Master Your Sleep

1. Master Your Sleep Routine:

Do you have a sleep routine? In this ProductiveMuslim.com article the ‘ideal’ ProductiveMuslim sleep routine is described that starts 90 minutes before you actually hit the bed. It goes like this:

9:30 P.M. – Wudhu & Witr
10:00 P.M. – Reading (Optional)
10:30 P.M. – Sleep Duas & Recitation of Quran
11:00 P.M. – Shut Eye!

The routine above helps you prepare for sleep both physically and spiritually and is from the guidance of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) and from certain personal development science findings. Try the above routine and let me know how you feel.

2. Master Your Sleep Cycle:

If you want to be a true sleep master, you need to understand and master your sleep cycle. We’ve described the sleep pattern in brief and different stages that one goes through when he/she sleeps. As a starting point, most people go through their entire sleep cycles in one hour and a half periods. Do your best to sleep a multiple of this, e.g. If you sleep at 11 P.M. and need to wake up at 4:00 A.M. for Suhoor, you should technically sleep for 3×1.5 hours and wake up at 3.30 AM.

Now sometimes, you wake up a bit too early from the intended time. In the example above, you wake up at 3:30 A.M. when you really need to wake up at 4 A.M. Rather than ignoring your sleep pattern and trying to sleep right through to 4 A.M. and thus waking up in the middle of your sleep cycle – which can be difficult, my suggestion would be to wake up at 3:30 A.M., get out of bed, move around a bit, then go back to sleep for another 20 minute nap till 4 A.M. What you’re doing here is: completely disconnecting one sleep pattern from the other.

3. Master Power Naps:

Nothing beats a ‘20 minute nap’ for a true energy booster, and this works in Ramadan and outside Ramadan. If you’re ever tired and need some rest but don’t want to sleep too much, take a 20 minute nap (make sure you stick to 20 minutes!) and you’ll wake up totally refreshed. I’ll be honest, there’s only 1 way to master ‘20 minute naps’: practice, practice, practice! The more you practice, the better you’ll become at it. There are certain softwares and audio files that can help you practice this (e.g. www.pzizz.com) but once you master this technique, you wouldn’t need any software or audio files.

Regarding the best time to nap, there’s a couple of time slots that are known from the Sunnah:

1. Between Azan and Iqama of Fajr
2. Before/After Dhuhur

4. Master Your Body:

Mastering sleep is all about mastering the relationship between you and your body and what it needs. Make sure you’re not too strict upon your body that it shuts down or gets ill, thus refusing to work with you (happens at times!) or too relaxed with your body that sleep simply takes over your life. Treat your body as you treat a child: always listen to it, but never do what it always tells you to do but do what’s right for it.

Few other pointers regarding sleep, the following pointers would help improve your quality of sleep, which is very important during Ramadan and beyond:

When NOT to sleep!

The following times have been advised for us NOT to sleep in, either from the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon Him) or scholars: between true dawn (when the time for Fajr salah sets in) and sunrise, between Maghrib and Isha, and after Asr prayer.

Sleep positions

It is recommended to sleep on the right side while facing the Qibla and keeping the right hand placed under the right cheek as per the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him). Sleeping on the left side or lying on the stomach is disliked and thus should be avoided.

Always sleep with wudhu

It is also important to maintain cleanliness when sleeping. We should: ”Sweep the beds at the time of sleeping, so that any harmful insects settled in it may be thrown away and you may remain safe from harm.” It is a good idea to sweep your pillow. Also:

– Brush your teeth
– Go to the bathroom
– Cleanse yourself from sweat and unpleasant odors before sleeping
– Make wudhu

Author “The Productive Muslim: Where Faith Meets Productivity”

Actions are by their endings

**Horses are not better than us!**

It’s true. You and I may have not had the best Ramadan so far.

Perhaps we’re still struggling with certain habits, perhaps hearts are still rock solid, perhaps laziness hasn’t changed much, and perhaps eyes remain tear-less, but there is worse;

To doubt the enormous opportunity that’s now ahead of you to, not only catch up, but outshine others as well and be written amongst the eternally happy ones with Allah.

Imam Ibnul Jawzi said,

ﺇﻥ ﺍﻟﺨﻴﻞ ﺇﺫﺍ ﺷﺎﺭﻓﺖ ﻧﻬﺎﻳﺔ ﺍﻟﻤﻀﻤﺎﺭ ﺑﺬﻟﺖ ﻗﺼﺎﺭﻯ ﺟﻬﺪﻫﺎ ﻟﺘﻔﻮﺯ ﺑﺎﻟﺴﺒﺎﻕ .. ﻓﻼ ﺗﻜﻦ ﺍﻟﺨﻴﻞ ﺃﻓﻄﻦ ﻣﻨﻚ !ﻓﺈﻧﻤﺎ ﺍﻷﻋﻤﺎﻝ ﺑﺎﻟﺨﻮﺍﺗﻴﻢ ..ﻓﺈﻧﻚ ﺇﺫﺍ ﻟﻢ ﺗﺤﺴﻦ ﺍﻻﺳﺘﻘﺒﺎﻝ ﻟﻌﻠﻚ ﺗﺤﺴﻦ ﺍﻟﻮﺩﺍﻉ

“When horses race and draw close to the finish line, they exert their maximum to win. Therefore do not allow horses to be wiser than you! Actions are by their endings and thus if you didn’t do too well in the reception, perhaps you may do well in the farewell!”

Ahead of you are the last ten nights of Ramadan, which means that the finish line is now so close. This is when hearts must break like never before at the doorstep of Allah, and if you’re true to Him then rest assured that you shall not be disadvantaged by your slow start in the least.

Ibnu Taymiyya said: ﺍﻟﻌﺒﺮﺓ ﺑﻜﻤﺎﻝ ﺍﻟﻨﻬﺎﻳﺎﺕ ﻻ ﺑﻨﻘﺺ ﺍﻟﺒﺪﺍﻳﺎﺕ

“What matters the most are excellent endings, not the faulty beginnings.”

Besides, in the example set by the Prophet Mohammad PBUH himself, his effort in the first 20 days of Ramadan was different to his effort to the last 10 days.

His wife, ‘Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) said:

كان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم يجتهد في رمضان ما لا يجتهد في غيره، وفي العشر الأواخر منه، ما لا يجتهد في غيره

“The Prophet’s PBUH effort in worship in the month of Ramadan was greater than in any other month, and his effort during the last 10 nights of Ramadan was greater than before it.”
(Narrated by Muslim)

So, why are you shooting yourself down?

Why are you closing a door that Allah has kept open?

Why are you conceding defeat when your Lord is still inviting you to succeed?

O Allah, make the best of our deeds the last of them, and make the best of our days those in which we finally meet You.

-Ust Ali H

Allah made the end of Ramaḍān better than its beginning because the soul is active in the beginning and weakens towards the end. And so the honest one remains steadfast and the hypocrite slackens, and to the extent of one’s īmān is his steadfastness.

Humility before Allah

** One of the toughest forms of worship **

It is one of the (1) most important acts of worship in the life of a Muslim, (2) one of the most neglected, and (3) one of the toughest acts of worship out there, one that demands immense training till one’s heart is positioned in its domain;

= I refer to Al-Khushoo’ / Humility before Allah.

This isn’t necessarily something you physically do nor is it limited to Salaah, but an inward state that envelops your heart around the clock.

It is to walk the earth whilst truly feeling in need of Allah, that you’re helpless without His assistance and paralysed without His aid.

It is when you raise your head from prostration only to realise that your heart is still prostrating. It is to buy, sell, converse and socialise with others, whilst your heart quietly calls out,

“O Allah, do not leave me to my own devises, I am at your mercy.”

“O Allah, pardon my shortcomings, You see what others don’t see.”

“O Allah, I have not worshipped You as You deserve to be worshipped.”

Consider the words of Imam Ibnul Qayyim who said,

دخلت على الله من أبواب الطاعات كلها ، فما دخلت من باب إلا رأيت عليه الزحام فلم أتمكن من الدخول

“I have tried drawing closer to Allah by entering every possible door of worship, but every time I approached a door, I found it congested with people, and so I was unable to enter..”

[In other words, the popular acts of worship like prayer, fasting, charity, Da’wah, Qur’an and their likes are practised by so many, Alhamdulillah, and so it’s hard to compete. He continues and says]

حتى جئت باب الذل والافتقار ، فإذا هو أقرب باب إليه وأوسعه ، ولا مزاحم فيه ولا معوق ، فما هو إلا أن وضعت قدمي في عتبته ، فإذا هو سبحانه قد أخذ بيدي وأدخلني عليه

“… until I approached the door of humility and bankruptcy to Allah, where I found that it was in fact the quickest and widest of all doors to Allah, but to my surprise, I realised that there wasn’t any congestion at it nor were there any barriers. I placed my foot inside and at once, I was taken by the hand and allowed to walk inside.”

Getting the outward form of worship on point is easy, but that inner state of desperation, humility, and genuine need of The King is, according to Ibnul Qayyim, the missing jigsaw piece in the lives of the masses, the piece that makes all the difference.

Honestly, it’s not all about appearances, eloquent sermons and carefully crafted Islamic posts, but it’s about that secret relationship that exists between you and Allah which nobody else sees. A single atoms worth of this quality is dearer to Allah than mountains worth of deeds that are machinelike.

Practically speaking, how is this wonder of an act of worship to be attained?

(1) By knowing Him

Imam Ibnul Qayyim said: من عرف الله أحبه ولا بد
“Whoever knows Allah has to love Allah.”

Make a conscious effort to rediscover The One whom you claim you worship through the Qur’an, through the study of his names and attributes, and watch how the Khushoo’ within you that had been asleep will slowly begin to reawaken.

(2) By thinking about Him

Allah said: أَوَلَمْ يَنْظُرُوا فِي مَلَكُوتِ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ وَمَا خَلَقَ اللَّهُ مِنْ شَيْءٍ

“Do they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth and all things that Allah has created..”

Allah said: قُلْ إِنَّمَا أَعِظُكُمْ بِوَاحِدَةٍ أَنْ تَقُومُوا لِلَّهِ مَثْنَى وَفُرَادَى ثُمَّ تَتَفَكَّرُوا

“Say: ‘I exhort you to one (thing) only: that you stand up for Allah’s sake in pairs and singly, and then to think ..”

This universe is an enormous Masjid built for your contemplation. When Ummud Dardaa was asked “which act of worship did you see your husband, Abud Dardaa, engaging in the most?”

She replied: التفكر والإعتبار / “Contemplation and deep thought.”

(3) By freeing up some space for Khushoo’

We have already established the Al-Khushoo’ is not an action of the outer, but one of the heart, and with this we understand why, for many of us, it’s so difficult to attain; because we haven’t left any space for it.

There’s only so much that the human heart can house, and if you’ve filled it with sins, distractions, addictions and perversions, then how will Khushoo’ finds its place when it’s constantly being evicted? Each and every one of us knows exactly where to start and what inner items need unloading.

(4) By begging Allah for it

Memorise the words of the Prophet PBUH this Ramadan:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَالْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْلِ،وَالْهَرَمِ،وَعَذَابِ الْقَبْرِ،اللَّهُمَّ آتِ نَفْسِي تَقْوَاهَا،وَزَكِّهَا أَنْتَ خَيْرُ مَنْ زَكَّاهَا، أَنْتَ وَلِيُّهَا وَمَوْلَاهَا، اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ عِلْمٍ لَا يَنْفَعُ، وَمِنْ قَلْبٍ لَا يَخْشَعُ، وَمِنْ نَفْسٍ لَا تَشْبَعُ، وَمِنْ دَعْوَةٍ لَا يُسْتَجَابُ لَهَا

“O Allah, I seek refuge in You from incapacity, laziness, stinginess, cowardice, senility, the torment of the grave. O Allah, make my soul obedient and purify it, for You are the best One to purify it, You are its Guardian and Lord. O Allah, I seek refuge in You from knowledge that doesn’t benefit, and a heart that has no Khushoo’, and a soul that is not satisfied, and a Du’aa that is not answered.”

As millions all around the world bow and prostrate during this evening’s Taraaweeh prayers, ask yourself:

“I wonder how many, at this moment, are living the reality of Khushoo'”

-Ust Ali Hammuda

Importance of Khushu’

The Reward for Prayer depends on the amount of Khushu in prayer.

For indeed it may be that a servant prays; and emerges with the complete reward; yet he may pray and emerges with half the reward or with a tenth of the reward – or with less than that. Or that he may pray; and he does not emerge with any reward at all, hence the one that is does not have humility and attentiveness in his prayer; then no reward is written for him.

‘Ammar ibn Yasir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, a man may return from his prayer and nothing good is written for him but a tenth of his prayer, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a fourth, or a third, or a half.”

Source: Sunan Abī Dāwūd 796

Grade: Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani

Shaikh Saalih Al-Fawzaan (hafidhahullaah) said:

The meaning of khushoo’ linguistically is: to humble oneself as well as to have submission for Allaah, The Glorified and Most High, and the origin of khushoo’ is in the heart; and so it becomes manifest upon the limbs – such that they are tranquil; and upon the tongue – such that it is subdued.

Khushoo’ (humility and attentiveness) in the prayer: it the very soul of the prayer, due to this; He, The Most High stated:

قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ

الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ

((Successful indeed are the believers. Those who in their prayer are khaashi’oon [have humility and attentiveness].)) (Al-Mu-minoon: 1-2)

Fruitful Habits

من شب على شيء شاب عليه

‘Whoever spends his youth on something, will spend his old age in it’

Habits are hard to break and they follow us for more years than we ever anticipate! But imagine establishing a good habit, like reading a portion of Qur’an every day or giving charity every Friday, or regularly visiting your grandmother, or passing the orphanages and hospitals once a month. These are fruitful habits that you never want to see stop and their reward lasts beyond a lifetime.

🌟🌸