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Islamic Time Management: The Ultimate Hack in Islam (Part 2) – Sidi Tushar Imdad

The Ultimate Hack in Islam

Last week, we discovered that the greatest hack in Islam is undoubtedly the niyyah or intention.

Today, I want to explore three innovative ways in which you can utilise this amazing gift from Allah. I’m pretty sure some of these techniques will be new to you.

1. Start intending for mundane actions
As mentioned in the previous article, possibly 95% of our actions are outside formal ritual worship. How long does it actually take to pray our 5 daily prayers? Perhaps 1-2 hours a day if we include wudhu and going to the masjid for some prayers.

That leaves over 20 hours which could be wasted – if we neglect our intentions.

Most of this can be covered in 3 areas:
a) Sleep – around 8 hours a day. Don’t forget the Sunnah du’as and then INTEND that you are following the Sunnah of giving your body rest so it can better worship Allah when you wake.

b) Work – whether at the office, for your business or at home – again around 8 hours a day. When you set out to work, or at the start of your first task of the day make an intention then. E.g. ‘Ya Allah, I intend this work to serve my family and free me from begging from others.’

c) Family – around 3-4 hours morning and evening. When you see your spouse/child after a hard day of work, intend that you will love them, help them, teach them and guide them to worship Allah.

2. Global Intention
Not many Muslims have heard of this one. At the beginning of the day, make an intention for all the things you will do that day. I like to do this at Salat ul-Duha time and read a du’a like: ‘Rabbi taqabbal min-ni, hayaati, mamaati wa kulli a’amaali’ (My Lord! Accept from me my life, my death and all my works). In a few weeks, inshaAllah, I will be sharing some du’as like this which I recommend for your Morning Routine.

This hack saves you from having to remember to intend before every single action.

3. Multiple Intentions
Finally, another great way to earn multiple rewards for the same action is to make multiple intentions. For example, when you are relaxing with your family in the evenings, you can intend (a) strengthening family ties, (b) bringing happiness to the heart of a believer, (c) rest and refreshment as a recharge to do more ibaadah later. That’s three for one!

One of my teachers mentioned that the more one studies with the ‘ulema and the more sacred knowledge one has, the more intentions you will learn. Anyone who has studied fiqh with a trained ‘alim can attest to this!

For example, In Shaykh Aydarus’ wonderful little book ‘The Book of Intentions’ he gives 7 detailed intentions just for visiting a friend! And 18 for business/trading (will definitely post that on LinkedIn!).

What about getting to 100X or 700X reward? Well that depends on the strength and purity of one’s intention as well as the purity of one’s heart. There have been great figures in our history who could perform miracles through reciting the Fatiha alone. The method to get to that level is beyond my expertise and we all need to sit in the company of righteous scholars for such spiritual knowledge.

But we can ALL improve the quantity and quality of our intentions. So avoid shooting blanks and make sure you are maximising the reward and potential of Allah’s good pleasure by 1) intending for mundane actions like sleeping, eating, etc.; 2) make a global intention at the start of each day; and 3) make multiple intentions as much as you can to gain multiplied reward!!

If you enjoyed this article, you can sign up to Tushar’s mailing list for his weekly Jum’a articles, free content about Islamic Time Management as well as updates for exciting courses or services: https://mailchi.mp/5879bd7982eb/tusharimdad


Biography:
Tushar Imdad (aka Tushar Mohammed Imdad-ul-Haque Bhuiya) is an Islamic Time Management Coach and Educational Entrepreneur. Professionally trained as a high school English teacher, Tushar has taught or managed prominent Islamic schools in Leicester, UK, between 2007-2016. With a flair for managing multiple roles, Tushar is also a GCSE English examiner, a teacher trainer for AMS UK; professional proofreader; former lead instructor at Madrasa Manara; and is currently the Director of Shaykhspeare’s Online English Academy and High Impact Tutors.  
 
A long-term student of knowledge, Tushar has studied a range of Islamic sciences at the feet of scholars such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Umm Sahl, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Maulana Ilyas Patel and Ustadh Tabraze Azam. In 2015 he completed Level 5 of the Classical Arabic Program from the prestigious Qasid Institute, Amman.   
 
Throughout his varied career, Tushar has always been driven by a passion for time management. Starting in 2009, he has delivered a mixture of workshops, webinars, web-coaching and client visits, attracting delegates as varied as CEOs, corporate professionals, housewives, dentists and scholars from places spanning the UK, US and Middle East. Tushar has published articles and delivered training for ProductiveMuslim.com, SeekersGuidance.org and Qibla.com (now Kiflayn). In recent years he has immersed himself in  productivity systems, learning from world-class experts such as Demir Bentley, the authors of The One Thing, Leo Babuta and James Clear. His recent courses have included  ‘Principles of Islamic Time Management’, ‘Time Tactics 101’ and ‘The Breakthrough Habit’.


Islamic Time Management (1) : The Ultimate Hack in Islam – Sidi Tushar Imdad

The Ultimate Hack in Islam

Did you know that any good deed you do could be rewarded anywhere between one, to 10X, to 700X or ‘even more’?

Two people could both be working at a task, let’s say writing a report for work. One gets the reward of 1 and another gets 700!

The reality could be even more extreme. One person could be getting a NEGATIVE, by committing a sin through this report (for example, by recommending a haram transaction) and the other could be getting MILLIONS of hasanat (good deeds) for the same amount of effort.

The reason for the difference is the ultimate hack in Islam. And it’s something we all know, but seldom utilize to its INFINITE potential.

I’m talking about INTENTION (niyyah).

In one of the most foundational hadiths of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), we learn that ‘Actions are judged according to their intentions.’

Now we all know that we must make an intention before fasting, or getting married, or praying a particular salah. But do we make strong intentions for all the other actions which make up 95% of our time?

Imagine, if you knew a friend doing the same job as you. You both put in the same hours, the same effort and actually do the same thing. Yet you get paid £10/hr and she gets paid £100,000/hr! Talk about not meeting your potential! You’d feel utterly cheated, squandered and robbed of your time, right?

Well this could be happening to us right now! Imagine if for 95% of our time – our sleep, our eating, our 8-10 hours of daily work – we were only gaining 1 or even 0 good deeds (because we had no intention – just going through the motions). When we could have been gaining 700X for all of these same deeds!

The bottom line: if you don’t actively make good intentions then you are literally firing blanks on most of your days, most of your nights and most of your life.

The good news? This incredible gift from Allah is the most powerful hack imaginable as it means you can gain tens, hundreds and even 1000X more profit in this world and the next – with the same deed.

Think of it as the amount of return on investment (ROI) for your deeds. Someone puts £1 in a bank and it stays the same. Another person invests it into a halal enterprise and gains £1000s from the same £1.

You can do this with your deeds, and it’s much more valuable than money.

Now the question remains, HOW do you ensure a deed gets 10X or 100X or 700X or more?

That’s too much to answer for now, but it requires an understanding of the issues of QUANTITY and QUALITY of intentions – in order to cover all your bases. We’ll look into that in the next installment of this mini-series on ‘The Ultimate Hack in Islam’.

This is the type of knowledge what I term ‘Islamic Time Management’. It’s priceless and that’s why I’m so passionate about it.

If you enjoyed this article, you can sign up to Tushar’s mailing list for his weekly Jum’a articles, free content about Islamic Time Management as well as updates for exciting courses or services: https://mailchi.mp/5879bd7982eb/tusharimdad


Biography:
Tushar Imdad (aka Tushar Mohammed Imdad-ul-Haque Bhuiya) is an Islamic Time Management Coach and Educational Entrepreneur. Professionally trained as a high school English teacher, Tushar has taught or managed prominent Islamic schools in Leicester, UK, between 2007-2016. With a flair for managing multiple roles, Tushar is also a GCSE English examiner, a teacher trainer for AMS UK; professional proofreader; former lead instructor at Madrasa Manara; and is currently the Director of Shaykhspeare’s Online English Academy and High Impact Tutors.  
 
A long-term student of knowledge, Tushar has studied a range of Islamic sciences at the feet of scholars such as Shaykh Nuh Keller, Umm Sahl, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Maulana Ilyas Patel and Ustadh Tabraze Azam. In 2015 he completed Level 5 of the Classical Arabic Program from the prestigious Qasid Institute, Amman.   
 
Throughout his varied career, Tushar has always been driven by a passion for time management. Starting in 2009, he has delivered a mixture of workshops, webinars, web-coaching and client visits, attracting delegates as varied as CEOs, corporate professionals, housewives, dentists and scholars from places spanning the UK, US and Middle East. Tushar has published articles and delivered training for ProductiveMuslim.com, SeekersGuidance.org and Qibla.com (now Kiflayn). In recent years he has immersed himself in  productivity systems, learning from world-class experts such as Demir Bentley, the authors of The One Thing, Leo Babuta and James Clear. His recent courses have included  ‘Principles of Islamic Time Management’, ‘Time Tactics 101’ and ‘The Breakthrough Habit’.

What is a Right Intention?

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

What is a right Intention?

For example, I clothe myself because I do not want to be ashamed by people. When I say to myself that I clothe myself because I want to cover my awrah (because of Allah) I do not believe myself because I know that if Allah would not deem it haram I would still cover myself.

How can someone have multiple intentions?

Allah says: “Then perhaps you would kill yourself through grief over them, [O Muhammad], if they do not believe in this message, [and] out of sorrow.”
Can you explain to me this Ayah? Isn’t it the case here that the prophet had grief over them merely because they would get the punishment by Allah?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Embryonic stages of worship

The word for intention in Arabic is linguistically related to the word seed (nawa). Allah Most High tells us in the Quran how he makes the seed to come out. [6: 95] He also bring out our intentions and brings them to full fruition.

The issue of intention is so fundamental because it is the topic of why we do what we do: what drives us in every moment we live.

Specific intentions

Specific good intentions are there to change the bad motives we have within us so that we can move towards having one universal good intention: Allah alone.

We use intentions such helping the poor, fulfilling our obligations to others, or avoiding the Hell-Fire, to turn our heart again and again to Allah. Bit by bit the various disperate and sometimes contradictory intentions become one drive to please and thank Allah.

For example, someone wants to put on some clothes. One reason is because they look nice and they want people to see them: a bad intention; another reason is because they want to avoid the Hell-Fire by covering their nakedness in public; yet another is to fulfill the sunna of beautification; and still another is to enjoy Allah’s blessings, by wearing really nice clothes. This last one almost seems to conflict with the first, and also conflict with the shyness and humility this person feels before Allah.

In this myriad of motives and reasons, the job of selecting very specific and pure intentions is paramount: Hell and Paradise are equidistant from such a person as he wrestles with the good and bad within him.

Universal intentions

Over time and with persistent effort, the heart turns more and more towards Allah and all the various and multifaceted intentions become subsumed within one drive to please and know and worship Allah. Allah becomes the Kaaba of his heart. As Saadi put it:

O man of God, take the way of God;
O man of God, take to the Kaaba of divine good-pleasure.

Someone like this can join between more than one intention just like someone who breathes can join between the use of many, many muscles in one natural process.

Dying for grief

The Prophet (Allah bless him and grant him peace) loved Allah and loved his nation and suffered indescribable pains in his work to guide each and every one of those he was sent to. This compassion and concern is what we have to take away from the verse.

As for the explanation of the verse, some scholars have understood it to mean that Allah asked the Prophet as a rhetorical question telling him not to be sad. Others have said that it a phrase of comfort and support. (al-Alusi)

I pray this helps.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed. 

Is It Necessary to Intend to Recite Each Verses of the Fatiha? [ Shafi’i ]

Answered by Shaykh Farid Dingle

Question: Assalamu alaykum

Is it necessary to intend to recite each verses of the Fatiha?

How to deal with involuntary semen leakage?

How to know if I have an excuse regarding wudu for prayer?

Answer: Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

It is not necessary to intent reciting the Fatiha. The intention at the beginning of the prayer covers the intentions for following integrals.

As for semen leakage, if it is something occasional, such as every other day, then you must make ghusl if it comes out.

As for when it becomes something intolerable, such as when it starts to occur regularly at work then you can just follow the Maliki school and ignore it. The rule in the Maliki school is that if the impurities exit unpredictably and irregularly during most or all of the prayer times the ruling is that it does not require wudu or ghusl. [Dardir, Sharh Saghir] The same would apply to gas or urine.

Please also see this answer.

I pray this helps.

Wassalam,
[Shaykh] Farid Dingle

Shaykh Farid Dingle grew up in a convert family in Herefordshire, UK. In 2007, he moved to Jordan to pursue traditional studies. Shaykh Farid continues to live in Amman, Jordan with his wife and kids. In addition to continuing his studies he teaches Arabic and several of the Islamic sciences.

Shaykh Farid began his journey in sacred knowledge with intensives in the UK and Jordan (2004) in Shafi’i fiqh and Arabic. After years of studying Arabic grammar, Shafi’i fiqh, hadith, legal methodology (usul al-fiqh) and tafsir, Sh. Farid began specializing in Arabic language and literature. Sh. Farid studied Pre-Islamic poetry, Umayyad, Abbasid, Fatimid, and Andalusian literature. He holds a BA in Arabic Language and Literature and continues exploring the language of the Islamic tradition.

In addition to his interest in the Arabic language Shaykh Farid actively researches matters related to jurisprudence (fiqh) which he studied with Shaykh Hamza Karamali, Shaykh Ahmad Hasanat, and continues with Shaykh Amjad Rasheed.

Conquering Mount Sawm, by Tushar Imdad-ul-Haq Bhuiya

Especially motivating for those dreading the long summer fasts, the following diary entries, written by British educator Tushar Imdad-ul-Haq Bhuiya, should provide reassurance that keeping hunger at bay isn’t as hard as it seems.Although describing the challenge of keeping a voluntary fast, the lessons are just as relevant for Ramadan.

After reading extracts from Brad Pilon’s Eat. Stop. Eat, encouragement from my teacher and reflection upon the Sunna, I decide to embark on the ultimate challenge for a food-loving Muslim: a voluntary fast. (And since it’s British summer time, the fast lasts from 02:30 till 9PM – 19½ hours!). What encouraged me was last Ramadan’s experience; we British Muslims dreaded the long summer fast of 2012 – the longest of its kind for almost 30 years! And yet, we did it. It wasn’t that hard. Indeed, I found this extract from a hindsight entry made last year under the title ‘Miracle of Fasting’:

“I somehow fasted from 4.50am till 9.30PM, possibly my longest ever. And it wasn’t hard – despite my normally having 3 square meals and 2 tea-breaks in that time! Allah made it easy, put baraka in my suhur and gave me energy, Alhamdulillah!”

So I went to sleep last night, after a late Isha, with the intention that if Allah would get me up at Tahajjud, only then would I fast with the following intentions:

  1. To follow the exalted Sunna, which should suffice us from having any other motive (though, as with other Sunnas, modern scientific findings help us appreciate the worldly benefits)
  2. To discipline my mind and nafs (self/soul) not to think about food all the time, and therefore
  3. Have a more productive day

02:50 AM

Allah woke me at 2:05AM and I knew He wanted me to try this experiment (perhaps so I could share it with SeekersHub Global readers!). I scrambled to the kitchen to prepare an odd suhur of instant porridge, last night’s pizza & chips leftovers, tea, a date and orange juice. Suitably stuffed, and after some fervent du’a, I’m ready to face the day… after the small matter of sleep!

1:15 PM

Breakfast wasn’t an issue as I was still full from suhur. No headaches or tiredness either. Skipped my compulsory tea-break at work without fuss. This is a big deal as, normally, the first moment after finishing my lesson at 10:30  I’d be rushing to the kitchen to make a cuppa! Got some less intensive down-time for the next few hours. Over half way now: so far, so good.

From a teacher’s point of view I find the ability to fast extraordinary. The nafs is like a teenager/child. Where it knows it has options, it’ll test the boundaries and ask for more than it deserves. However when the boundaries are clear from the outset of the day and one has made the firm resolve NOT to eat until sunset, the nafs grows quiet and barely a squeak of defiance is ever heard!

4:30

Three hours later and still no pangs, Alhamdulillah. I got a slight headache after hours of study on a Seekers Guidance course,  email checking and internet research. The research was worth it though: found out about The Fast Diet which contains much of the inspiration that got me started.

Now, after a brief rest, am pretty energized whilst tutoring the first of two lessons. Only two problems I’ve encountered so far: tendency to do excessive or useless internet jobs, and a longing for Maghrib time to come!

7:00

Last lesson done. Slight headache. Will rest for 20 mins before Tai Chi class at 7:30.

10:00

OK, Tai Chi was agony on my legs for some reason (found out later that this was due to my incorrect posture in one of the positions!) But Maghrib came upon me far from passing out due to hunger.

Conquering Mount Sawm…From the Outside

So if I could climb and conquer Mount Sawm outside Ramadan, anyone can. I’ll leave you with a few top tips that helped me get there:

  1. Have a strong intention for Allah.
  2. Consume a hearty, nutritious (I did have porridge remember!) suhur
  3. Read inspiring literature about benefits of the fast: if you’re not up to date with the two world famous and highly popular diets that lead incredible scientific support to the Sunna fasting system, then do read The Fast Diet by Mosley and Eat.Stop.Eat by Pilon
  4. Keep really busy. I’m sure you noticed my day was quite packed with different activities including work, study and fitness.
  5. Ponder that if millions of other Muslims around the world can do it, so can you. Mothers do this to get over the fear of childbirth. Fasting is not nearly as painful. If you need motivation outside Ramadan, when you are struggling to fast when most people aren’t, then there are a few things to consider: a) Your worship is especially likely to be more sincere. Keep your fast secret (as is recommended with all voluntary acts) and enjoy the special connection you have with Allah, knowing that you are fasting sincerely for His pleasure alone; b) The health benefits you learn from acting upon point 3 above is enough to inspire anyone to take up fasting weekly. Non-Muslims throughout the UK are ‘fasting’ Monday and Thursday due to the proven long-term benefits to health. As Muslims we have even more motivation; c) Although, not everyone is fasting, you can be sure that the ‘ulema of Taqwa, awliya and saliheen all fast regularly. It’s certainly comforting to know you are united with them in following the Sunnah of regular voluntary fasting.
  6. Allow yourself a Sunna qaylula (afternoon nap) after Zuhr; in long summer days this means you can get through plenty of work before your nap. Many nap straight after work. When you wake, it’s just the final lap with the finish line in sight.
  7. Enjoy and take advantage of the fact that you can be so much more productive on a fast day.

The Thought is Scarier Than the Experience

As we’ve all experienced, the thought of fasting – of not having one’s regular meals, of skipping one’s normal snacks – is actually a lot more frightening than the fast itself. Ironically, this is like productivity generally: the anticipation of how difficult it will be to achieve important goals is normally much worse than the actual experience.

And so the upshot is also the same: stop worrying; just do it! Ramadan Mubarak to all reading this and I’d be so grateful if you could remember me in your duas when you break your fasts.

Fruit Photo by Michael Stern. Clock picture by Christine Callahan.

Resources for Seekers

Valid Make Up Fasts

Ustadh Farid Dingle clarifies the rulings on making up fasts, intentions and actions, and reward from Allah, according to the Shafi‘i madhhab.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I became Muslim during the month of Ramadan 2012. When I became Muslim I was not told to fast so out of ignorance I didn’t fast that Ramadan. As time went on and I began to learn more I realized I had to make these days up. At the time I decided to start making them up I was under the impression that I had to fast 2 consecutive months for each day missed. When I started to study (Shafi‘i) fiqh I found this to be incorrect. I had already fasted about a month consecutively before I found out the ruling and stopped, would this time I fasted count at all towards my make ups? Or is it invalid because the ruling wasn’t carried out correctly? Please advise.

Jazak Allah khayr

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In the Shafi‘i school, that wouldn’t count because the intention was to expiate and not to make-up the fast. This is because of the hadith, ‘Actions are only by intentions.’ [Bukhari and Muslim]

That said, you would get the reward for fasting a whole month regardless, even if it didn’t technically count as the obligatory fasts. Allah Most High says, ‘So He answered them saying, ‘Never will I allow to be lost the work of [any] worker among you, whether male or female.’ [3:195]

So, just work out exactly how many days of Ramadan 2012 you have to make them up, and just make them up before this coming Ramadan, even if not consecutively. Try to get them done soon as the days are still short, which makes it much easier.

I pray this helps.

Farid

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Intentions Purely for Allah

Ustadh Salman Younas explains how one can improve one’s intentions and how to make them purely for the sake of Allah.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

How do I know that I am doing things for God? How do I set my intentions?

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assaalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Being sincere in our actions – especially religious ones – is something we are commanded with in the Qur’an: “They have not been commanded except to worship God, sincerely devoting their religion to Him.” (98:5)

Imam al-Ghazali describes sincerity as “the purification of an an action from all blemishes… until the goal is exclusively to draw nearer to God with no other motive.” (Ihya’ Ulum al-Din) This can only arise from someone who constantly opposes the desires of his self, is well-acquainted with the ruses of the devil, loves God, and solely concentrates on the Hereafter such that the world is no longer desirable to him.

This particular degree of sincerity is extremely lofty and rare. Indeed, Sah al-Tustari when asked what was the most difficult thing for the self replied, “Sincerity, because the self has not share in it.” (al-Qushayri, al-Risala) For most, our acts of worship are admixed with intentions and motivations that are not god-centered. Some of these are apparent and easy to detect, while others are more subtle. Thus, for example, acting religious in order to impress a prospective spouse is clear ostentation. On the other hand, take the example of a person whose public acts of worship are sounder and better than when he is in private. He feels ashamed at such a discrepancy between his actions in front of people and when he is alone. So, he strives to make sure his private actions are just as good. This is a blemish on his sincerity since he pays heed to people and rectifies his private acts to feel better about his public ones.

Even though the rank of true sincerity is difficult to attain, this is not meant to discourage the believer in striving to attain it. God is merciful and aware of our limitations, our efforts, and sincerity. He will judge us based on our sincere efforts. Some practical steps we can take to ensure our intentions are pure:

(i) Ask God for sincerity in all of your actions. The core of sincerity is returning to God in all matters.

(ii) Exercise self-vigilance over your actions. One of the approaches recommended by some of my teachers is the ‘what/why/who’ approach. Before every action, ask yourself what you are doing, why you are doing it, and for whom it is being done. Keep at this and it will become second nature to be more aware of one’s actions and the motivations that underlay them.

(iii) Keep reminding yourself of death and the hereafter in order to diminish the value of this world.

(iv) Have a steady routine of good works that you do and especially works that no one is aware of. As Imam al-Qushayri mentioned, “Sincerity is to protect one’s actions from being observed by people. It is also true that sincerity means pious concealment [of one’s good deeds] from being observed by people.” (al-Risala)

(v) Always consider your deeds as imperfect and seek God’s repentance. Boasting and being proud of one’s actions even to ones self alone is a sign that it not fully sincere.

(vi) Surround yourself with people who keep your intentions in check and motivate you to oppose your self.

Salman

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.


 

Constantly Skipping Prayers

Shaykh Jamir Meah offers counsel on how to establish prayer, to make up missed prayers, and how to deal with emotional stumbling blocks.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I have been suffering from this problem for years. It is the worst problem in my life and I’m very scared. I have tried so many times not to skip any of the obligatory prayers but to no avail, even in the month of Ramadan. Sometimes I will write down the prayers that I missed and pay them back, but it will keep piling up. Then I will leave it and start fresh saying to myself, “I won’t skip it again,” but I always do.

I am so emotional and I become easily sad too. When i am sad I feel lazy and don’t offer prayers. I feel bad all the time when I miss or skip prayers, but I still do. I can go a full day without a single prayer. I am so scared because I know the great sin I have been committing by not offering my prayers, and I know if I don’t rectify this problem and die with it, then I will be in serious trouble on Judgement Day. Please what do I do? Please help me.

 

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

While the prayers are serious obligations, they are also meant to be the “comfort” of the believer’s eyes. They are by no means meant to be torturous!

Current Prayers

Simply pray your daily prayers on time, preferably as soon as the adhan goes off. Pray in congregation at the mosque at each opportunity. If it is overwhelming, stick to the obligatory prayers for now.
Also, when you make wudu, do it with high resolve and remind yourself that you are washing your limbs from sins and heedlessness and preparing yourself to stand in front of your Creator.

Make Up Prayers

While you must make these up, you need to be realistic in how you go about it. Make a daily schedule for them and stick to it, even if you make up one day’s prayer each day.
Please also refer to these answers: Missing Prayers Archives.

State of Mind

In regards your emotions and sadness, it is imperative that this is addressed. Please do consult a therapist that you feel comfortable with to help you work through and resolve the root causes behind these. This will help you with how you get on with prayers, Insha Allah.
Also, seek out good company, stay away from all forms of sins, from distractions; such as too much entertainment, even if lawful. Read the Qur’an daily, get involved in community work, social hobbies, and take care of what you eat, the exercise you get, the amount of sleep you get, and go to sleep early.
I pray the above helps.

Warmest salams,

Jamir

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.

 


 

 

 

Intention for Seeking Knowledge by Imam Haddad

In this article, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani provides commentary on Imam Haddad’s famous “Intention for Seeking Knowledge.” Text and translation of this supplication is also provided.

In the Name of Allah, the Merciful and Compassionate.

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, said, “Actions are by their intentions, and each person shall have whatsoever they intended.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

The reality of our actions is not merely what we do, but also why we do it. As Ibn Ata’illah explained, “Actions are lifeless forms, whose soul is the subtle reality of sincerity within them.” (Hikam al Ata’iyya)

Seeking Knowledge as a Spiritual Work

Seeking sacred knowledge (talab al-ilm) has been described in the Qur’an and Sunna as one of the highest of spiritual works. Thus, a sincere intention is particularly important.

Seeking knowledge can also be a source of honor and recognition in this world. This can be dangerous, as it can result in sinful inward traits such as pride, conceit, and arrogance. Only sincere intentions can protect a person, and fulfill the spiritual potential of seeking knowledge.

What is an Intention?

The scholars explain that an intention (niyya) is, “The resolve to (a) perform an act of obedience to Allah, (b) drawing closer to Allah thereby, (c) at the beginning of one’s action.” (Taftazani, quoted by Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar)

This has three components:
(a) “The resolve to perform an act of obedience” entails mindful, purposeful action. Bring to mind what are you doing, and that you are doing it as an act of obedience.
(b)“ … drawing closer to Allah…” entails bringing to mind that you are acting for the sake of Allah alone – seeking His Closeness, Love, Good Pleasure, and reward.
(c) “… at the beginning of the action,” entails pausing for a moment before you begin any action, at any time, in order to renew your resolve.

What is Sincerity?

Sincerity, or ikhlas, is the heart of Islam. It is defined by the scholars as, “Seeking to draw closer to Allah with one’s actions, without any ulterior motive.” (Qushayri)

Sahl ibn Abd Allah said, “The intelligent looked at sincerity, and the best description they found is that it is for one’s motions and rest – in private and in public – to be for Allah alone without partner, without anything being mixed into one’s motives. Not one’s ego, nor one’s whims, nor any merely worldly aspirations.” (Bayhaqi, Shu‘ab al-Iman)

Imam Haddad’s Intention for Knowledge: A Practical Means for Making High Intentions

Part of having sincere intentions (al-niyya al-saliha) is to reflect deeply on all the multiple ways one is seeking the Pleasure of Allah through one’s actions. This is called “multiplying one’s intention,” or ta’addud al-niyya.

Because such deep reflection is rare for most of us, the scholars compiled statements of intention to help us make high, transformative intentions before we act.

One such powerful statement of intention for seeking knowledge is Imam Abd Allah ibn Alawi al-Haddad’s “Intention for Seeking Sacred Knowledge.”

This intention defines both the ultimate purpose of seeking knowledge – “seeking Allah Himself, His Good Pleasure, Closeness, and Reward” –  as well as the multiple ways one can make one’s knowledge sincerely for Allah.

The scholars encourage making it a deliberate, purposeful habit to make such a statement of intention – in one’s heart or uttered – every time one begins studying, teaching, reading, or listening to Islamic knowledge.

Imam Haddad’s Intention for Seeking Knowledge


 

Strengthening One’s Aspiration

Ustadh Tabraze Azam answers a question about a constant feeling of discouragement in studies and how to strengthen one’s aspiration.

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Sometimes I get discouraged because I feel like when I move one step forward in my studies, I feel like I also jump ten steps back. In other words, I’ll learn something new and it will stick with me like glue, but my memory is so weak that the old material loses its strength.

This is very discouraging for me. Even one of my teachers noticed it today. I feel like I am wasting their time. Alongside consistently reviewing, are there other steps that I can take to help my memory? And general advice to help maintain my himma (aspiration) even when things get rough?

Answer:

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

I hope you are in the best of health and spirits, insha Allah.

Sidi Ibn Ata’illah al Iskandari said, “No matter is difficult if you seek it through your Lord, and nothing is easy if you seek it through yourself.”

Difficult times are to be expected. This is the dunya. However, with patience, perseverance, and a little realization, there is always a way out.

Allah Most High says:

And whoever is mindful of Allah, He will grant them a way out, and will provide for them in ways unimagined. And whoever places their trust in Allah, then Allah is their sufficiency. Allah’s affair will surely come to pass, and Allah has made a clear decree for everything. (Sura al Talaq 65:2-3)

Realize this and take the best possible means of attaining unto the goal. Consult more often regarding how and what you should review. What steps should you be taking to really benefit from the knowledge? How does it relate to other topics/subjects? Try to study/review with other students. And do everything you can to cement the material down.

Make a point to renew your intentions, seek forgiveness for yourself, parents, family, fellow students, teachers, and the entire umma, give a little in charity, strive to consistently fulfill all of your obligations, pray out of neediness, ask in blessed times and places with focus, sincerity, and conviction that you will be answered, and finally be grateful for what you already have. Allah Most High says:

If you are thankful, I will surely increase you. (Sura Ibrahim 14:7)

With time and sincerity, it will come, insha Allah. The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, reminded us to seek the assistance of Allah and not to deem ourselves incapable.

And Allah alone gives success.

Wassalam,

Tabraze Azam

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.