By Ahmer Ali
Whenever a person lacks motivation or the desire to do any amount of productive work and laziness overcomes that person, usually it is a weakness in their practice of the basic principles of Islam. So essentially, it is upon us to find out what these principles are and what they should mean to us and how they should define our lives. What is to follow are some basics in Islam that we all should be aware of and it is a perfect opportunity to review or correct any practices which may be missing in our lives, insha Allah.
Often we long for the spiritual power and strength that the Sahabas and the early generation Muslims were known to have but without us having to do much work to achieve that level. We want to just wake up one day and have this drive instilled in us magically somehow. What we fail to realize is that their success did not come from their numbers but from their intellectual comprehension of Allah.
The key is Tauhid, understanding Allah and being conscious of Allah?s supreme presence. It may be a simple concept, yet it is a very powerful and profound statement. But Tauhid has increasingly been ignored, even though there has been a huge influx of lectures, high-level conferences and workshops.
Let us look back to the life of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), and we realize that 13 years out of the 23 years of his Prophetic mission were spent developing this very concept of Tauhid among the people of the Arabian subcontinent. This is an exasperating number, the percentage spent on dealing with this aspect yet we totally ignore this most important concept. After all, Tauhid is the first pillar of Islam and therefore one of the most important aspects of Islam by far, initially. For it was known that, one who did not truly and correctly understand Allah, could not, truly and correctly serve Allah.
There is much to understand but it is essential to know whether we understand this concept of Tauhid or we just say we do. To believe in Allah and know that Allah is our creator is not enough! Even the pagan Arabs in Pre-Islamic times knew this fact. What Tauhid entails is that we obey Allah, and acknowledge that He is the only one worthy of worship. That we obey Allah out of fear and love and hence work hard to avoid displeasing Allah. And we fear only Allah and seek all help from Him.
So we must first educate ourselves about Tauhid, this most important first step in changing our lives, and begin understanding the attached implications of the kalima. By knowing whom we obey and serve, we can definitely increase the productivity in our lives insha Allah.
Once we know and understand whom we worship, then there is the actual process of worshipping our Creator and the Creator of the heavens and the Earth and everything that exists today. This is where Salah comes into play. If we are no longer motivated in our lives and we are stagnating then we must question ourselves, what may by causing this? Are we praying the 5 daily Salah? Are we praying in the proper and prescribed way? Is our prayer even benefiting us?
Without this connection to our lord our lives will remain dull and stagnant. By establishing Salah, this worship helps to open up our hearts and drives off Satan and all that accompanies such as laziness. Salah gets us on a schedule, as there are certain times for specific prayers. Praying Salah requires dedication that we get up out of our warm beds to make Wudhu and perform Salah in the early hours. This same dedication will then further pass into our lives and make any and all work for Allah productive. We must establish Salah to be successful. Further readings are available at http://www.youngmuslims.ca/publications/salat.pdf which gives a few tips on improving our Salah.
Quran is also of great benefit and of Importance. There must be regular recitation and understanding of Quran with Tafsir. We must make use of this great book, which deals with all aspects of our lives.
The reader must have the right attitude and mindset before even approaching the Quran. The Quran must be approached with a sincere intention of seeking guidance from it. Not to to win an argument, not just to seek blessings nor even to appear religious in front of others. The intention must be correct and sincere! Information may be found by anyone, but Guidance is only given to those who are actively seeking guidance.
Other steps towards approaching the Quran are to free the mind from clutter before even opening it. The Quran must be approached with an open mind and the sincere and proper intention. Make sure that you have a proper translation and well-known Tafseer, which you are able to follow. And make Dua (Supplication) and pray to Allah for his Guidance. It is a book of reflection and hence it should be studied with the presence of mind and heart.
A small point concerning the friends that we keep is also of utmost importance in keeping ourselves motivated. Be careful of who you keep as your friends! This does not mean that you stop associating with everybody who is not up to a certain standard. Have acquaintances among coworkers and classmates but select close friends only from those who will have a good impact on you. Friends will have an effect on you, so choose them wisely. You must question whether you are around the right type of people all the time. The wrong type will undo all the learning and training that you have undertaken. You can be pressured into joining a group of friends who may be committing sinful actions. And hence having such type of friends is definitely a cause of stagnation. So we should try to stick close to those who have a good effect on us and those that we know to be close to Islam and those that stay away from and prohibit evil.
The final area to stress involves everyday life and living in our current society.
It is more specifically the Evils of Society, which we must avoid, in order to be successful in every aspect of our lives. We all know the effects of alcohol and drugs on the human body physically and psychologically. Intoxicants put users in a state, where they don?t know right from wrong. You may end up doing something that which you may regret later. Most importantly consuming intoxicants is haraam in any way shape or form, no matter how little. ?The bad effects in it is much greater than the good in it.?
Mixing with the opposite sex for no proper reason is also disallowed in Islam. When we don?t need to be talking to the opposite gender for any genuine reason then we shouldn?t. Looking at and talking to a person of opposite gender who is not a mahram, without due cause is not allowed. When there is a need for it then it is allowed, when the proper rules of Islam are followed of course. If there are no rules followed such as lowering the gaze then there is a chance of desire arising between the two people. ?Tell the believers to lower their gaze? ? Quran 24:30.
?You should guard your sight and protect your dignity or Allah will cover your face with humiliation" ? hadith Tabrani
?It is better for you to be struck in the head with a pick than to touch the hand of an unauthorized woman.? ? hadith
Pornography is another evil that causes much chaos within a person. It weakens the heart as well as the mind. It causes hidden desires to arise. This goes hand in hand with the paragraph directly above. You are not allowed to look at opposite genders whether in the flesh or in pictures etc. The same goes with people of the same gender who are inappropriately dressed. For more information and tips, check out the articles on Soundvision.com. Remember, a Weak heart cannot do the work of Islam and will not be constant in the remembrance of Allah.