Du’a: The Weapon of the Believer

By Amina Ashraf

“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” 2:186

We all need help. Some need financial help, others need educational help, and most people need mental help. But when you tell others about your issues, most people can’t do much but listen. They may even get annoyed and tired of hearing about your problems. But Allah is the opposite-He loves when we ask Him for things! He wants us to ask Him for help, and He even rewards us for it!

We know from the Prophet (S) that du’a is considered an act of worship (‘ibadah), so therefore it must only be done to Allah Alone. By making du’a to Allah, we show Him our weakness, humbleness, and need for Him. Plus, who else can give us anything other than the One Who Owns everything?

Islam is very simple, you don’t need to do anything fancy when making du’a like see a shooting star, throw away your change in a fountain, etc. Instead, we just have to follow the example of the Prophet (S). There are certain acts the Prophet (S) did when making du’a like facing the qiblah and being in a state of purity. He used to raise his hands to his shoulders and even all the way up if he was in dire need. When doing istighfar, he (S) would keep his right pointer finger raised. He also would repeat the du’a three times. There are some practices that have become common but are actually not from the sunnah like making du’a after every salah or wiping your face after the du’a [the Prophet (S) only wiped his face after saying the “Quls”].

Remember: don’t get too hasty. Before you start listing out everything you need, reflect on Who you’re asking. Before you start asking Allah for anything, you should start by praising Allah and praying for the Prophet (S). An example would be saying “SubhanAllah, Alhumdulilah, Allahu Akbar” and then “Allahumma sali ‘ala Muhammadin…” To increase your humility, you can admit your sins to Allah, but remember not to publicize your sins to anyone else. Another tip is to call on Allah by His Most Beautiful Names and Attributes and making du’a by listing some of your good deeds that you did for Allah Alone sincerely.

I didn’t even realize there were so many etiquettes involved with making du’a. I remember when I used to make du’a, I thought it would be selfish to start with myself, so I would make du’a for everyone else first. But actually, you’re supposed to make du’a for yourself first! The table below has a few do’s and don’ts with du’a:

Dua 1

Alhumdulilah we’re so blessed in Islam, because we have so much information! Not only do we know how to make du’a and ways to make du’a, but we also know the times and places they are more likely to be accepted. The best place to make du’a are the masjids, specifically Masjid al-Haram in Makkah. The best times for du’a to be accepted are listed in the table:

Dua 2

I think the most difficult part about understanding du’a is after you’re done. We usually expect our du’a to turn out EXACTLY how we asked, instantly. But I’m sure there have been many times where you’ve made du’a and been grateful that it wasn’t accepted. Alhumdulilah Allah is All-Knowing, and we don’t know what’s best for us.

“But perhaps you hate a thing and it is good for you; and perhaps you love a thing and it is bad for you. And Allah Knows, while you know not.” 2:216

We have to remember to trust in Allah and be patient with His Decree, because once we start complaining about our du’a “not being accepted” or start saying things like “Allah won’t accept my du’a” or “Allah didn’t hear me” (Allah is All-Hearing!), then we’ve pretty much nullified our du’as.

So don’t worry, as long as you do your best and make du’a in the correct manner, there are four ways our du’a can be accepted. Either Allah will 1) respond and fulfill the desire of the person who made the dua, or 2) ward off some evil from him, or 3) make something good easy for him to attain, or 4) save it with Him (as a good deed) on the Day of Resurrection when he will be most in need of it. So alhumdulilah making du’a is always a win-win situation. Well, actually it’s more like a win-win-win-win situation.

And Allah knows best.

*Fortress of the Muslim has du’as from Quran and authentic sunnah. You can buy it online, get the app, or go to: http://www.islamawareness.net/Dua/Fortress/

**I compiled this information from notes I took in a class given by Sheikh Muhammad S. Adly and from what I read by Muhammad S. Al-Munajjid. I know it’s authentic, and I can provide references if anyone wishes.

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RUSH TO SUCCESS

by Faraz Baig

You have a huge project due at the end of the year. I mean, a huuuuge project. Everything is riding on it. Every student either A) will have all their dreams come true or B) will experience extreme pain and disappointment.

There is no choice C.

After you turn your project in, the day arrives when the teacher passes out your grades. And boy, is it nerve-racking! You can literally feel the tension and anxiety in the classroom. Everyone’s fretting about all the different ways they may have messed up. There are so many different ways you could have made errors!

“Did I have enough content?”

“Did I have all the sections the teacher wanted?”

“Were all my facts correct?”

“What about spelling and grammar?”

“What about formatting?”

And on and on and on.

The point here with this hypothetical story is that when we’re facing an important audit/evaluation, we become terrified of even the smallest details because we start to realize the consequences of messing them up.

This hypothetical story is a very small glimpse of what people will feel like on the Day of Judgment. Obviously, nothing in this life compares to the Day of Judgment (or even comes remotely close for that matter). But the story above at least starts to illustrate our mindset in the face of a serious audit.

Of course, on the Day of Judgment, the stakes are as high as they could possibly be. We’ll be audited on our entire lives. Literally everything we did will be recorded and presented to us. The smallest of deeds will be recorded for us. Can you imagine how nervous every one of us will feel, with our eternal home at stake?

This raises an important question: if we know this Day is coming, what are some good ways to prepare? With allllllll the different material out there to learn, where exactly should I start?

Obviously, there are many actions we can take to prepare. But for a good starting point, what if I told you there’s an action that literally anybody is capable of doing, and yet, despite its mind-blowing simplicity, it’s powerful enough to single-handedly swing things in our favor on the Day of Judgment?

Sound too good to be true? Good news: it is true…there is such an act.

What is this act? It is none other than prayer.

The Prophet (SAW) said that “The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is bad, then the rest of his deeds will be bad.” (al-Tabarani. Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albani).

And the more you think about it, the more it makes sense! Prayer is, after all, the second pillar of Islam, right after the shahada. It’s a good reflection of our shahada. If one believes Allah is the only being worthy of worship, then one will understand the importance of connecting with Allah. Prayer gives us the chance to connect and have a one-on-one dialogue with Allah.

Additionally, the quality of our prayers is directly related to our other actions. When the quality of our prayers increases, the other actions follow suit. Allah tells us in Surah 29, Verse 45 that “Indeed, prayer prohibits shamelessness and wrongdoing.”

This isn’t to say that you’ll become completely perfect since we are humans after all. But at least if one is able to stand before Allah and sincerely praise Him, glorify Him, ask Him for His help, then it stands to reason that this person probably won’t go around openly committing sins. And if the person falls into sins by mistake, he/she will have the proper attitude toward the sin and will repent.

The Prophet (SAW) also said that “If a person had a stream outside his door and he bathed in it five times a day, do you think he would have any filth left on him?” The people said, “No filth would remain on him whatsoever.” The Prophet (peace be upon him) then said, “That is like the five daily prayers: Allah wipes away the sins by them.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

There is a lot in the Quran and the Hadith literature about the merits of prayer. It’s pretty amazing how powerful this simple action can be. But note that the Shaytan realizes how powerful this action is, and that’s why he does everything he can to either A) keep us away from prayer altogether or B) cause our minds to wander during prayer.

Just remember: Allah doesn’t ask us to do anything we are incapable of. So even if it’s a struggle, Allah will certainly help us out if we put forth a sincere and honest effort. As long as the actions are done solely for Allah’s pleasure, there is a tremendous reward. With prayers, the Prophet (SAW) said that “Allah has obligated five prayers. Whoever excellently performs their ablutions, prays them in their proper times, completes their bows, prostrations and khushu’, has a promise from Allah that He will forgive him. And whoever does not do that has no promise from Allah. He may either forgive him or punish him.” (Malik, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and al-Nasa’I. Classed as saheeh by Shaykh al-Albani.)

And Allah knows best.

Hope everyone has a great week inshaAllah.

If Today Was Your Last Day

by Safiya Arif

[2;156]

“Surely we belong to Allah, and surely to Him we will return.” [2:156]

Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji’oon.

It’s what we say after we find out someone has passed away. A relative, a neighbor, a friend. We’ve all been there, we’ve all known someone or heard of someone who has passed away.

While we mourn and pay our respects, it’s important for us to realize the meaning of our words. “Surely we belong to Allah, and surely to Him we will return.” We… that means you and I.

Today could be your last day. Tomorrow I may not be here.

Sometimes when we hear about death we forget that one day we’re going to face it too. We think of it as something in the distant future, something we don’t have to worry about until we’re old or sick. We fall asleep every night with so much confidence that we’ll wake up the next day. We leave our homes without considering the possibility that we won’t return. We assume that we have years and years to live. The reality is, however, that the time we’re given is not our own. It is up to Allah swt to decide how long we live and when we die. And we forget that every day we are alive, we are only getting closer to death.

In the Qur’an, Allah swt says:

Every Soul

“Every soul will taste death. And We test you with evil and with good as trial; and to Us you will be returned.” [21:35]

How many times have we said or heard something along the lines of “I’ll start praying fajr when I get to college,” or “I’ll spend more time with my parents when I’m older.” We are so caught up in this dunya that we forget to prepare for our akhirah. But take a couple minutes to think about it… What if today was your last day? Are you happy with the path that you’re on? Will people remember you as a good person? Are you content with the deeds you’ve done? Have you repented for your all of your sins? Are you ready to face Your Creator?

Abdullah ibn Umar (R) used to say, “In the evening do not expect [to live until] the morning, and in the morning do not expect [to live until] the evening. Take [advantage of] your health before times of sickness, and [take advantage of] your life before your death.”

We’ve all heard the cliche… “Live each day like it’s your last.” It’s time we start realizing that there’s great truth to it, it’s time we start following it. We don’t know how much longer we have to live, but while we’re here we should be preparing for our deaths. We should be striving to get to Jannah. If you don’t like the person you’re becoming, now is the time to change. Now is the time to do as many good deeds as you possibly can and repent for any sins you have committed. And when I say now, I mean start now and continue for the rest of your life, however long or short Allah swt wills it to be.

“Perfection is not demanded of us. But sincerity, integrity, honesty, and our best effort is what Allah swt and His messenger (S) have asked of us.” – Shaykh Abdul Nasir Jangda

May Allah swt put barakah into our lives so that we may please Him as we strive toward Him. May He keep us on the right path until our deaths, and allow us to leave this world with His name as our final words. May He protect us from the punishment of the grave and grant us homes in the highest of Jannahs. Ameen.

I want to leave you with this video of Boonaa Mohammed reciting his famous piece, “Too Late” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0YZC10liKMg). As always, please feel free to share your thoughts by commenting below!

Love Your Parents

by Sara Fadlalla

Who are some of the only people who have known you for your entire life, who love you more than anyone else, and whose happiness will get you into Jannah? Your parents! The importance of parents is stressed throughout Islam, and respecting our parents is one of the most important things we can do in order to get into Jannah.

‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar said, “The pleasure of the Lord lies in the pleasure of the parent. The anger of the Lord lies in the anger of the parent.”

Although the pleasure of the parent is critical for our entrance into Jannah, so many times we forget and feel like “our parents don’t get it” or what they say is “so unfair,” but remembering the previous hadith and the ones I will add in this post should always be held as crucial tenants to our inner Iman, or faith.

Ibn ‘Abbas said, “If any Muslim obeys Allah regarding his parents, Allah will open two gates of the Garden for him. If there is only one parent, then one gate will be opened. If one of them is angry, then Allah will not be pleased with him until that parent is pleased with him.” He was asked, “Even if they wrong him?” “Even if they wrong him” he replied.

This hadith is very important in driving home just how ingrained respect for our parents is in our entrance into Jannah. Remembering that even when we think “that was so unfair” that Allah (Swt) still holds our parents’ pleasure higher than our feeling wronged or “unfairly” treated by our parents. Building a relationship with our parents is one way to avoid feeling unfairly treated. I learned over the years that when something at face value felt unfair, understanding the reasoning my parents had behind their decision made that feeling of unfairness completely disappear, and in turn results in a stronger relationship with your parents and a stronger relationship with Allah (Swt).

This next hadith is one of my favorites:

Abu Hurayra reported that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, “Three supplications are answered without a doubt: the supplication of someone who is oppressed, the supplication of someone on a journey, and the supplication of parents for their children.”

Even if the pleasure of Allah (Swt) and the pleasure of our parents is not enough to get us to respect and honor our parents, this hadith about whose du’a is answered should be even more reason to respect and honor our parents. The du’a of a mother and father for their children is undoubtedly answered, so not only can we trust our parents having the best intentions for us, we can then believe that Allah (Swt) will grant what is best for us.

Remembering these few ahadith about parents and loving and respecting them definitely should help us keep in mind that all that they want for us is the best and Allah (Swt) likewise places importance on our parents, so we most certainly should too. Love your parents, and always pray for them and inshaAllah Allah (Swt) protects them and us in this and the next life! Ameen!

Tawbah

by Amina Ashraf

Ahmed is a very practicing Muslim. He prays on time every day, goes to the masjid regularly, and volunteers at the Sunday School. But he has a problem with backbiting about his friends. He knows it’s not allowed, but he just can’t seem to stop. Whenever he feels guilty about it, a voice whispers, “You’re such a hypocrite! You feel guilty about backbiting and you still pray! Don’t you feel ashamed of yourself? Allah will never forgive a hypocrite like you.” That voice makes him feel like he’s not good enough to even pray, so sometimes he wonders if he should.

‘Abdullah is an average Muslim. He goes to the masjid during Ramadan and prays once in a while. He enjoys hanging out with friends on the weekends at the club and having a few drinks. Whenever his parents try to get him to quit these activities, he responds with: “There are Muslims who are killing people, committing zina and never pray. At least I pray, okay? Allah is the Most-Forgiving, so stop making it into a big deal!”

The conflicts Ahmed and ‘Abdullah are facing are very common among many Muslims. The solution lies in their thinking processes. As Muslims, we have to remember to stay balanced. In Ahmed’s case, he needs to stop focusing on how great the sin is and remember that Allah’s Mercy is greater. Allah tells us in the Quran:

Say, “O My servants who have transgressed against themselves [by sinning], do not despair of the mercy of Allah . Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Indeed, it is He who is the Forgiving, the Merciful.” Qur’an (39:53)

You see, it’s never too late to ask forgiveness (unless you’re dead).

Anas Bin Malik [رضى الله عنه] narrated: “I heard the Messenger of Allah [صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم] say, “Allah the Almighty said: O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me and ask of Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds of the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I would forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with sins nearly as great as the earth and were you then to face Me, ascribing no partner to Me, I would bring you forgiveness nearly as great at it.” [Al-Tirmidhi, no. 3608]

Shaytan wants you to feel hopeless so that you’ll never ask for forgiveness and delve even deeper into sin without realizing it.

On the other hand, we have ‘Abdullah. He needs to remember not to view his sins as small and insignificant, but rather think of the Greatness of the One he is sinning against! It reminds me of the following hadith:

Abdullah bin Masood [رضى الله عنه] said, “The believer regards his sin as if he were sitting beneath a mountain which he fears may fall on him; whereas the sinner regards his sin as if a fly lands on his nose and he wipes it away.” [Mishkat and Sahih Bukhari]

It’s important to reflect on the difference between Iblees versus Adam (AS) and Hawa. Iblees was a devout servant to Allah, but when he was ordered to bow down to Adam (AS), his pride wouldn’t allow it. Instead of repenting, he showed more arrogance thinking he was greater than Adam (AS). Adam (AS) and Hawa also sinned, but unlike Iblees, they repented to Allah. One gets kicked out of Jannah and is cursed for eternity, the other two are able to work their way back to Jannah and are honored throughout history!

Now that we’ve seen the two extremes and how important it is to be balanced, let’s learn of the requirements of making repentance. You mean saying “astaghfur Allah” is not enough? Yes, that’s exactly what I’m saying. There are actually four steps for repentance (and an additional fifth step, if it applies):

  1. Stop the sin.
  2. Regret deeply and truly for the sin you committed.
  3. Return to Allah and ask for forgiveness.
  4. Make a strong, sincere intention never to return to that same sin again.
  5. Return the dues to the one who was wronged or offer expiation for that sin.

Another action you can take after sinning is doing a good deed. Alhumdulilah Allah is so Merciful that He counts good deeds at least ten times and a sin only once. An authentic Hadith reported by Imam Abu Dawod that the prophet (S.A.W.) said: “If a servant does a bad deed, then he makes a good wudu, and pray two Rak’ahs and seek Allah’s forgiveness, then Allah will forgive him.” Ibn Abbas, radiyallahu ‘anhu, reported that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, related from his Lord (glorified and exalted be He):

“Verily Allah has recorded the good deeds and the evil deeds.” Then he clarified that: “Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times, or more than that. But if he intends to do an evil deed and does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it down as one single evil deed.” [Al-Bukhari & Muslim]

So next time you find yourself veering towards one of the extremes like Ahmed and ‘Abdullah, remember that this is a ploy from Shaytan. You can respond to him by yelling, “I know what you’re up to, you devil!” but be sure no one else is around, or they’ll think you’re crazy. Try following the steps and follow it up with a good deed and in sha Allah you’ll be forgiven!

3 Buckets

by Omar Jamil

Everyone is busy. In fact, everyone believes that they are busier than the average person (which is impossible!). Though people generally recognize that others have commitments and obligations, they only have a firsthand view of their own requirements, and so we perceive ourselves to be busier than those around us.

Whether you ask a 3rd grader or a freshman in college, both will tell you that they have too much work! Is a freshman in college objectively busier than a 3rd grader? Of course, but both are busy according to their own capacities.

While everyone shares a common thread of being busy at their own level, we share something else that is even more important.

Really, we are not that busy, and could be using our time much more efficiently. We waste way too much time. All of us. Take it upon yourself to tabulate how much time you are using inefficiently. Every minute that you spend on social media, playing games on your phone, perusing the internet, engaging in useless talk or simply doing nothing, and you will find that your hours of productivity may equal or be outweighed by your hours of waste.

Imam Ghazali, may Allah be pleased with him, was not only a master of the Islamic sciences, but was an excellent life coach in his own right. Imam Ghazali wrote “The Revival of the Religious Sciences,” one of his many works, in only a few years. That feat in itself requires incredible dedication and an excellent use of time. But more noteworthy was the way he wrote “The Beginning of Guidance.” One of Imam Ghazali’s students asked him for a summary of “The Revival,” citing the length of the work. In response, Imam Ghazali later that day gave the student the completed work called “The Beginning of Guidance”. Both novice and elite students of knowledge now uses that text as a one stop shop for Islamic development. Not surprisingly, in the text, Imam Ghazali discusses the importance of using our time wisely, and how that is an essential component in our progress as Muslims.

So what can we do to use our time more efficiently? Primarily, we need to identify our priorities. Imagine that time if water flowing out of a faucet, and that we must catch it in buckets. The 3 buckets that will help you use this time the best; the three buckets without holes in them are Islam, your family/social obligations/rest and work/school. Your prayers goes into Bucket 1, talking to your parents and checking on your friends and sleeping falls into Bucket 2, your homework and extra curricular activities fall into Bucket 3. All of these things are productive. All of these activities allow us to catch time without wasting any of it. Other buckets exist but are not as reliable. Social media, video games, TV shows, movies, gossip etc. These buckets may seem to help you bond with friends or relax, but understand that they have holes in them, and that at the end of these activities, you will have nothing to show for them, and usually come away with some sins. If we examine our actions we will quickly find that much of our time is spent filling up faulty buckets, and we are accumulating little water in the three buckets that matter most.

In the Qur’an Allah SWT says in a Surah we have all memorized that “By Time, Indeed Man is in Loss” (103:1-2). If we can remind ourselves of how quickly time if passing by, and focus on catching it with our most productive activities, we will not only be more productive in this world, but have more to show for our actions in the hereafter.

Shooting at the Right Target

by Faraz Baig

If anyone has ever played rec league basketball as a kid, you probably remember the time one of the players got the ball and started going towards the wrong goal. Everyone shouts frantically at him to stop, but the kid is on a mission! With laser-like focus, he swoops towards the goal, shoots, scores, and turns around with a huge grin on his face, ready to celebrate. And then…the realization hits. Woops. Yup…the rec league basketball experience never seems complete without that guy.

Just like the scenario above, with anything you do in life, you have to understand where you are trying to go before you start worrying about the how. It sounds rather easy, right? But it’s not always as black-and-white as it would be in basketball. At least in basketball, you have people desperately yelling at you when you start going the wrong way. But in real life, you usually only find out after you’ve scored in the wrong goal.

Allah, through His Mercy, has informed us of the ultimate goal: Paradise. He has also informed us of the reality of this life. The translation of verses 20-21 of Surah al-Hadid reads, “Know that the life of this world is but amusement and diversion and adornment and boasting to one another and competition in increase of wealth and children – like the example of a rain whose [resulting] plant growth pleases the tillers; then it dries and you see it turned yellow; then it becomes [scattered] debris. And in the Hereafter is severe punishment and forgiveness from Allah and approval. And what is the worldly life except the enjoyment of delusion?

Race toward forgiveness from your Lord and a Garden whose width is like the width of the heavens and Earth, prepared for those who believed in Allah and His messengers.

Certainly, it’s very liberating to know that this life is ultimately worth nothing and that the real prize is in the Hereafter. But just knowing the ultimate goal isn’t enough: you also have to have specific goals to keep you on track day-to-day.

You see, there’s this law psychologists have called “Parkinson’s Principle.” It basically says that “the amount of time that one has to perform a task is the amount of time it will take to complete the task.” In other words, if I asked you to turn in an assignment in 30 minutes, you’d finish it up and have it to me in 30 minutes. But if I asked you to turn the same assignment in next Monday morning, guess what? You’d probably take all the way until Monday morning to finish because it tends to go to the bottom of your to-do list until then. The takeaway point: people respond to deadlines. We need deadlines in front of us; otherwise, nothing gets done.

Isn’t this so true for us as Muslims? How tempting is it to say, “I’ll become more serious about Islam later?” It’s good that we realize the importance of being serious, but unfortunately, “later” usually starts off as “after high school,” and then it becomes “after college,” and then it becomes “after I get a job,” and then it becomes “after marriage,” and so on. All this while, we can’t escape this fact: we have no idea when our time will expire.

So since we don’t know when “the” deadline (i.e. death) is, having short-term goals can give us some deadlines to help us stay on track inshaAllah.

Much has been written about harnessing the power of good goals in order to achieve success. Below are some good tips for setting good goals. By no means is this an all-inclusive list of advices for goal-setting…it’s just some nice advices I have received and have found useful:

  1. Intentions, intentions, intentions

Every action starts here. If you have this step down, then your pursuit will be successful, plain and simple. The Prophet (SAW) said, “The deeds are considered by the intentions, and a person will get the reward according to his intention.” (Bukhari and Muslim) So if one just has a sincere intention to seek reward from Allah, then he is already on the path to success.

  1. Shoot high!

Nobody shoots for the bottom in worldly affairs, right? We want the best grades, the best jobs, etc. Religion doesn’t have to be any different. Why shoot for the bottom ranks of Paradise when everyone is qualified to shoot for the top?

I love some cliché old sayings…even though they might seem cheesy, they still can drive home points, so here’s a relevant one: “Shoot for the moon, and if you miss, you’ll still land amongst the stars.”

  1. Be specific

“Be good” isn’t exactly the best goal. It’s similar to shooting baskets blind-folded: one knows the general direction to go in, but it leaves an awful lot to chance. Specific goals are much more meaningful. Something like “Pray 5x a day,” “recite 15 minutes of Quran before going to sleep,” “give x amount of charity once a month,” etc. will be much more useful in leading to actions.

  1. No action is too small!

Some of the best actions in Islam are the smallest ones. The hadith literature makes clear that many seemingly small actions, such as praying on time, reciting Quran, cleaning the Masjid, remembering Allah, standing in the front row of prayers, and even just smiling at your brother carry a humongous amount of reward. There are many more actions which yield huge blessings despite requiring only minimal effort. So if these small actions are turned into daily habits, then the rewards start to add up in a big-time hurry!

  1. Keep on moving forward!

Brother Imran Salha has been giving some very beneficial classes on tazkiyyah (self-purification) at IFN. One of the key points he drove home at a recent session was that in order to purify ourselves, we have to keep striving and not get lazy. A very eloquent example he used was that of water: water that is dormant gets contaminated, but water that is flowing tends to stay fresh and clean. Similarly, as Muslims, if we get lazy and stop trying to improve ourselves, we’ll decay, but if we keep pushing, we’ll keep on purifying ourselves inshaAllah.

These are just a few points. For the interested reader, there are many other materials related to goal-setting that are definitely worth reading. There are some sites specifically tailored to Muslims as well, such as productivemuslim.com.

Just remember that at the end of the day, taking any steps to please Allah pays huge dividends. As the Prophet (SAW) related to us, Allah says “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.” (Sahih Muslim)

And Allah knows best. We ask Allah to send His peace and blessings on the Prophet (SAW).