A wise man said to me, “you can enjoy a dollar for a moment of your life, but if you remember God, you can enjoy life forever.”
This may be one of the wisest things I’ve heard in quite a while. Too often we get overly concerned about things in this world beyond what we need. Everywhere people are trying to keep up with the Jones’ (or any last name from anywhere), and focusing less on things that should really matter to us like our own health and well being, our families, our friends, and even our spiritual health and faith. Money and material things have become our gods.
In a consumerist society, it is difficult to escape the attraction of wealth and “things”. We are constantly bombarded by entertainment outlets, marketing and advertising, and even our friends and family telling us we need to have the next best thing. But do we? I often find myself taking things for granted and getting carried away with material concerns, when I should be focusing on my health, education, and spiritual practices.
Gratitude lists can be very helpful in reminding one about the blessings in ones life. It’s difficult to stick to a habit of writing them everyday. It starts to become difficult to think of something new and not trite, and then it becomes a chore. Perhaps a daily gratitude list is not for me. Perhaps a weekly list is better?
One of the things I am struggling with is taking the time to keep up with all 5 prayers each day (just the required part, not to mention the recommended additional parts), reading Qur’an every day, and taking time to just sit and remember ألله ﷻ . In the beginning of my embracing Islam, it was easier, even though I struggled at learning what to do. Usama Canon and others have suggested people develop a daily litany to remember ألله ﷻ. I put it on a list of things to do. I still haven’t done it.
I am told that it is normal for our iman to waver. Some days our iman is really high and we find it easy to complete all of our prayers, read Qur’an and find other ways to remember ألله ﷻ. Other days our iman is really low and we do nothing, not even pray sometimes. For me, finding a balance in between can be difficult.
I’ve been trying to find ways to overcome this. A friend of mine said, start with saying Alhamdulillah once every hour. Just that. That’s pretty reasonable. I’m not perfect at it, but it does help. I have lists of all things that can be done. I read over the lists many times, and ultimately decided if I tried to do all of those things, I would start seeing them as a chore. I decided this morning that I’m going to take 5 things from the lists and try to incorporate those into my life. Every two weeks, I’ll add 5 more and just slowly build. Insha’Allah by the end of 2015, I will have found a consistent balance in my iman.
Here are some things I’m trying to be consistent with and then some things from my list:
- Say Alhamdulillah once each hour
- Repeat the shahada once every hour
- Pray the required aspects of prayer for each prayer each day.
- Read 10 verses from the Qur’an each day
- That’s a good start.
Here are some other things to consider:
- Memorize one verse of the Qur’an each day
- Teach the verse you memorized to someone else
- Make du’a for a Muslim
- Make du’a for a non-Muslim that ألله ﷻ guide them
- Learn a couple of new du’a each week
- Memorize the du’a of repentance
- Memorize the du’a for guidance
- Sit after prayer and make dhikr, Alhamdulillah, Allahu Akbar, Subhana’allah, Astaghfirallah, etc.
- Say Bismillah before doing anything.
- Learn the 99 names of ألله ﷻ
- Learn a new hadith each week
- Teach that hadith to someone
- Voluntary fasting
- Mondays and Thursdays
- 13th, 14th, and 15th of each month
- Give sadaqa as often as possible
- Feed someone, especially a poor person
- Give someone money if you can, even if it is only a dollar or two
- Offer to do a chore for someone
- Pray for someone
- Talk to some and try to brighten their day, just don’t be patronizing
- Smile at someone, especially a stranger
- Give up your seat for someone
- Spend time with your family
- Call your parents/siblings/children
- Write to someone you care about (letter or post card are best, but email, too)
- Fulfill conjugal rights with your spouse
- Clean your house
- Cook a meal for your family
- Talk to a non-Muslim about Islam (don’t be a Qur’an/Hadith thumper though!), be gentle
- Pray for the deceased
- Forgive someone
- Forgive yourself
- Reconcile with someone
- Strive to be patient
- Visit the sick
- Ignore a slight
- Try not to swear or use vulgar language
- Do not backbite/gossip/slander/make snide or snarky comments
- Return a favor
- Repay a debt
- Improve relations with a neighbor(s)
- Return greetings (to everyone in an appropriate, healthy way)
- Attend funerals
- Accept an invitation
- Show gratitude, don’t just write about it
- Learn something new about anything and then teach it to someone
- Play with your children
- Give your spouse a gift
- Spend quality time with your family
- Plant a garden
- Improve your ethics
- Strive to eat halal, healthy food
- Take care of yourself, including exercise, modest eating, and treating illnesses appropriately
- Try to be on time with prayers
- Suppress your ego
- Does cause fitna/drama
- Avoid greed
- Avoid showing off
- Keep confidences and trusts
- Keep personal and familial matters private
- Be an activist for social justice (do something besides just posting on Facebook or Twitter)
- Defend the oppressed
- Speak about only those things which you know
- Avoid spreading rumors
- Reduce time wasting
- Develop a healthy, halal hobby
- Give leftover food to charity, such as a homeless shelter, or a homeless person on the street
- Dress nicely all the time
- Read surat al-kahf every Friday
- Be on time for Jumu’ah
- Go to sleep at a decent hour and get up at a decent hour
- Be hygienic
- Be lawful
- Be content with what you have
- Be truthful
There are many more things you can do, but that’s a pretty good list to choose from.
So how will you remember ألله ﷻ?