When I read good books or listen to motivational speakers… it is my instant reaction that I want to do all those things that are talked about… My heart yearns to achieve those qualities which might bring me close to Allah and make me good in His eyes… BUT the inevitable question that arises after every such spiritual awakening… is HOW?
Even yesterday when I posted the article about memorizing Quran… I got this question from a reader… on How to do Hifz because she said she is not good at memorizing?
To answer all such questions I found the answer in one of my old articles… It is rather long but I tried to collect all the points in one place… It was written in the days when we used to read on Computers… so it was not stressful like reading the same things on the phone… so I suggest you copy and email it yourself and then read it comfortably on your laptop…
HOW CAN WE ACHIEVE OUR GOALS??
The answer in one sentence is that We can make intentions, we can make plans, we can make duas, but we also need to have Allah’s “tawfeeq”: the key ingredient without which we cannot achieve anything in this life.
What is tawfeeq?
Tawfeeq is the special acceptance and blessing of Allah with which He enables us to achieve our aims. It is His special help for the true believers who truly want to do something only for His pleasure.
Contrary to the traditional way of thinking, Allah’s tawfeeq is not something which will hit you by chance; rather, it is something you “acquire” by making conscious efforts towards it.
In this article, we will discuss some steps we can take to help us attain Allah’s tawfeeq, the key blessing which will open the doors of goodness and success for us, in sha Allah.
Realize that you need Him
The first and foremost thing to start with on this topic is to recognize that only Allah has the power to do everything. Of course He has given us the power to choose the right path and make efforts to walk on this path, but this doesn’t mean that we can accomplish things alone; we need His help all the time.
Accordingly, we should recognize our need for Him and be humble and submissive to Him, not just before starting our work, but at every step of the way, even after we have accomplished our work successfully. We should realize that it was only because of His help that we did it, and so there is no reason for us to be filled with pride. We need to remember that it is through His tawfeeq that we made this good choice because it is He who gave us the power of choice. Allah says in the Qur’an:
“And you do not will except that Allah wills – Lord of the worlds.” [Qur’an: Chapter 81, Verse 29]
Fix your intentions
You need to make the conscious decision and sincere intention to make Allah’s pleasure your main objective in life, and then prove this intention through sincere efforts.
In your day-to-day routine, ask yourself:
Why am I doing this [any act that you embark on doing]?
• Is this act of mine intended to please Allah? Is it for His sake or for something else?
If Allah’s pleasure is our true goal, then surely we will not crave people’s praise and attention, and we will not be so worried about their criticism either.
Seek Allah’s help repeatedly
Ask Allah to give you the desire and determination to accomplish good deeds. Make dua a part of your life. Make dua while sitting, standing, walking, cooking, and cleaning. Basically, make dua all the time. Keep asking Allah to give you tawfeeq to do things which He loves and which are of benefit to others.
Engage sincerely with the Qur’an and hadith
Make the study of the Qur’an and hadith a part of your life, just like eating and drinking. In fact, the need for your heart to listen and absorb Allah’s words is far greater than the need of your body for food and drink. Our souls are starving while we are totally absorbed in feeding our bodies, so we must make efforts to balance this equation. As your heart will receive its nourishment (through studying and contemplating the Qur’an and hadith), it will become stronger and more able to absorb the guidance of Allah and be motivated to act on it, in sha Allah.
Find ways to benefit others
Now this seems like working away from yourself, but in fact when you extend your efforts towards the benefit of other people, Allah’s mercy will shower upon you like rain, and the doors of goodness will open for you like never before.
Therefore, being unconditionally open-hearted, generous and forgiving is one big secret to getting Allah’s special tawfeeq to do amazing good deeds. The more you give others, the more you will be given.
We must ask ourselves those crucial questions:
Does my heart carry any good feelings for others or am I usually self-centered?
• Do I want others to succeed as well, or do I want Paradise only for myself?
• When I have to share something with others -especially those whom I don’t like – do I think of it as an opportunity to win Allah’s pleasure, or do I think of it as a burden?
• Am I good to people only because they are good to me? Or do I love them and care for them for the sake of Allah?
Work on your taqwa
Taqwa literally means to guard oneself against Allah’s displeasure. If we want to progress on the path of success, then it is absolutely essential that we live a conscious life and always be careful not to do things which might displease Allah.
Some might think that doing acts of goodness will automatically guard them against committing sins. However, the truth is we need to make efforts in both directions simultaneously. We need to do good while exerting the necessary effort to avoid the evil.
A very important thing to remember is not to fall into this trap: some people think that if they pray and read Qur’an then Allah will not be angry with them if they do a few sins here and there. This is a big mistake, and we must realize that no matter how pious we might appear to the world, Allah knows our reality. If we underestimate the sins we do in private, just because we might appear outwardly good to people, then we might not receive the tawfeeq of Allah to maintain the good deeds we’re doing and maintain our productivity.
“Say, “Not equal are the evil and the good, although the abundance of evil might impress you.” So fear Allah, O you of understanding, that you may be successful.” [Qur’an: Chapter 5, Verse 100]
Avoid useless activities
If someone really desires to be productive for the sake of Allah, then it is absolutely essential to spend time carefully and avoid all things that don’t bring any benefit.
Allah describes successful people as those who refrain from engaging in useless activities:
“And they who turn away from ill speech” [Qur’an: Chapter 23, Verse 3]
The useless activities discussed here could be the superficial pleasures that most of us are involved in these days, which seem to have absorbed our time and hearts so much that we think we can’t live without them.
Can you identify those activities in your life?
It is a matter of choice. You can either be productive and use all your time and intellect for doing something positive with your time which will bring you benefit in this world and the next, or you can waste this time in useless temporary pleasures.
Talk less, act more!
One useless activity that has taken over many people’s time in our society is talking too much without specific purpose or direction.
The fact is that if we don’t guard our speech, then we fall into the danger of indulging in backbiting, slandering, making fun of others or discussing others’ private matters, etc.
Even if you can somehow guard yourself against all this evil, you still lose precious time which cannot be brought back at any price. This creates a barrier between you and the opportunities of earning Allah’s tawfeeq and doing good deeds.
So, we should act on the following hadith of the Prophet:
“He who believes in Allah and the Last Day must either speak good or remain silent.” [Muslim]
Seize opportunities that come your way
One big reason which keeps us behind in terms of good deeds is that when Allah gives us opportunities, sometimes, we don’t take them. Rather, we keep delaying things and think that we can do this or that later when it will be more convenient. This is because we have unrealistic hopes and we do not realize that our time is running out.
Therefore, one sure way to attain Allah’s tawfeeq is to always seize the opportunity whenever you get the chance to do a good deed. By doing that, you will be proving that you are grateful to Allah for giving you the opportunity to do something positive in your life. And Allah has promised that if we are grateful He will bless us even more:
“‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]” [Qur’an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]
Get ready to work hard!