In The Name of Allāh, The Most Merciful, The Especially Merciful
- Start small
Before you try to sprint, learn to crawl first. So for example, if you can just about perform the five daily obligatory prayers, work on that aspect of your worship. Once you feel that it’s ‘part of your system’ then move on to making sure you perform all the sunnah prayers. Next, the optional prayers, and so on. The key is consistency. Don’t build until you are consistent. Praying the night prayer (tahajjud) is wonderful but if you miss fajr, then you’ve got your priorities wrong. In Islām, there is a hierarchy when it comes to worship.
سَدِّدُوا وَقَارِبُوا، وَاعْلَمُوا أَنْ لَنْ يُدْخِلَ أَحَدَكُمْ عَمَلُهُ الْجَنَّةَ، وَأَنَّ أَحَبَّ الأَعْمَالِ أَدْوَمُهَا إِلَى اللَّهِ، وَإِنْ قَلَّ
“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to God is the most regular and constant even if it were little (Bukhāri).
2. If you make a mistake, move on
Muslims don’t dwell on the past. We repent and we move on. In fact, Allāh loves it when we turn to Him when we err. We have been ordered to never lose hope in the mercy of Allāh:
“O my Servants who have transgressed against their souls! Despair not of the Mercy of Allāh: for Allāh forgives all sins: for He is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.” (Qur’ān 39:53)
3. Support one another
As humans we are prone to making mistakes. But that’s not the point. It’s our reaction to the action that matters. Inspire, support and motivate one another.
عَنِ ابْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، أَنَّ رَجُلاً، أَصَابَ مِنَ امْرَأَةٍ قُبْلَةَ حَرَامٍ فَأَتَى النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَسَأَلَهُ عَنْ كَفَّارَتِهَا فَنَزَلَتْ : ( أَقِمِ الصَّلاَةَ طَرَفَيِ النَّهَارِ وَزُلَفًا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ إِنَّ الْحَسَنَاتِ يُذْهِبْنَ السَّيِّئَاتِ ) فَقَالَ الرَّجُلُ
أَلِيَ هَذِهِ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ فَقَالَ ” لَكَ وَلِمَنْ عَمِلَ بِهَا مِنْ أُمَّتِي
Ibn Masūd narrates that a man unlawfully kissed a woman. So he came to the Messenger (ﷺ) to ask him about its atonement. So (the following) verse was revealed: “And perform the prayer, at the two ends of the day and in some hours of the night’”(Qur’an, 11:114). The man said: “Is this for me O Messenger of God?” He said: “For you and for whoever does that among my Ummah.” (Tirmidhi)
This man made a mistake and was regretful (and what a mistake it was!). When he came to the Messenger (ﷺ) to report his crime, the Messenger (ﷺ) didn’t dwell on the crime (something we all too often do!) but told him, in effect, to move on and improve his game. In fact, a verse was revealed which gave hope to all of us – good deeds do away with misdeeds. As Muslims, we support and reinforce one another. If someone stumbles, we pick them up and move on. Of course, for major sins we need to seek forgiveness first.
4. Find the right companion
Its not about how many friends you have on Facebook, or followers on twitter. It’s all about finding the right friends. Find friends who will help you improve day by day, motivate and inspire you, and ultimately, help make you a perfect role model. Islam is all about continuous improvement. Sit with Scholars and people of learning. You will learn so much just by observing them. Much more than you can ever learn from just reading books (though reading is very important too!)
مَثَلُ الْجَلِيسِ الصَّالِحِ وَالْجَلِيسِ السَّوْءِ كَمَثَلِ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ، وَكِيرِ الْحَدَّادِ، لاَ يَعْدَمُكَ مِنْ صَاحِبِ الْمِسْكِ
إِمَّا تَشْتَرِيهِ، أَوْ تَجِدُ رِيحَهُ، وَكِيرُ الْحَدَّادِ يُحْرِقُ بَدَنَكَ أَوْ ثَوْبَكَ أَوْ تَجِدُ مِنْهُ رِيحًا خَبِيثَةً.
“”The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof.” (Bukhāri)
So make friends from the pious servants of Allāh, The Scholars, and those who care not for the pleasures of this world, but seek the pleasure of Allāh.
And only Allāh knows best.
Hāroon Ibn Ebrāhīm Sīdāt