition of the word ‘tomorrow’ – a mythical land where 99% of all human productivity, motivation and achievment is stored. 🤣🤣

We only get one life and we spend so much time talking ourselves out of doing things. We need to embrace life and get past procrastination. Rewarding ourselves is a great way to help with this.

– Get past procrastination by writing down your goals with a deadline.

– Use visualization to help you with your goals.

– Hold yourself to account and importantly – reward yourself for your progress.

#positivemind #positivelife #abundancemindset #growthmindset #positiveaffirmations #selfcarematters #highperformance #motivation #implementation #livelearnlead

Deeds to Habit

D11:

#Accountability

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With blessings comes responsibility. With responsibilities comes accountability.

A key lesson that Islam requires us to practice in every aspect of our lives.

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** Success vs failure – Accountability **

Accountability comes as part of any job description, and your Ramadan mustn’t be made an exception.

Umar Ibnul Khattaab said: “Hold yourselves accountable before you are held accountable, and weigh up your good deeds before they are weighed for you, for your reckoning will be easier tomorrow if you start with yourself today. Beautify your deeds in preparation for the grand presentation before Allah, on a day where you shall be exposed. Not a secret of yours shall be hidden.”

It really isn’t sufficient to just tell ourselves, “I need to hold myself accountable”. More is needed; a review session, where you check in with yourself and actively ask some difficult questions;

What have I done well this Ramadan?

What must be improved?

What should I have avoided?

Maymoon Ibnu Mahraan said:

“The station of righteousness cannot be attained till one is harsher in his self-accountability than that of two business partners.”

They knew that this approach will not only ease their accountability on the Day of Reckoning tomorrow, but will also enhance their performance as worshippers of Allah today.

How do I hold myself accountable? What does it look like? Here is a suggestion:

(1) Start by filling the holes in your obligatory acts of worship.

“Are my five daily prayers still lacking?”
“Is my Zakaah yet to be issued?”
“Am I still neglecting the book of Allah?”

(2) Then, move onto true repentance from the existing sins.

“Am I yet to quit my prohibited addictions?”
“Is my Hijaab & public presentation of myself still lacking?”
“Is my fall-out with such and such yet to be amended?”
“Am I yet to learn how to fear Allah and lower my gaze?”
“Am I yet to purify my income from the prohibited?”

(3) Then, move onto the levels of excellence.

“How often does my heart tremble at Allah’s remembrance?”
“Am I wasting too much time?”
“Do I have a plan of daily Islamic learning?”
“Am I yet to crave the moments of privacy with Him?”
“Is my worship still one of a tick-box exercise?”
“Am I yet to prepare a project for my hereafter?”

In the experience of every professional, accountability is the single biggest differentiator between successful and unsuccessful outcomes.

Ramadan is a preparation

** Preparing full-timers **

Now that we’re three days into Ramadan, it’s usually around now where the initial hype of Ramadan begins to dampen.

Tonight, cast a quick glance around you at the Masjid during the night prayer, and you’ll probably realise that numbers have in fact started to dwindle.

It therefore comes as no surprise why Laylatul Qadr/The Night of Decree – the most rewarding night of the year – hasn’t been placed in the beginning of Ramadan, but during its end.

This, on its own, is a treasure of a lesson that Ramadan teaches its students year in year out;

Being a *consistently* practicing Muslim, during both Ramadan and after Ramadan, is what Allah wants from us.

As Imam Ibnu Taymiyyah said,

أعظم الكرامة لزوم الاستقامة

“The peak of *all* honour is in Istiqaama/ steadfastness”

It’s true.

So many started off with the Hijab then later abandoned it, and many started planning for an Islamic project then gave up, and many started as very adherent Muslims then their views changed. Similarly, many start Ramadan with huge enthusiasm, then it changes.

Ramadan is a preparation –

A preparation of full-timers.

O Allah, allow us to live and die upon Islam, and allow this Ramadan to seal the deal.

-Ustadh Ali H.

Your Faith Wears Out

Think of your favorite shirt. It fades slightly each time you wash it, and will eventually wear out if you don’t take proper care of it. Faith is the same way – but unlike a piece of clothing, it’s the most valuable asset you have. Without faith, you have nothing. Use this du’aa to ask Allah to renew your faith.

Abdullah ibn Amr reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the faith of one of you will diminish just as a shirt becomes worn out, so ask Allah to renew faith in your hearts.”

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

The great companion Abdullah ibn Mas`ud used to regularly pray, “O Allah, increase us in faith, certitude, and understanding (Allahumma zidna imana(n) wa yaqina(n) wa fiqha(n).” [Ibn Hajar, Fath al-Bari]

اللهم زدنا إيمانا ويقينا وفقهاً