Intentions and productivity

Purity of intention is such a powerful thing that it can make us most productive. Just like the quality of the fruit depends on the kind of seed you put in the soil… similarly the quality of our life depends on our intentions… If we really want to make the best use of our time on earth, then we will do away with all negative and useless stuff so that we can focus on our plans… there will be a sense of urgency… there will be no excuses and no casual wasting of time and resources.

On the other hand there are people who really think that they want to do good… but it is just a wish in their hearts… and it is so weak that it cannot bear any fruit… any result…

Also intentions have to be followed up with hard work and sacrifice… you cannot just put in a good seed and grow a plant without watering it and taking care of it…

Two things that make our intentions weak are doubts and desires.

The remedy is to keep renewing your faith and to discipline your inner child… your “self”

Both these things strengthen each other… the more you ponder on the Quran, the stronger will be your faith… and so you will have greater strength in you to fight off the temptations of your “self”

And the more you resist against desires, the more time and energy will be available for you to spend it in pondering upon the Quran to strengthen your faith…

But this is not a one time struggle… Rather life is an ongoing test and the only one who can be truly successful is the one who keeps on trying harder and harder…

May Allah help us to attach our hearts to His Book and make us strong against our distractions… Ameen

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The critical deficiency…

Its common knowledge now that sometimes we have some deficiency of any vitamin or mineral that can result in an overall lethargy and weakness… or sometimes the whole body is affected just by the imbalance of some hormone… or your movements can be restricted just by some pressure on just one nerve… or the deterioration of just one tiny joint in the whole skeleton…

So what happens is that you get to spend such an amount of money, time and energy just to get yourself diagnosed because until you can define the specific cause you cannot begin any treatment…

And until that deficiency is fulfilled, you just cannot benefit from any food or any medicine or anything… the weakness will keep getting worse…

But all of this is not just true for the body… rather it is the same with our heart and soul… and if we do not provide ourselves a regular dose of spiritual and emotional nutrition, then our spirit too becomes weak and sick…

Most people don’t even recognize this need of food for the soul but even those who do know this… can sometimes be ignorant that they are depriving themselves from some specific ingredient… something that is causing them spiritual weakness… and so their hearts fail to experience the joy of worship… or the sweetness of faith…

They do pray and recite Quran and make zikr of Allah and make duas… but their prayers have become just an exercise and their recitation has been reduced to words that they must pronounce…and pages that must be completed for them to find some satisfaction that they have gone through the motions… that at least they are not among the heedless…

But very few of them have some idea of the emptiness they are going through… or how their day to day life is not being affected by their faith or their acts of worship… why is it not making them happy and productive… why are they not a reflection of the religion that they are following? Why are they not radiating peace and happiness in their environment… why isn’t there any true love and devotion in their relationships?

The deficiency is in the very basic ingredient… and that is intention.

We have all heard of the most commonly repeated Hadith of our Prophet (s.a.w) that all actions are based on intentions… but very few of us really internalize these golden words.

I used to think that this means that on the day of judgement we will get rewarded according to the purity of our intentions… and that is true… but this is just one dimension of this Hadith…

Another very important inference is that our actions depend on our intentions… meaning that our level of performance will be according to our level of commitment to whatever action we perform…

Our focus, our motivation, our consistency and perseverance all depend on how much importance we give to something…

For example in our culture we give supreme significance to the preparation of fresh food every single meal that we have… for women it is considered to be their primary responsibility that is followed religiously… so that you will rarely find any woman saying that she has been unable to find time to cook for two days or even one day…

Likewise those who work outside the house… men or women… they will never say that they forgot to go… or they didn’t find time to go to their various jobs…

But for things that don’t seem too important, and leaving them doesn’t seem too life threatening… then we can easily forget them… or not find time or other similar reasons…

Because intention or Niyyah is not just a thought or an idea or a desire… rather it is the determination and passion that makes us think that it is impossible not to do that action… we just got to do it… and so we do it…

And the stronger the passion…the more excellence we will strive for…

That is why we must always keep reviving our intentions… because it is like fuel for our heart to keep going… and just like fuel is constantly refilled…similarly the fuel of intentions must constantly be filled in the heart so that the love and passion for doing great things stays alive… all for the sake of Allah’s love and pleasure… in sha Allah!!!

 

Coming Back on track!!

If someone had told me on the day I was last writing for this blog… that I won’t be able to write anything for the next three months… I would never have believed it… but this is what happened!!

Although I have a very strong and valid excuse that I didn’t write because I was sick and became so ill that I couldn’t sit or write or anything… but the truth is that even when I got better and started doing my other routine chores, I still couldn’t write… Not because I didn’t want to… but because it is very difficult to come back on track after you stay away from something like this… especially something that is extremely important for your hereafter but apparently doesn’t affect your day to day existence…and even though it is not the truth…  but this is what the shaitan and your nafs make you think and believe… why? Because the shaitan knows how this work will join you to Allah and the hereafter… and your nafs knows that it will require hard work… and so it finds all excuses for staying away from anything that comes in the way of its comfortable idleness…

My purpose of diagnosing and revealing my defeat at the hands of my two enemies… is nothing else except for giving myself a lesson… because no one else is going to scold me or hold me to account…

Secondly I hope and pray that if anyone is going through a similar problem of delaying something that is so vital to their connection with Allah can perhaps come out of their inertia and get back on track… because believe me there is never going to come that “right time” which we keep hoping for… and in that hope we keep delaying such important and life-saving acts of Allah’s pleasure…

So just come out of that illusion of wishful thinking and take hold of your life… because every moment that Allah allows us to live and breathe… every precious moment is the right time to start living… because that special talent or ability that Allah gave you is like oxygen for your heart and soul… so just start doing what needs to be done and make good intentions and work hard… Allah’s help comes to those who help themselves first by thinking, praying and working hard towards their goals…

May Allah help us all to stay on track and if we ever get distracted and take the wrong turn… then may Allah give us the wisdom and energy to come back on track… the sooner the better… Ameen

what upsets you and why?

I often wonder at the tactics of the mind and the tricks of the devil with which he puts the heart in such distress… and I fail to understand why does the heart fall into the same trap again and again…

Like for example the shaitan will whisper into your heart some negative thought about someone and you get upset… after the initial turmoil you think over the situation and after some effort you finally succeed in convincing yourself that the negative thought is not is not entirely true because if there is one bad thing about any situation then there are also a hundred things good about it too… so you should be grateful for the white page and ignore the black dots…

And then you feel ok and gradually begin to look at life with positivity and get busy in good things…but then again something happens to trigger the same pattern of negative thinking… which you again have to diffuse…

While it is certainly true that life is a test so maybe these ups and downs of the heart is one of those tests which have to be endured along this journey of life but still I am sure that there must be something to be done if you are slipping on the same ground again and again… is there something wrong with the floor or with the shoes you are wearing… or maybe you are not walking carefully… the reason must be diagnosed and treated once and for all…But How?

One of the reasons for these emotional pains is to have a lot of time at your disposal with not enough goals or targets to focus on… because most of the time our emotional state depends on our focus…

So if you are focused on some positive goal in your life then you won’t have time to brood on what others are doing to you… but if you don’t busy yourself with positive thoughts and ideas and activities then surely you will notice a lot of things to get upset about…

Therefore use your mind in good things… make a list of your goals and get busy… work hard… make a positive change in the lives of others and this will reflect back in your own life as well…

And all along this journey of improvement seek the help and mercy of Allah without which we cannot achieve anything… so make lots of duas for the strength and peace of your heart… and work hard!!

The Ultimate cure for Anxiety…

Today I read a story about a Muslim shopkeeper who showed kindness to a Jewish child… so much that the child began to deeply trust him and would share his worries and problems with him… the way this old man would counsel this child was strange… he would take out a book from a drawer and would read out two or three pages from it and eventually some solution would become evident from that reading… Many years later this man eventually passed away he left that book as a gift for the child who had now grown into a bright young man… but he couldn’t understand the book because it was in a strange language… so he found someone who could explain it to him and when he learned that it was the sacred book called the Quran he finally accepted islam and not only that but he also helped convert hundreds of people to the true religion…

When I finished reading this wonderful story I began to understand why we as born muslims are not quite fascinated with the book of Allah… why we are not in love with salah… why we find zikr so monotonous and why we are not concerned about our status with Allah… or our final abode in the hereafter… why do these things seem so irrelevant to us? Why?

The reason is that we do not think of religion as a way of building a relationship with Allah… we have never seen our elders open the Quran to find comfort or guidance from it… all we have known is that they read a portion of it daily as a drill which has no impact on how they think or behave… or even how they set their goals and priorities in life…

And if something has apparently nothing to do with your life then it is rather boring and burdensome to hold on to it…

So we as the learned people of the 21st century… the people of information and access to the whole world of knowledge… must make it a goal of our life to understand Quran as the speech of Allah… and we must remind ourselves that every time we read any portion of this great book… it is like Allah sending his messages to us right at that very moment… and who can know better than Allah what we need to hear at any given time… and what we need to think or do in order to relieve ourselves from the uncertainty and confusion of our big and small problems…

So the moment you suffer from any painful experience just make dua to Allah to guide your heart… and open the Quran… within a couple of pages you will find such precious counselling that all your pain will evaporate leaving you calm and satisfied…

Imagine how much attached we would be to the Quran if daily we had this kind of experience with it… but if we are running after other things to give us comfort then we can never really appreciate the treasure that Allah has given us…

The other day I read a quote which touched me deeply…

“if your heart feels empty and thirsty for some fulfillment

Then don’t fill it with anything other than Quran

And if you feel lonely then don’t seek anything other than the words of Allah to give you company”

Its just like if you feed a hungry child with candies and chocolates then he will lose the taste for real nutritious food…

And the more he eats junk the more he loses his health and temperament…

Similarly when we feed our hungry souls with all sorts of entertainment then the soul gets weaker and weaker… and never gets satiated… and also it will lose its taste for Quran which is the food it really needs to get healthy and satisfied…

So stop running after illusions and come close to Allah through his Book… the glorious Quran… and put an end to your anxieties and dissatisfaction… by the sweetness of these miraculous words…

How awesome!!

Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Mas’ud: “Allah has not created in the heavens nor in the earth what is more magnificent than Ayat AlKursi.” Sufyan said: “Because Ayat Al-Kursi is the Speech of Allah, and Allah’s Speech is greater than Allah’s creation of the heavens and the earth.”

(Tirmidhi Vol. 5, Book 42, Hadith 2884) 

Emotional wisdom… 12th Juz

Faith in Allah is increased by reading the Quran, praying salah, doing tasbeeh and making dua etc… but there is also another way to increase Allah consciousness and that is to ponder and reflect upon the things that Allah created… it doesn’t need to be something big or extraordinary but even a small insect or a bird can make you think of how great Allah is that He created this small little thing… with complete biological details… and then He doesn’t forget anything… rather the movement of each and every human being, every animal, bird and fish is in His direct knowledge… where they live, what they had for food today… where they spent their time… everything is recorded… and this thought leads you to an increased awareness that surely there is no one greater than Allah… no one can possess such power and knowledge… it is only Allah… the all-knowing and the all-powerful…

And then we must also think about the purpose of the creation of such a vast universe which we cannot encompass with our eyes or our imagination…

All of this is for us… so that we recognize Allah and worship Him wholeheartedly… And it is also the test of our observation and our intellect… do we remain ignorant of all that He created? Or do we just attain knowledge of the created objects to serve our worldly interests? Or do we use this knowledge to connect to the Creator?

But most of us are just concerned with the fulfillment of our needs and desires… it has become the only objective of our life. That is why we get so stressed out when anything bad happens to us…

Sometimes Allah takes away something from us, as a test… but we become so ungrateful that it seems like we have nothing good in our lives anymore… and if we get something good then we give the whole credit to our own abilities… totally ignoring the One who blessed us… boasting and looking down on those who don’t have it…

This is nothing but a reflection of how ignorant we are about the true purpose of life… but this purpose can only be understood by having true faith in Allah. That is why Allah sent Prophets to make people aware of the reality of life… but they didn’t want to change their lifestyles, and so they made fun of the Prophets and called them foolish…

But they didn’t realize that they could not change the reality by making fun of it…

And so they became victims of their own stubbornness and foolishness… when they were simply wiped out from the face of the earth after suffering unimaginable forms of punishment…

This surah is full of these stories one after the other… and I was thinking that what does it have to do with us? If we think about it there is a great lesson for us in all these stories… and that is to make us wake up from our wishful dreams and understand the fact that if we treat the guidance of our Prophet (s.a.w) in the same way like those nations of the past did… then we cannot hope for anything better than what they suffered in the end…

The question is: How much importance are we giving to the teachings of our Prophet (s.a.w)? Do we believe that our success and salvation depends on following His footsteps…?

Next comes Surah Yusuf… and this is the only example where Allah is telling us about the complete story of a Prophet in one continuous form… without repeating any of it in any other part of the Quran…

Allah himself calls it the most beautiful tale… which is awesome in itself!!

The first and foremost lesson to learn from this surah is of emotional intelligence… Prophet Yaqub (a.s.) teaches his youngest son Yusuf not to tell the extraordinary dream he saw… to anyone… specially to his own brothers as they might get jealous…

In this is a great lesson for us that whenever we are overly affected by some emotion like sadness or happiness, we should still not lose control over our senses… and should constantly be alert and conscious of other people’s emotions… so that we can save unnecessary conflicts…

The other thing is that when we get some amazing blessing then we should not be showing off to the whole world just because it makes us happy to let the whole world know what we have got… rather we should be intelligent enough to realize what other people will feel… and if they feel deprived then it’s not going to generate any positive feelings from their end… therefore share your good news with only those about whom you are absolutely sure that they will be happy for you…

The next moment of intense emotions came when the father Yaqub (a.s.) was told by his sons the false news that Yusuf (a.s.) had been killed by a wolf… But He reacted with the most beautiful example of patience… No negative reaction… no angry outburst… no accusations… no blame… This is what the Quran calls Sabrun Jameel… a most beautiful way of keeping your emotions in control… and of course this cannot be possible except for having an absolute trust in Allah that His authority is above every other thing… so nothing can go wrong if Allah doesn’t allow it… and Allah’s decisions are always the best…

The emotion of insecurity came to Yusuf (a.s.) too when he was all alone in the darkness of the well… when he was bought as a slave… But he also remained calm and composed, taking everything as the will of Allah… serving his master in the best way and making it into a positive experience by learning things in that environment… and becoming so mature and wise…

And then came the emotional test of temptation when the lady of the house seduces him… again he remains in control and escapes the temptation with the help of Allah…

The thing is that Allah has guided us too… we know very well how to behave in all these situations… Allah has given us the light of Quran and Hadith… we can see the right way… but still most of us behave like ignorant people… always so full of heated arguments and negative reactions… why? why is there such a lack of wisdom among us… why? The reason is that knowing is not enough…

Just claiming to believe is also not enough…

The ultimate key is to do what we know… to act on what we learn… to show from our reactions that we know what sabrun jameel means… just to memorize its definition is not going to make us wise… maturity comes by following the right way… at the right time…

May Allah make us wise and truly knowledgeable… ameen