All praises are due to Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ that He has allowed us to witness another Ramadan and I ask Him to forgive us our sins and make this Ramadan a means of attaining Taqwa and make it a transformational experience, so that we may work towards achieving our goals.
Talking about Goals; How many of you plan your goals for Ramadan or in general outside of Ramadan?
Most of us are aware that Ramadan is a training period for us every single year, wherein we are on a quest to modify our habits and build our character, striving and struggling towards becoming an ideal Muslimah. But most of us get stuck at some point not knowing what to do or how to go about achieving these goals. Sure, we listen to lectures and we read articles and books on self-development/improvement but then we do struggle to move to the next step.
It is possible for us to be able to achieve our goals إن شاء الله and this is not going to happen by merely reading article after article and listening to one motivational speech/lecture after another. How then can we make this happen? Well, what I am about to share with you is my journey, it’s still a journey and it will remain so until we meet our Rabb إن شاء الله.
The Prophetﷺ said, “When the inhabitants of Paradise enter Paradise, Allah will say to them, ‘Do you want Me to give you anything more?’ They will reply, ‘Have You not made our faces bright? Have You not brought us into Paradise and moved us from Hell?’ Allah will then remove the Veil and they will feel that they have not been awarded anything dearer to them than looking at their Lord.”[Sahih Muslim]
Before I go on further, I want to share an interesting thought about goals, that one of my teachers had shared which it resonated with me, and that was the concept of Goals and Milestones. She shared that in her opinion our ultimate goal is to meet Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ, that should be our primary focus and the rest of these mini-goals are the milestones, these milestones could be wanting to overcome our anger, laziness or any habit, making up missed fasts, waking up for Tahajjud, it could be anything. Moving on from here let’s see how to achieve these milestones so we can achieve our ultimate goal of meeting with our Rabb, one step at a time.
This concept could be used for any milestone that we may hold for ourselves. When a baby learns to walk for the first time and if he attempts to run on his very first step, he would take a fall isn’t it? Or, if this child refuses to take any effort to walk at all because he is too comfortable in his mother’s lap, the baby would either trip and fall or remain stagnant, we know that the natural course for every healthy child when he reaches a particular stage is that the child is bound to develop in a way that Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ has ordained for him to develop.
Similarly, Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ did not create our bodies or our minds to stagnate. Our bodies were created for physical activity, to move around and work and our minds were created so they can use intellect-think, ponder and reflect, hence these faculties are present in us to use them and to benefit from them. Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ sent down the Islamic Shari’ah through our Prophetﷺ as a means to perfect these aspects in us. So, it is within each one of us in how we achieve these milestones.
Abu Huraira رضي الله عنه reported: The Messenger of Allahﷺ said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”
[Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240, Sahih (authentic) according to Al-Albani]
So, having this hadith in mind, let’s see how we can convert these small and consistent steps into tangible actions.
- Identifying our milestones (Dunya) and Goals (Akhirah).
- Creating a list of these milestones.
- Being consistent.
- Taking Action.
The question now is how can we make this action tangible: when we start to do something, let’s say there is a sink full of dishes for us to do that we’re dreading to wash, it’s a milestone for that particular hour, and I hate to do dishes a sink full petrifies me, what do I do?
Firstly; does a sink full of dishes have any power to create a feeling in me? Absolutely not, the feeling comes from my thought in-the-moment about the dishes and knowing this truth. A sink full of dishes is not creating my experience for me but my thought around it is, therefore with this awareness, I simply go and do the dishes. The more I dwell on the thought about having to do the dishes, the more I end up procrastinating and the result of that would be more piled up dishes and the lost time, the most important thing I would like to be mindful of. So, instead of dwelling in the thought of how am I going to do it, I dive right into it, one dish at a time, the job is done. Same for laundry putting the clothes for drying, one piece of clothing at a time, Quran, one ayah at a time, Tahajjud- 2 rakah at a time. The key is to Dive Right Into It.
Upping our Du’aa.
We are in this Mubarak month where the Shayateen are locked up, and we have this opportunity of being free from waswaas, and every year Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ allows us to witness this month by His mercy where He gives us this Jackpot Bonanza in everything especially du’aa, we need to make use of this blessing and ask Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ to make it easy for us to overcome any habit we might want to develop, or any knowledge we would like to attain and to make the learning easy for us, making du’aa for our family situations, and our current situation with everything that’s going on in the world, making du’aa for the rizq, for anything and everything no matter how small or how big, being aware that He is the Al Wahhab-The All Giving and Ar-Razzaq-The All Provider, so who shall we turn to if not Him to answer our Ad’iyah.
Scheduling the tasks.
Most of us struggle with this skill, this is something perhaps we do not give much importance to thinking that we would take life as it comes. While there is nothing wrong in taking life as it comes, life does pass as it comes anyway because Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ is the One in control of our affairs, but we do need to build disciple in our lives, to gain stability for ourselves, our deen itself is about discipline and scheduled around our five daily prayer’s. So, it makes sense to organize and schedule our daily tasks around the Salah timings from Fajr to Dhur, and from Dhur to Asr, so on and so forth.
Giving priority to Salah
Pausing what we are doing and heading off to finish our prayers as soon as possible. When we prioritize meeting our Rabb over other things, it will ensure immense blessings in our time إن شاء الله.
Increasing in Charity.
Sadaqah is one of the acts of worship that can be done swiftly and easily, especially when we want to change something in our lives, it requires dedication and sincere intention to change what’s not working for us in our life. The only way it becomes easy is by holding on to the rope of Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ and making Du’aa to Him to make things easy for us, and only He سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ can do that for us. As long as our intention is right and we do everything for His sake, for example, if we want to bring about these changes in our life to get closer to Him, He will facilitate it for us إن شاء الله, and Ramadan is the best time to bring about these changes
I ask Allah سُبحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَىٰ to help us schedule, disciple and build positive habits in this Blessed month and May He help us stick to these changes even after Ramadan and May He let us witness another Ramadan reap its benefits آمين يا رب.
Seema Umm Rayyan is a self-awareness and contentment coach, and operates under her brand name the ‘Level 10 Muslimah’. She has an education in psychology from both the Islamic and secular perspectives, with an accompanying diploma in multimedia and graphic design. She has been journaling throughout her life and encourages her clients to use it as a tool in her coaching practice. Her bullet journaling workshop in Ramadan of 2017 was well received and regarded beneficial. Additionally, she creates and facilitates personal development programs that help Muslim women journey towards self-discovery and a better connection with Allah. To learn more about her story and her work, visit her website: www.level10muslimah.com