بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
You thought I was going to say “Ramadan”, didn’t you?
Why did I say Shawwal? Well, because many of us stop functioning after Ramadan because we make the mistake of only thinking of the goals that we want to achieve by the end of this month.
And then our iman (faith) takes a dive in Shawwal.
So, in order to avoid that, I thought it might be better if we included Shabaan and Shawwal in the picture.
Okay, let’s take this step by step:
1) Think about what five goals you HAVE to achieve by the end of Shawwal.
– Why make goals? If you don’t, the days will pass you by with you getting absolutely nowhere.
– Why five? Well, more than that would make your head spin. [You could do more if you wish.]
– Please don’t reply to this post and tell me (and the rest of the world) what your goals are. I think too often we share our personal goals with the whole wide world. Sometimes, that can rob us of our sincerity.
– Think of the hereafter consequences of what would happen if you don’t achieve those goals.
2) Be sure to WRITE down the goals.
Please don’t use your iPad for this purpose.
Take a pen and paper and do it the old fashioned way. It feels so much better.
3) Please be precise when you write down the goals.
For example, don’t say “I wanna be a good Muslim.” You could say: I will memorise the last two juz of the Quran, for example. Or I will start dawah project X and set up a website for it.
4) Write down the steps that you need to take to get to those goals.
For example, if you want to memorise the last 2 juz of the Quran, you have about 80 days left so how many ayaat (verses) do you need to study per day?
Do you have a Quran teacher? If not, can you join a class?
What time of the day will you do your memorisation?
How much will you achieve by the end of Shabaan and by the end of Ramadan?
5) Start right away.
Many people just groan when I say these things to them and wail “Oh we’re too busy for this” or “We can’t be this organised.”
Just a question for these types of people: Have you achieved any of your goals in the past 3 years? If not, then don’t you think you need to change the way that you do things?
6) Look at this paper (the one where your goals are written) as much as you can.
You know, subhan Allah, I read this on a kaafir website and I was like “Huh?”
And then I realised that all my goals were on my dua list, and whenever I looked at my dua list, I would get REALLY motivated. So I realised that while we may know our goals, we sometimes tend to put them at the back of our mind.
Being reminded of them will motivate us to reach them.
7) Keep checking your progress.
You know, 5 and 7 are the toughest ones to do but they’re the ones that we HAVE to do.
8) Ask Allah for His help.
We can’t do anything without His help and guidance.
So what are we all waiting for? Let’s get started!
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
…YOU need to do in Shabaan in order to have a great Ramadan?
Now, you might say “Oh, there are so many things!”
Well, there might be but what is the most important thing?
For me, I’d say: I need to improve my health and fitness.
Once I do that, I’ll have more energy to do all the ibaadah (worship) that I want to do.
What about you?
Think hard, decide and then make sure you focus on that issue for the next month, insha-Allah.
The reason I said “one” thing is because many people might try to focus on many different things as they only have a month to go, and they might end up going nowhere.
Of course, if you want to focus on more than one thing, that’s fine, but prioritise them so that the most important thing is always done.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
“Ahaa, finally my perfect Ramadan planner!”
Read the whole post before jumping to any conclusions…
So, let me start with my story.
I had been in search of the “perfect” planner, not for Ramadan but for the whole year. I had found many nice ones but they didn’t have everything that I wanted.
Each time I came across a nice time management program or an excellent paper planner, there was always the inevitable story of how the creator of the planner had been in search of the perfect planner and had then ended up designing their own planner – which of course was “perfect”, because it was designed to his/her own specifications.
Of course, these individuals then attempted to sell or share (for free) their “perfect” planners to others.
I guess I’m not the smartest person in the world because it took me years to finally put 2 and 2 together: If I wanted the “perfect” planner, I would have to design my own.
And that’s what I did, alhamdulillah.
Now, you might be saying “Oh so you’re going to share your perfect planner with us??”
Of course not. It’s my planner therefore it’s suited to MY specifications.
If you want a perfect planner, you need to make your own. It’s simple. Just open up an excel sheet and start working.
That’s what I did and now I have a nice, beautiful daily planner and a nice, beautiful monthly planner, both of them designed according to my tastes.
[What about my Ramadan planner, you ask? Well, I’m just going to take my daily planner and adjust it for Ramadan, insha-Allah.]
So, don’t sit and search for the perfect planner because you’re probably not going to find it.
Just design it yourself.
بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
One of you asked for more lectures of time management so here goes…
[Reminder: I’m still waiting for feedback from those of you who have not gotten around to it yet.]
Here’s a lecture to remind us of the importance of each SECOND.
Making Every Second Count by Dr. Bilal Philips (Download)
Ah, yes. Time management.
I have a sneaky suspicion that most of the planet has done a lot of reading on this topic and that very few of them have actually been able to implement what they read.
Still, try and try again until you get it.
So, here is another (your zillionth?) resource on this topic: a very nice lecture that gives us the Islamic perspective on time management.
I haven’t finished listening to it yet but so far so good.
Time Management by Muhammad Alshareef (Download)
Ah, yes. Time. We just don’t seem to have enough time.
1) How do we spend our time at present?
Do we spend it on obeying Allah or disobeying Him?
2) Why do we need more time exactly?
Is it because we want to have more time to do more acts of obedience thereby increasing our chances of getting Al-Firdaus (the highest level of Paradise)?
Or is it because we want to do more mundane activities?
3) How can we get “more” time?
Every single person has 24 hours, so how is it that all the Prophets (alaihimissalaam) and their Companions (radiallahu anhum) managed to do SO much with their time? [And remember that they didn’t have the technology of today.]
Simple. They obeyed Allah. That’s it.
They knew that they were created to worship Him and that’s what they did.
[Remember that “worship” doesn’t just mean praying and fasting, rather it includes any statement or act that Allah is pleased with. So, spending time with one’s family, trying to get fit, going to work to earn for your family, etc. could all become acts of worship if the person does them intending to seek the pleasure of Allah.]
So what happened? Allah, the owner of time, blessed their time, which meant that they had more time to worship Him, which in turn led their time to get blessed further and…
See how it goes? Wonderful, isn’t it?
Haven’t you realised that this is why we have SO much time in Ramadan? It’s because we spend most of it worshipping Allah which in turn gives us more time to worship Allah….
A sister once made a very powerful statement. She pointed out that everyone keeps complaining about not having enough time. She asked everyone to apply the Sunnah (i.e. the way of the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) which is the best way to worship Allah) in their lives and then they would see the barakah (blessings) in their time.
She pointed out how following the “little” things like saying the dua before putting on one’s clothes (i.e. saying bismillah) can make a difference.
Subhan Allah, that was an eye opener for all of us present.
So that’s what we need to do: worship Allah the way the Prophet (salallahu alaihi wasallam) did (or at least try to get close!) and do dua that our time is blessed (the latter is also an act of worship in itself as dua is worship).
Here’s a short, succinct lecture on making the most of our time:
Making the Most of Our Time by Abu Taubah (Download)
Sad but true…
So many things to do….so what should we do?
Here’s an eye-opening article about the best thing to do at any given time:
The Best Thing to do
Abu Sabaya (may Allah hasten his release)
One problem many of us face is that we want to do so much at once, and thus become overwhelmed in our thoughts trying to establish exactly what we should be doing and what our obligations are at a given point in time. This leads us to focus on what we can’t accomplish moreso than what we can accomplish. This can be well and good, and as Ibn al-Jawzi said, a person can be rewarded for his intentions more than for his actions. However, the point of intending is to be productive and extract something physical from that intention.
Part of being productive is to have a methodical approach as to when to focus on what. For example, if your worship and intentions for specific efforts are organized and you properly place your focus where and when it should be, you’ll find yourself accomplishing much more as a Muslim, no matter if you’re a scholar who teaches, a caller to Allah who motivates, or a general worshipper who simply wants to get closer to your Lord.
Without wanting to get into immense detail, I thought it sufficient to present a few words to to illustrate this that Ibn al-Qayyim had written in ‘Madarij as-Salikin’ (1/188):