Living by It. One lesson a day…

… from Quran. Changing slowly, but surely.

Lesson 29 – Of Money, Power and Kids April 1, 2010

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Rabi Al-Sani 18, 1431

“O you people who believe! Do not be diverted (distracted), by your possessions and by your children, from remembrance of Allah. If any one does that (lets that happen), then all such people will be the losers.”

Surah Al-Munafiqoon (Surah 63), verse 9

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We let that happen. Because the priorities are faulty.

Possessions: PSP, Wii, phone, laptop, books, DVDs, beauty products/ cosmetics, TV, newspapers, apparel, garden, house (maintaining).

Children: my dogs and Smokey.

Equation: (TIME SPENT ON POSSESSIONS – 5 hours*) + (TIME SPENT ON PAMPERING BABIES – 1 hour*) + (TIME SPENT IN SLEEPING – 7 hours*) = TIME SPENT IN LOSERVILLE

* In my opinion, a maximum of 13 (5 +1 + 7) hours can be spent guilt-free on things other than pure remembrance of Allah. If one inculcates the habit of remembering Allah during chores (and fun), one has made what I like to call a smart/ economical move.

Now this is just the distraction that’s very physical, what of the times when we think about creative ways to do an assignment or think about the chores that need to be done, while we’re praying, while we’re doing zikr? Despite that, Allah is so Kind that He Rewards us anyway, for the efforts, for the time being spent in remembering and glorifying Him. I’ve seen it happen too many times so I can vouch for all the small and big ways He Rewards me every time I take the remembrance as a duty, as an obligation and not as a favor I’m doing to my Provider.

 

Lesson 5 – Morning | Afternoon | Night February 11, 2010

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Safar 26, 1431

“And remember your Rabb by name early in the mornings and in the late afternoons, and during the night; then prostrate in sajda for Him; and sing His praises to glorify Him during long nights (for long periods).”

Surah Al-Insaan (Surah 76), verses 25,26

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It’s sick that we wake up in the mornings and check our mails before we get out of bed. It’s sick that we have to consciously think about remembering Allah when, in fact, He is the Creator and He has to be continually (not continuously) remembered. It’s sick we plan our days with precision in terms of our appointments, deadlines and recreation and we go about our days not remembering Him; excusing ourselves because we are so busy, so committed.

Sometimes I remember His names at random times of the day, and I deceive myself into thinking I’ve done my duty, now I can get back to reading chest pathology or whatever. When you start thinking about the favors He has done for you, remembering how each made you feel, you have statistically a higher chance of making an effort to remember (and show gratitude) at the times recommended (like in this ayah) and to prostrate and sing praises to glorify Him.

I think the problem we face today, is that we don’t know Who Allah is anymore. We don’t know if He’s listening, we don’t know if there is a way to go back to Him after all the things we have been doing, we don’t know if our routine engagements are less important than Him or not. It’s all a ploy by shaitaan, without a doubt: make man busy >> man forgets God >> man believes he’s a goner >> man continues to apply escapism.

Other than that, there have been a myriad of times when I felt like I’ll pray properly, so properly tonight that it’ll make up for all lost time. Too bad “tonight”never comes (because I’m too tired or because shaitaan helped me kill my passion to reform and made me hopeless about my pile of deeds). I keep thinking about how I’ll do something so well one day, I forget to do little things that I could, right now. That’s like the “miraculous dieting approach”to me. (You eat and you eat, but you decide you’ll buy that product or that machine and lose all your fat miraculously in a couple of months’ time.)

Sleep in precious to us, ego is us, time is our enemy… there are just so many factors and so many (un)important things that need to be done each day, prostrating Him has become the least of our priorities, singing praises becomes an alien concept so…

  • We all should make a CONSCIOUS effort to pray (like duh!), get up right when the muezzin calls out (I’ve noticed that the times I’ve decided I’m going to get up RIGHT when the muezzin is calling out, I pray more than the times I decide to complete the work I’m doing before I go to pray).
  • It’s always good to start regular prayers that are short, sincere and sacrificial (yes, that’s how selfish we are to think of prayers that way) than to keep the impractical idea of “long and wonderfully humbling prayer time”… until we’re strong enough to actually be able to pray the latter!
  • When we can stay up nights for sleepovers, movies, assignments, books, tests & exams, meetings (there are people who have that kind of jobs these days), chat sessions, articles, deadlines, parties, games, sports, TV, emergencies, arguments, planning and thinking, then we CAN stay up nights to glorify the very Being who Helps this list of things become a possibility.
  • If the idea of early mornings and late nights just turns off the desire to START praying and praising/ glorifying Him, it’s safe to say that you have to do a lot of work during your day. When the desire becomes strong, early mornings and late nights will come naturally to you InshaAllah.
  • Questioning authority is the coolest… With all things, we question the use of saying things in Arabic at various times of the day and I think it’s a question that deserves credit. Only when we question authority do things improve and progress is made, so this should be no different. Islam was meant to be understood, instead of followed blindly… So yes, we must understand what we’re saying when we glorify Allah with certain prayers. A long time ago, I learned the translation of all I was saying during my prayers and I decided to always pray with the translation running through my head while I recited the Arabic. As is obvious, it helped me be more sincere and really glorify Him with the praises that please Him… but what’s less obvious is the fact that it made me arrogant because I was praying better than everybody I knew. Hah! Alhumdolillah for that self-analysis!
  • To me, prostration equates as brushing off all the ego inside. The next time when you go in sajda, think of a Being that you’re prostrating to. I know it’s hard to imagine because we don’t have a picture in our heads (like the Christians wrongly do), but just try inculcating a feeling of a Higher being Who needs to be prostrated to because He Gave you everything you have and could wish for. Brush aside the shaitaani thoughts, brush aside your ego, brush aside your life so to say, and go pray!

Now that I’ve said all this, I’ll have to, have to pray regularly. shaitaan is ugly and I hate him, he pushes me away from the truth and I hate him. That should tell you enough about how my prayers are going… but I started this blog with the thought of bringing a change in myself and now that I have put this in words that you’re reading, I’ll feel more responsibility to keep good. Call that hypocritical, call that pretense to save face, but just understand… you can either be clever and spend time thinking about what I wrote and about my prayers or you can use this to start praying yourself and helping me along the way.