By Aya Zaki
When we first begin treading the path which Allah has shown us, we might be overwhelmed by emotions, thoughts, changes, or new knowledge. The following are a few points that have helped me alhamdulillah, to gain balance on the road or that, reflecting back, I wish I had followed from the start.
Start with a positive conviction of Allah, root it deep in your heart and let it shape your mindset. Know that everything is a blessing including faith in itself, so we ask Him like the prophet always did; to affirm our hearts on His religion. Ask Him to give you all that you need on your way back to Him and know in your deepest heart that He answers and nothing is easy except that which He makes easy. Know that no matter how well we think of Him, He is most definitely Greater. And that is the essence of His Name Al-Akbar; He is Greater. Greater than all our thoughts, greater than all our dreams, greater than all circumstances or people, greater than all of the beautiful signs that we see of Him. ALLAH is GREATER and all the good is in His Hands. So when you catch yourself losing hope or feel it is too difficult or that He won’t answer, just remember who your Guardian truly is and then ask Him again with a heart certain about His Perfection and ability to change all things around, ALL things. We lose hope when we feel alone or when we put our trust in our own selves but as long as we fix our eyes on Him, we’ll rest assured that He won’t forsake us.
Love is the biggest drive of human beings, let it be your base in drawing closer to Allah instead of fear. Ask Allah to place the love for Him and His Messenger above all else in your heart because that is a blessing only He can give. The prophet ﷺ gives us glad tidings that such love will gather us with them on JudgEment day. Dhikr (remembrance) is among the strongest practices to water that sprout of Allah’s love in our hearts; speaking with Him throughout our day as if we see Him can have wondrous impact on our souls and make us witness Allah as our Protecting Friend. As for love with those around us, we should try to take the time to gently explain our newly found treasure with those close to us who do not understand why we chose that road. Finding the balance between letting go of harmful old habits and sharing our beautiful faith with others can be tricky; especially at the beginning when we need some solitude to realign our lives with our true values and faith. Just like a growing sprout needs lots of care, nurture and safety at the beginning, we too need lots of support from our loving Guardian in the form of good company, knowledge and some solitude with Him to receive His guidance and let it shape our being.
Yet we should allow this prophetic hadith: “Allah is Gentle and loves gentleness in all things” to inspire and guide our actions and our approach with ourselves and those around us. This also leads us to choose to take our knowledge of the Deen from those who uplift the value of gentleness not aggression because the prophet was in truth sent as a mercy
Cultivate the Prophetic bond. It is through him ﷺ that we were guided. It is through him that we know Allah. It is through him that we were sent love and mercy. It is through him that darkness was dispelled. It is through him that truth was revealed. And it is only through him and in loving and following him that we’ll be saved for eternity. And it is he whom Allah honoUred and elevated to carry His final message, be the perfect human and be the first to open the doors of Jannah. No thankfulness or reverence for him can be enough. Filling our hearts, minds and actions with love, longing, and constant remembrance of him through our daily life and different circumstances is indeed among the greatest acts of worship and a priority on our path to Allah.
Among the hadiths that speak to us of the immense importance and extent of that love is: “No one of you truly believes until I am dearer to him than his father, his son, his own self and all the people.”
And how heartwarming is Allah’s description of the closeness of the beloved prophet to us in: “The prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves” (33:6).
Living with his and his companions’ stories and love keeps us feeling accompanied and strengthened in a world of many distractions. And sending abundant salawAat upon him brings us much closer to our Lord and opens doors of unimaginable goodness in this life and the next. “Surely, Allah and His angels shower blessings upon the Prophet. O you who believe, ask Allah to bless him, and send your Salām (prayer for his being in peace) to him in abundance” (33:56).
Stay heart-focused and learn about curing the diseases of the heart. Don’t lose sight of that place inside of you at which Allah looks and wherein faith and intentions reside.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “Verily Allah does not look at your faces or your wealth but He looks at your heart and your deeds” (Sahih Muslim).
That “piece of flesh” which the prophet ﷺ says if rectified rectifies the entire body. Let go of your old self-image and know beyond the shadow of a doubt that Allah can and will change you. See yourself for who you really are; a loving servant of the Loving One. It’s between you and Him now; fixing that bond and asking for a sound heart will let all else fall into place by His infinite Grace.
Allah’s Messenger ﷺ said: “Do good deeds properly as best as you can and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little” Sahih alBukhari.
This is such a clear teaching that it’s not just quantity but rather quality and consistency that drive us as Muslims and help us grow steadily. It also reminds us that we should never rely on our deeds no matter how great but constantly ask Allah to grant us Paradise by His infinite Mercy.
And finally, start with the end in mind and let your Destination be the focal point that centres and motivates you. Imagine where you want to be next to your Lord for eternity, write it down, keep it safe in your heart, visualize it often and pray for it every day; Allah is al-Mojeeb, al-Kareem, the One who Answers with utmost Generosity.
Oh Allah, We ask You to grant us paths that lead to Your eternal Mercy and Contentment, to elevate us to the highest ranks, and to grant us the pleasure of gazing at Your Countenance and the eagerness to meet You, Ameen.
About the author: Aya Zaki
Aya is mother who is passionate about education and art. She aspires to be a tool for planting seeds of Allah’s Love and Light. Read more from her at http://fromatwinklyheart.blogspot.com/