What “three things”, you ask?
Well, I was planning to tell you….
You know how we always have this “my life sucks so much, how do I start rectifying it” sort of attitude? We always think: “I will be a great Muslim one day” but we don’t know where to start.
Well, I think we could summarise all the “self-development” points mentioned in the Quran and the Sunnah into three main categories:
1) Improve our ibaadah
– That includes prayers, charity, fasting, reciting the Quran, reciting the required adhkar (remembrances), doing dua etc.
– It also includes seeking knowledge.
– It also includes actions of the heart such as tawakkul (relying upon Allah), fearing Allah, loving Allah, etc
2) Decrease sinning
Yes, we have to do this. Otherwise, we’ll just cancel out our good deeds with the evil deeds!
– Avoid all major sins. If we stumble, we need to repent immediately.
– Avoid minor sins as much as possible. We need to try to recite the adhkar that expiate for our minor sins.
Note #1: What are the major sins? In order to avoid them, we need to know what they are.*
[*Want a series on this? After I finish all the pending ones, of course, insha-Allah….]
Note #2: Major sins are not expiated by doing good deeds. That’s just for minor sins. Major sins are only expiated through repentance, and repentance is not accepted if you do not stop doing that major sin.
3) Be helpful to those around us.
– Includes displaying good manners and controlling our tongues.
– Includes social work of any kind.
– Includes dawah as well.
How do we start with making our “great Muslim” vision come true? Well, we could try to improve in each category step by step.
Okay, I should point out that this is the way that I categorise it for myself as it’s easier to think “I need to work on three things” rather than “I need to work on a hundred things”. This is my personal approach so I wouldn’t want anyone to think that I was quoting a scholar.
I’ll explain why I categorised the points in this way in a future post, insha-Allah.
What do you think? Is it an easy way? Or are there some errors in it?
Comments are welcome.*
[*I always say that but nobody comments.]
Yes, Ramadan is a little over six months away.
So, we need to ask ourselves two main questions:
1) How much progress have we made since the end of Ramadan 2010?
2) What are our goals for the end of Ramadan 2011 and how much progress do we need to make before we reach them?
Some of the questions that we could ask ourselves before we make a list of goals for the next Ramadan are:
a) Tawheed (worshipping Allah alone)
Has our knowledge and application of tawheed increased?
What else do we need to do to strengthen our aqeedah (creed)?
b) Salah (prayers)
How is the quality of our prayers?
Have we started doing any new prayers (e.g. Dhuha or Tahajjud) on a regular basis?
Has our Arabic improved?
Will we be able to understand the Taraweeh prayers come Ramadan?
d) The Quran
Has our relationship with the Book of Allah improved?
Do we recite it daily? And with tajweed (rules of recitation)?
How much can we understand without the use of a translation?
Have we memorised any new surahs? How much do we plan on memorising before next Ramadan?
Have we read the tafsir?
How much of the Quran do we apply?
Do we spend more on charity now?
Do we help the needy on a regular basis?
f) Adhkar (remembrance)
Have we increased in the remembrance of Allah?
Have we memorised any new adhkar?
Have we made up our missed fasts from previous Ramadans?
Do we do any of the optional fasts?
h) Seeking knowledge and doing dawah (calling to Islam)
Do we regularly attend Islamic lectures/classes?
Do we read beneficial books?
Do we spread this knowledge to others?
i) Akhlaq (Character)
Has our character improved?
Are our tongues more restrained?
Has our health improved?
Are we better equipped to handle the long qiyam al-layl prayers next Ramadan?
We don’t need to wait for Ramadan to make a change, nor should we wait for it. Rather, we should always be eager to improve no matter what time of year it is.
[Just a note: An anonymous person wrote a comment criticizing something that I said in Part 2. I had no problem with that. All comments are welcome.
However, this individual used MY email address when typing in the comment. (You cannot submit a comment without typing in a valid email address.)
That REALLY annoyed me. I don’t mind being criticized but I hate lies and cowardice, especially considering the fact that this is Ramadan.
Why am I telling you all this? Simple. If you wish to write a comment in the future, then please don’t make the mistake of using my email address, just because you want to remain anonymous. You can either create a new email address for this purpose or else please refrain from commenting. If I see that anybody has used my email address for writing a comment, I’ll delete the comment then and there. I don’t like dealing with liars and cowards.]
Okay, so now that I’ve said what I had to say (I always say what I have to say, don’t I?), let’s continue with our checklist:
18) The Month of Integrity
What integrity is NOT: using the blog owner’s email address to write an anonymous comment.
What integrity IS: using your OWN email address to air your comments. And if you happen to behave in a manner other than that, then you should be willing to apologize. [Yes, this individual really did annoy me. May Allah forgive her.]
In the last 10 days, did our integrity improve? Were we honest in our dealings?
Do you know how Islam spread to places like Indonesia and Malaysia? Through honest Muslim traders. The people of those lands were totally amazed at how honest these individuals were with their business dealings.
I’ll tell you two stories that happened to me:
1) Many years ago, paid parking was introduced in our parking lot. So, in the beginning (before we all got the parking cards), I used to rush down every hour to get the ticket. Sometimes, I would put in AED 5 for two hours. (AED = Arab Emirate Dirhams.)
One day, I didn’t have any change so I went to the light shop under my house to get change for AED 5. There was an old south Indian Hindu man there. I knew him well because he had worked there for years and I had basically grown up in that building. So I asked him for change. He only had AED 4.75 so I gave him the AED 5 bill and took the change.
That was that, right? I mean, who would care about 25 fils? A quarter of a dirham? He did.
He come up to me a few days later and gave me the 25 fils. I was shocked and told him not to worry about it. He insisted that I take it because he couldn’t keep it. Subhan Allah.
I was so sad that this kind of integrity came from a non-Muslim and not a Muslim. We’re usually too ashamed to even return such a small amount in case the other person laughs at us.
[He left for India a few years ago. If I had to choose one person in the entire world that I would want Allah to guide to Islam, it would be him. I ask Allah by His Beautiful Names that He guide this man to Islam for this act that he did. Ameen.] Read more