A Chance To Grow
Our blessed guest Ramadan has departed and the days of Shawwal are flying past us. What fruits of Ramadan have you been reaping? Now is the time for us to continue to practice and develop the habits and practices we need to excel in this life and the next. Now is the time to show up and make the most of our short time on Earth. Now is the time to not only survive this life but to thrive in it.
Allah promises that He will never change the condition of a people until they change what is within themselves (Quran, 13:11). Allah is telling us that the power to change is within each and every one of us. In other words, you have the ability to make choices in life that will bring you joy and help you flourish and grow.
With all the suffering in the world right now from the Palestinian people to the Uyghurs to the refugees to the homeless to the poor people on our streets, now is the MOST important time in our lives to strive for change within ourselves. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told us that we are like a body. If one part of the body complains, the rest of the body will react with sleeplessness and fever. (See: Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī 6011).
The more we better ourselves, the better humanity will be. The more we refuse to improve ourselves, the more our Ummah will ache. So what are you waiting for? Here are 3 practices you can implement straight away in order to succeed this Shawwal and beyond.
1. Be Grateful
Want to know the secret to a happy life? It’s actually no secret at all because Allah says: “If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” (Quran, 14:7). The more you thank Allah for the blessings in your life, the more happiness, success, and favours from Him you will receive.
How about we test this out straight away? Take out a piece of paper and a pen. Write down at least five blessings in your life you are grateful for right now. From your ability to breathe to the faith in your heart to the food in your stomach to the roof over your head to the people around you. By acknowledging your blessings, you are becoming a more mindful person who lives and enjoys the present. Thanking Allah for your blessings is an act of worship. Appreciating those around you who have added value to your life is a way of gaining closeness not only to those people, but to Allah Himself. Obeying Allah with your heart, tongue and limbs is the meaning of gratitude.
2. Hold Yourself Accountable
Daily accountability (Muhasabah) is an important part of living a more meaningful and fulfilling life. It helps us to track our progress and growth, learn from our mistakes and redefine our life purpose. In his book, “Notes From A Friend,” performance consultant and entrepreneur Anthony Robbins recommends asking yourself these powerful questions every night:
- What have I given today?
- What did I learn today?
- How can I use today as an investment in my future? (p. )
Write these questions down and keep them near your bed. Every night before you go to sleep, answer these questions to help improve your life focus and reach your goals with clarity. Let these questions remind you to serve and support others on their own journey as well. Renew your intentions. Hold yourself accountable for your actions before Allah holds you to account.
3. Keep talking to Allah
Here’s the thing, Allah wants you to talk to Him. He wants you to love Him and trust Him and turn to Him for comfort, guidance and help. He tells us: "Call upon Me; I will respond to you" (Quran, 40:60). Allah is closer to us than our jugular vein. He wants to be our friend and supporter. He loves us more than we love ourselves. The best thing you can ever do if you want to thrive in life is to talk to Allah. Tell Him about your fears, struggles, and dreams. Tell Him about the broken pieces inside you that need healing, the temptations that keep on pulling you in. Talk to Him about your ambitions, about everything you want to achieve in this life and the next. Ask Him to make you the person that you want to be. Ask Him to make you a servant that He is proud of and that He loves.
Allah knows and understands everything about you but He wants you to talk to Him about it. He wants you to build a stronger relationship with Him. So never give up on His mercy and power in your life. Humble yourself before Him. True success only comes from Allah. Ask Him for it. And while you pray for your own success, ask Allah for the Ummah’s. For none of us have truly succeeded until we all thrive together as one nation, one body, one soul.
And my success is not but through Allah. Upon Him I have relied, and to Him I return. (Quran, 11:88)
I hope these 3 simple strategies help you to live a more fulfilling and contented life. May Allah accept all our Ramadan duaas and help us to grow closer to Him every day. If you have any Ramadan reflections or tips for what to do post-Ramadan, comment below and spread the khayr!
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