Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
Why is it that every time I try to stay firm in practicing Islam, I find it harder to do the right things, such as praying and reading Quran?
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for being genuine in seeking Allah, and may He make this path easy for you.
Hardships and Pleasures
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “When Allah created Paradise and Hell, He sent Jibril, peace be upon him, to Paradise and said: ‘Look at it and at what I have prepared for its people in it.’ He looked at it, then returned and said: ’By Your Glory, no one will hear of it, but he will enter it.’ So He commanded that it be surrounded by hardships and said: ‘Go and look at it and what I have prepared for its people in it.’ He looked at it and saw that hardships had surrounded it. He (Jibril) said: ‘By Your Glory, I fear that no one will enter it.’ He (Allah) said: ‘Go and look at the Fire and what I have prepared for its people in it.’ So he looked at it, and parts of it were piled upon other parts. He returned and said: ‘By Your Glory, no one will enter it.’ So He commanded that it be surrounded with pleasures and said: ‘Go and look at it.’ So he looked at it and saw that treats surrounded it. He came back and said: ‘By Your Glory, I fear that no one will be saved from it and all will enter it.’” [Muslim]
It is not easy to instill in yourself all the religious habits that will lead to salvation, but it becomes easy if you seek to do so through Allah. Ask Allah continuously to help you, guide you, strengthen you and push away the traits of laziness, temptation, lust, and greed. Humans are followers of their habits, and when you get accustomed to certain lifestyles and routines and know what to expect, it does not seem like hardship anymore. Instead, you will taste the sweetness of faith and worship.
My advice to you is to start little by little. Keep up with your prayers, but study the obligatory knowledge first because it will make practicing it much more manageable. Learn to pay zakat correctly, and do it.
Learn how to fast correctly and do it, and then work slowly on purifying the heart and tongue. No such expectations force you to do what is beyond your capabilities. Keep this hadith in mind. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Take on only as much as you can do of good deeds, for the best of deeds is that which is done consistently, even if it is little.” [Ibn Maja]
Please see these links as well:
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqida, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.