In the name of Allah the Beneficent the Merciful
I wrote the following as some pre-Ramadan advice but didn’t get the chance to publish it until now. It is a list primarily aimed at those not fully practising their deen and trying to find their way. I have tried to keep the points as brief and concise as possible for ease of reading as I know people are busy.
I hope that this will be of benefit to the general reader.
1. Find your own connection with Allah and make it a personal connection
‘I did not create the Jinns and the human beings except for the purpose that they should worship Me.’ [Qur’an 51:56]
Worship here does not just mean the ritualistic five daily prayers, fasting etc, but it means having that personal connection with Allah (SWT) and worshipping Him all throughout our lives by obeying His commands and staying away from His prohibitions.
People can lecture you day in day out about praying, fasting etc, but it will not go in until you find that personal connection and personal touch with Allah (SWT). This is a very personal endeavour and is between you and your Lord. Allah (SWT) waits for you to make that connection with Him and therefore my first and foremost advice to you is to look deep within yourself and within your heart and re-connect the heart to the Heavens above and to Allah (SWT).
If you are successful in doing this you will find a peace in your heart that you never felt before and you will be able to bear any hardship that comes your way knowing that hardships in this worldly domain only leads to bliss in the other worldly domain, where our Souls reside.
This is deep, this is personal, and this is between you and Allah (SWT). Make that connection today.
2. Know that the life in this world is temporary
‘O my people, this life of the world is only a (momentary) benefit, while the Hereafter is, indeed, the place of permanent living.’ [Qur’an 40:39]
We have begun to live our lives as if we will live in this world forever. We won’t. Put life into it’s proper perspective and know that the only thing that will live forever is our Soul and the home of the Soul is in the next world. Will we build it a palace over there just like we want to build the body a palace in this world?
Death is real, and with every day that goes by we are getting ever closer to our meeting with our Lord. How will we want to be on the day we are raised before Him and asked what have we taken forth into the next world?
Let us put life into it’s proper context and change our thinking before it’s too late and we have no time left to make up for the years that we have wasted in heedlessness and play.
3. Find yourself a role model from amongst our scholars and teachers
‘And We did not send before you messengers except men whom We inspired with revelation. So, ask the people (having the knowledge) of the Message, if you do not know.’ [Qur’an 21:7]
We all need teachers and role models. Even the Prophet (peace be upon him) had a teacher who taught him. That teacher was Gibril (AS) who was taught in turn by Allah (SWT).
There is no shortage of English speaking Imams and Scholars today that you can learn your Deen from and therefore ignorance is no longer an excuse. The following is a non-exhaustive list of Imams that have inspired me over the years. Pick the ones that inspires you the most and learn from them.
Imam Siraj Wahhaj , Imam Suhaib Webb , Shaykh Hamza Yusuf , Imam Zaid Shakir , Shaykh Abdullah Adhami , Shaykh Faraz Rabbani . In the UK you have Shaykh Ahmed Ali , Shaykh Ahmad Sa’ad , Shaykh Ibrahim Osi-Efa , Shaykh Haitham Tamim, Shaykh Abdul Hakim Murad, Shaykh Akram Nadwi.
Make use of the resources available to us online via the laptop, smart phones etc. Youtube hosts a whole array of lectures and talks. The only thing to caution is that learn from people that you know and trust, as you can get confused easily and led astray if you start listening to anything and everything that appears online as ‘Islamic’.
‘Read with the name of your Lord who created (every thing)’ [Qur’an 96:1]
I can’t impress upon you the importance of reading. Reading expands your understanding and broadens your horizons unlike any other medium of learning. Get the Amazon App on your iphone/ipad. Join the library. Read a variety of literature including non-fiction, fiction, spiritual, religious, career related and so on. As a child we ‘learn to read’ but now as adults it’s time that we ‘read to learn’.
5. Follow the Sunna
‘There is indeed a good model for you in the Messenger of Allah – for the one who has hope in Allah and the Last Day, and remembers Allah profusely.’ [Qur’an 33:21]
Try to follow the Sunna in everything that you do. Ask yourself in any situation what would the Prophet (peace be upon him) do or would command us to do. To understand his Sunna begin by reading his Life Story or listen to it online along with pondering on the Hadith and Seerah literature that is available online and in books.
6. Learn the Basics of the Deen
‘Say, “Can those who know and those who do not know become equal?” It is only the people of understanding who are receptive of the advice.’ [Qur’an 39:9]
There are certain aspects of Islam that is compulsory for everyone to know. This includes a basic understanding of the five pillars of Islam, the six pillars of Iman and the science of Ihsan. It is paramount that you learn these and act upon them as without them there is no salvation for us.
The list can go on and the advice is the same for me as it is for you. There is more along the same lines on my blog about being a productive human being and making the most of our lives and it will be worth having a read of that also.
And with Allah lies all Tawfiq
Always in need of your Duas.