How Can I Find Back the Sweetness of the Early Days in My Practice?

Answered by Ustadh Sharif Rosen

Question: Assalam alaykum

I’m in a terrible state. I no longer feel any peace in my heart when performing acts of worship. When I pray, my entire focus is on my pronunciation. I don’t even have time to memorize because all of my time is spent on repenting. I feel like I have no connection with Allah. How can I get back to normal again?

Answer: as-Salamu ‘alaykum.

Jazakum Allah khayran for your question. May Allah aid you with relief and freedom from the condition that has overcome you.

From the struggles you have outlined, it appears that some of your challenges — from lacking focus in worship to over-straining yourself in recitation — may stem from trying to study and apply the religion on your own, without teachers helping to guide your progress. Studying with qualified traditional scholars in the Islamic sciences should introduce you to the sound and balanced methods of applying sacred law. Moreover, they should inspire you to approach your worship anew with a heart imbued with life and vitality, rather than burden and fatigue.

As a starting point, I would recommend you prioritize finding such scholars in your region or local community as this knowledge is most powerfully conveyed in the direct presence of the living heirs to the Islamic tradition. If this is not possible, I strongly suggest you consider taking courses here on SeekersHub, particularly under the headings of Living Religion; Islamic Law; and Spirituality.

May Allah help you to reclaim the savor of faith, and nearness to Him in all of your moments.

[Ustadh] Sharif Rosen

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Sharif Rosen is the Muslim Chaplain at Williams College (in the Northeastern United States) where he works to enhance campus life through spiritual and pastoral care; advocacy and coalition building; and deepening mutual understanding within and between communities.  His formative Islamic studies, past and ongoing, have been at the hands of scholars connected via unbroken transmission to the Prophet Muhammad, upon him be peace and blessings.  Most of Sharif’s training occurred in Amman, Jordan from 2008 – 2013, with a focus on creed, ritual law, spirituality, Quranic recitation and exegesis and through which he has received permission to transmit his Islamic learning.  Sharif has a B.A. in History from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, and is now completing his graduate studies.  He completed the Classical Arabic program at the Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman, where he was also the Director of Student Life.  He currently serves as the Vice President for Educational Chaplaincy with the U.S.-based Association of Muslim Chaplains.

What Can I Do to Rebuild my Connection With Allah Which Was Stronger Before I Had Children?

Answered by Ustadha Shireen Ahmed

Question: Assalam alaykum,

I am a mother of several children. Since having them I feel I am unable to connect to Allah anymore in my prayers and du’as.

What can I do to rebuild the connection to Allah which was stronger before I had children?

Answer: Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,

Try to work on increasing your knowledge and remembrance of Allah Most High. This can be attained by:

-spending a small amount of time with the Quran daily, and reflecting on the meanings

-listening to beneficial classes whenever you are driving in the car or in the kitchen, you can even take SeekersHub courses in this manner

-busy your tongue with remembrance of Allah throughout your day, and salawat on the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. This can be as simple as saying bismillah before each of your actions and intend seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High. This helps to keep one in a more calm state, for “verily with the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest”.

-make a high intention before each of your actions throughout the day, that you are seeking the pleasure of Allah Most High. For example: when washing clothes, thank Allah Most High for the blessing of having those clothes, for having soap, for having a washing machine to wash clothes, make dua for the owners of the clothes that they conduct themselves with righteousness and piety now and in years to come, etc.

-keep toys in bins that are not accessible to your toddler except when you give them to him; this way you can take down a bin of unfamiliar toys to occupy him while you are praying; you can also give the 5 month old an unfamiliar baby toy when you are about to pray to occupy her during that time

-try and spend just 5-10 minutes a day reading beneficial islamic books which help you to learn about Allah and His Messenger to increase in love and reverence of Him

-find friends or relatives who can help you with the children for the days when you are feeling overly stressed or anxious; the highest stress level for a mother is when continuous caring for children under the age of 5, so once in a while it is ideal if you can leave them for just an hour or so, to go and do your groceries, run necessary errands, or do something you really enjoy when you feel your patience is running thin (you can usually tell this is happening to you if you have an angry outburst about a minor issue)

We also have a lesson set on improving one’s prayer which you can find here.

I recorded a class on improving one’s prayer which you can watch here.

[Ustadha] Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar)

Ustadha Shireen Ahmed (Umm Umar) inspires her students as a living example example of what is possible when one is committed to gaining sacred knowledge.  Teacher, student, activist, mother, wife — Umm Umar shows that it is possible to balance worldly responsibilities with the pursuit of knowledge.

Umm Umar was born and raised in Canada, where she graduated from the University of Toronto with a B.A. in Psychology and Sociology. During her university studies, she was actively involved in MSA work at the local and national levels. After graduation, she set out to formally pursue sacred knowledge, studying Arabic at the University of Damascus and Islamic studies at Jamia Abi Nour and taking private classes in Qur’anic recitation, Prophetic traditions, Islamic Law (Hanafi) and the Prophetic biography.