On That Mid Ramadan Slump – Ustadh Salman Younas

Originally Published: 22/06/2016

With half of Ramadan gone, does your worship feel routine and stale? Is feeling this way making you lazier and less excited about performing more acts of worship? Ustadh Salman Younas says this is not uncommon.

This is a challenge that every one of us faces when it comes to our acts of worship. As humans, we have been created weak and part of this weakness are the fluctuations we experience in our states. Sometimes we feel good, excited, and spiritually high; other times we feel stale, lazy, and lacking in presence. Ramadan is no exception when it comes to this.
Before giving you specific advice, the first thing you need to recognize is that feelings are ultimately inconsequential. We worship because we believe God is worthy of worship. Whether it makes us feel good or excited is not the main focus. However, since these feelings become impediments to worship itself for most people, it is important to take some concrete steps in overcoming them when possible.
In this noble month, I would advise you to do the following to reignite the spark:

1. Renew Intentions & Seek God’s Aid

This may sound obvious but it is not so for many people. When we begin to wane in our worship and do not feel the same presence we used to, it is a good time to pause, analyze one’s intention, and turn to God in assistance. Often times, these states are sent precisely as a test to see whether we try to lift ourselves up, turn to Him, and continue striving to do our best. So, perform ablution, pray two cycles, and renew your intention to be in the worship of God to the best of your ability.

2. Don’t Miss Suhur

This is one of the first actions that people stop doing as Ramadan progresses. But suhur is not simply done to keep us somewhat satiated for the long day ahead. Rather, it is a spiritual act which when done the right way with the right intention fills one’s day with blessing (baraka). As the Prophet (God bless him) said, “Partake in suhur for indeed there is blessing in it.” [Bukhari, Muslim] Force yourself to wake up with some time to spare, eat a healthy breakfast, and engage in some worship – no matter how little – before Fajr. When you start your day in a blessed manner, chances are that it will continue in that manner.

3. Freshen Up & Dress Well

If you’re at home, don’t lounge around in your nighties. This is almost asking to be lazy and unproductive. Stay fresh by taking a shower (ghusl) or at the least remaining on ablution (wudu’), keep yourself well-groomed, and dress well. Studies show that clothing can systematically influence an individual’s psychological processes and effect productivity. Additionally, taking care of one’s appearance is part of the sunna.

4. Change Up Your Worship

Often times, breaking out of a stale state requires modifications to one’s daily habits. If you are not finding presence in your supererogatory prayer (nawafil), try to replace some of it with Qur’an or dhikr. Perhaps introduce some reading of tafsir or listening to a lecture by a scholar you enjoy. If you worship mostly at home, visit the masjid for spiritual upliftment; if you do dhikr in your room, go out for a quiet walk with your misbaha (prayer beads); if you usually pray by yourself at home, start praying with other family members.

5. Be Diplomatic & Balanced

The self (nafs) is not an easy thing to tame. Sometimes, we need to approach it diplomatically. Demand worship from it but let it breath a little a bit too. If it wants to check Facebook or Twitter or relax for a bit, then do so in moderation but make sure you tell it to read some Qur’an or perform a few cycles of prayer after. As one of my teachers said, “Give your nafs what it wants from the halal and then take from it what you want from good actions and worship.” This will hopefully ensure that you don’t burn out. As the Prophet (God bless him) said, “This religion is ease and none makes it difficult except that it will overwhelm him. So, perform your deeds properly and in moderation…” [Bukhari]

6. Good Company & Collective Worship

There is a reason why the larger community is so stressed upon in our tradition. Believers feed off each others’ states and push each other towards something higher than themselves. They uplift each other and provide motivation to engage in the good. The mosque is an obvious place to meet others and engage in collective worship, but so is your home. Keep the Ramadan excitement going in your household by making the family have iftar together, praying together, watching your favorite lectures, going to talks/events, and visiting/inviting people over for iftar. The same can be done with your friends.
While there are a number of other points that can be mentioned, the most important thing is to keep at it. Do not give up on your worship simply because you are not feeling it anymore. Rather, try your best and recognize that worship transcends the temporal feelings that we may experience. These ups and downs are part of the test that God has laid out for us to see who among us “will excel in good deeds.” (11;7) Hopefully, by following some of the above points, the excitement of worship will be reignited. That is what we require at this point: a little spark that we can capitalize on so as to fully benefit from this month.
And God alone gives success.

Ramadan 2020 Reminders | Episode 2: The Struggle Is Real – Shaykh Salman Younas

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented event that has seriously impacted people. Individuals are not only isolated from family and community, many have lost their livelihoods and are struggling. In times like these, Muslims are taught to come to the aid of others through their wealth, time, and resources in order to ensure the safety and stability of the wider community.

SeekersGuidance: The Global Islamic Seminary offers structured learning and inspiring religious guidance, completely free. We also offer over a dozen classes with scholars from around the world streamed live this Ramadan. View the full schedule and tune in daily at https://www.seekersguidance.org/live.
We offer FREE courses, with clear learning streams for Islamic studies, Youth Islamic Studies, and Learning Arabic as well as a range of topics. To Register Visit https://www.seekersguidance.org/courses.
During this current crisis, we need your help in spreading clarity in these confusing times. We are in a time when scholars and students are left without support due to the closing of religious institutions and we can’t afford to let this hurt people’s faith. Help us to raise $1 million with your zakat and charity and support the Islamic Scholars Fund.
You can also assist SeekersGuidance in spreading the light of guidance through our at https://www.seekersguidance.org/donate.

The Believer, Futuwwa, & Times of Crisis – Shaykh Salman Younas

A few days ago, I visited the local supermarket to stock up on some basic supplies for the home – some rice, canned food, tissues, cleaning items, and medicine. An announcement from the government was imminent, and anticipating a potential decision to close schools, offices, and other public venues and activities, people were rushing to prepare themselves for the worse of the coronavirus crisis. 

Finding some of the items on my list proved a difficult task. Fever reducing medication, such as paracetamol, was sold-out in most places despite efforts to limit the quantity individuals could purchase. I went from store to store until finally I was able to purchase the maximum two packets of medicine allocated to each customer. This was the fifth store I had visited. Earlier, as I walked in the medicine aisle of one chain pharmacy, I saw an elderly couple looking for the same medicine that I was. There was none, of course, and I informed them that the situation was the same at the local supermarket. 

The coming days will prove to be challenging for many of us: increasingly confined to our homes and uncertain of what to expect in the coming few weeks and months. Some people, however, will be faced with difficulties of an entirely different magnitude. The coronavirus, which has gripped the entire world, is particularly dangerous for those above the age of sixty and those with underlying health conditions. Significant numbers will succumb to the virus, while many others will be hospitalized in critical and intensive care. The empty shelves we are seeing as a result of the paranoia that has gripped various nations also means that many will probably find themselves struggling to find basic supplies and medicine, at least until a system is implemented to ensure demand is met.

Islam teachers us that the believer is someone who maximizes benefit and minimizes harm for all those around him. Often, when we speak about our treatment and dealing with other people, the concept of mercy, love, care, selflessness, etc., come to mind. In Islam, there is another concept that is all encompassing of the adab a believer is meant to display: futuwwa, or chivalry.

Its foundation, as stated by Imam al-Qushayri, is “that the servant of God always exerts himself in the service of others.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) This is in keeping with the statement of the Prophet (blessings and peace be upon him), “Allah is in the aide of his servant as long as the servant is in aide of his brother.” (Sahih Muslim) There are several futuwwa traits that we should uphold in these trying times, among them:

  1. Minimizing harm to others. Imam al-Junayd said, “Chivalry means keeping trouble away from others.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) This is an all-encompassing definition. In the current context, keeping trouble away from others entails ensuring that one is not a cause for the spread of this illness in any way shape or form to an interdiction on hoarding, raising prices, spreading false news, and more. The believer is someone who avoids causing difficulties for others, while bearing the difficulties caused by them.
  2. Making active efforts to assist those around us. Imam al-Qushayri said, “Chivalry is that you do not hide from those who seek your assistance.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) The coming weeks will see individuals in our community struggle: financially, emotionally, and in other ways. They will look to the wider community to lift them up and it is the duty of every Muslim to extend them his hand in support. This should be something we do actively without being asked. As Sufyan al-Thawri said, “It is contrary to proper adab to not serve when you are able to.” (Kitab al-Futuwwa)
  3. Giving to people freely. Imam al-Qushayri said, “Chivalry is that you neither hoard wealth nor seek excuses to avoid giving to those in need.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) The past few days have shown that people are concerned about the future, which has resulted in buying goods in bulk often at the expense of others. This is contrary to trust in Allah (tawakkul). Part of chivalry is to have trust that one’s sustenance is guaranteed and not let concern for it prevent from assisting others.
  4. Giving preference to others. Imam Jafar al-Sadiq said, “Chivalry is that if we are given something, we prefer to give it to someone else.” (al-Risala al-Qushayriyya) This only arises from worldly detachment, being satisfied with little for oneself, and wishing much for others. It is expected of the Muslim in good times and is demanded of him even more when hard times fall on people. As the current crisis unfolds, Muslims will have to freely and generously give of their wealth, time, and resources in order to ensure the well-being of wider society.
  5. Showing compassion to all of creation. This manifests in numerous ways: a cheerful smile, a kind gesture, soothing words, tolerating the actions of others, overlooking faults, empathy, and praying for all. Everything we do in these moments should embody prophetic compassion. In times of uncertainty and anxiety, the believer will encounter unsavoury things, but he must confront them not with negativity, harshness, or complacency, but positivity, patience, and decency.

In Islamic discourse, the fata was essentially the word used to describe the ideal, noble man whose hospitality and generosity was so expansive that he left little for himself. The term futuwwa came to denote a code of honourable conduct that followed the examples of the prophets, saints, and righteous. At its core was the notion of not just generosity, but an almost heroic generosity of time, wealth, and spirit where one went above and beyond for his fellow human beings. If there was any time for Muslims to adopt the ethics and traits associated with futuwwa – loyalty, generosity, humility, courage, etc. -, it is this time we find ourselves in right now.

COVID-19 Webinar: A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic

Announcing the SeekersGuidance COVID-19 Webinar This Sunday!

As this pandemic spreads across the world, the Muslim community is struggling to find answers to many questions. Along with the critical advice of health and medical professionals, we are in dire need of Prophetic Guidance. SeekersGuidance has put together an important program to provide clarity in these challenging times with Muslim scholars, teachers, medical professionals, and thought leaders from around the world.

COVID-19 Webinar: A Global Islamic Response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, will live stream on our website at seeke.rs/live and our Facebook page, this coming Sunday, March 22nd, at 1:00PM EST.


Some of our confirmed speakers:

Shaykh Faraz Rabbani | Toronto, Canada

Mufti Hussain Kamani | Texas, United States

Dr. Asim Yusuf | West Midlands, United Kingdom

Imam Khalid Latif | New  York, United States

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan | Cape Town, South Africa

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat | Bradford, United Kingdom

Ustadha Zaynab Ansari | Knoxville, United States

Ustadh Mohammed Tayssir Safi | Istanbul, Turkey

Shaykh Salman Younas | London, United Kingdom

Dr. Hadia Mubarak | North Carolina, United States

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed | Toronto, Canada

Dr. Idriss Sparkes | Waterloo, Canada

Imam Hamid Slimi | Toronto, Canada

Shaykh Amin Buxton | Edinburgh, Scotland

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch | Toronto, Canada

Imam Yama Niazi | Vancouver, Canada

Dr. Yusuf Patel | Cape Town, South Africa

Ustadh Abdullah Misra | Trinidad

Moulana Zakariyya Harnekar | Cape Town, South Africa

Moulana Muhammad Carr | Cape Town, South Africa

 

Don’t miss out on this beautiful event .

 

May Allah bless you all and keep you all healthy, amin.