A few days into lockdown, a friend compared her isolation output to that of the Prophet ﷺ and his companions. She compared our Netflix coping mechanisms with the Prophet ﷺ’s prayer in solitude. Like a loyal friend, I told her she was doing her best under the circumstances. Having landed smack in the middle of a sci-fi novel, our entire world turned upside down, what else could we do but survive?
But if I am to be completely honest, for the longest time this spiritual leniency for myself and others has bothered me in the deepest, most conscious part of my heart. Are we really doing our best? What is the difference between surviving and thriving anyway? Doesn’t thriving equate to having a color-coded schedule, a Pinterest worthy living room to camp down in, dozens of craft supplies and activities for the kids, the time and patience to bake with them, and enjoy it?
(In which case, I, like many others, would rather just survive.)
The answer to all these questions and more is in the Quran. With regards to thriving, Allah says,
Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest
(Qur'an 13: 28)
In Islam, thriving has always meant to be mindful of Allah. To glorify Him under all circumstances, to turn to prayer in routine and for comfort, to be in the present no matter what we are doing but especially if we are having a conversation with Allah. Allah puts us through difficulty so we may humble ourselves and when we humble ourselves through prayer and dhikr (remembrance), Allah has promised our hearts will be at rest.
- Reflect on the names of Allah and be intentional about getting to know Him. Learn about one name every single day/10 mins.
- Slow down in your daily obligatory prayers and let yourself hear every word you recite in your prayer/an extra 5 mins per prayer.
- Add a sunnah prayer to your routine/5-10 mins per prayer
- Set a reminder to read your morning and evening adhkar/5 mins per session
- Set a goal to read a few pages of Quran everyday/10 - 30 minutes a day
- Wake up early a few times a week, make wudu and pray tahajjud/10 minutes
In just an additional one hour a day (the equivalent of two Netflix episodes), you can elevate your spirituality by being mindful of what you need to do to be closer to Allah.
- Your body is an amanah and the healthier and stronger you are, the better your worship. With this intention, keep your body moving by taking a walk or tweaking your workout routine to adjust for Ramadan.
- Prepare suhoor and iftar with the same intention and tune your entire focus to your food.
- Everyone needs a medium to destress but ask yourself if the media you are consuming is beneficial to your heart and mind. Is it corrupting you instead of educating you? Choose your media carefully.
By being mindful of all the choices you make in your life, you will find yourself more focused throughout the day, when you take one task at a time as opposed to jumping into one while stressing about the other. There is time for everything and it is not a race anymore.
Lastly, learn even more about mindfulness in Ramadan by investing in this Guide - full of practical tips, days, and reflection worksheets - this is the guide that will keep you focused this year. The Mindful Ramadan Guide is as beautifully written as it is compiled and it gently guides you to turn inwards and thrive in solitude and remembrance.
May Allah let us reach the month of Ramadan together.