…Until when death comes to one of them, he says,”My Lord, send me back- That I might do righteousness in that which I left behind.” No! It is only a word he is saying; and behind them is a barrier until the Day they are resurrected”
If you really want to prove you can do the right thing, the time is now. There is no other life you will get to be the Muslim you want to be, need to be and were destined to be. Seize your destiny and your home in Jannah like you know the biggest and best party with the best people will be there waiting for you, as they surely will. The best people in the sight of Allaah, the ones He loves, the most honoured and famous of all time will be there, and I know you won’t want to miss out.
So plan your time so that it reflects what you really want and what’s really important to you. Your time must reflect what your priorities really are, and if you have no time for Allah then you are kidding yourself to think you can be one of His Chosen people. If you want Him to choose You, choose Him, give to Him from whatever you can and sacrifice for Him, all while you remember and know that you are not sacrificing for a distant “celebrity” or famous person who doesn’t even know if you’re alive or dead- you sacrifice for a Lord who is closer to you than the jugular vein in your neck – He knows your struggle, your wants, your desires your dreams and your hopes, and He will recompense you with something better, every single time.
If you want Him to choose you, choose Him
To my teenage sons, know that your “duties” are what raise you and make you a pillar of the ummah…yes, you- a pillar of the ummah. The ummah that needs men who love the truth and stick to it, who will sacrifice for it, and live for it. Know that going to the masjid is part of building the ummah, following in the footsteps of the best of mankind. Know that your training and patience with the old uncles of the mosque with their kebab burps and weathered feet that step on your toes will keep you grounded in the sunnah of the Messenger that your Creator sent to show you that He judges all books not by their cover, but by their Taqwah- their awareness of Him and sincere desire to Please Him. Your job is to look and search for the good in every muslim you come across, and in every situation that you find yourself in. Your job is to respect and honour the Muslims, even if only for the fact that they have acknowledged Allaah as their Lord- because that is how their Creator will judge them, and that was enough for the greatest people of the past to love one another; Your job is to be the best human you can be, and you can be a fine one, in the moments you are mindful of where your heart is, in the moments you decide to be…
So realise that Ramadan and its duties are not for external actions only, but the fasting, the prayer, the Quran, are to give wings to a heavy heart and let it fly above the trivial troubles of this world, to the world of seeing beyond what is merely in front of our eyes. It is a month of training your heart to see and feel its true purpose of knowing its Lord and learning to come closer to Him.
I invite you to set your heart free this Ramadan, and learn to love your actions of the limbs as they subdue your desire to be a slave to any of the creation or anything other than Allaah. We are all slaves to something- so choose to be a Slave to the Greatest and noblest of Masters, and see how that raises you, every day, and makes every small effort count.
To my younger sisters with babies and toddlers, know that your priorities will not be the same as those without young children, and no one is judging you, or can be qualified to judge you, but Allaah, the Most Merciful, and His Judging is better for you than you being judged by your own mother! As Ḥammād b. Salama ( one of the righteous people of the past – may Allah bestow mercy on him) said, “I swear by Allah, were I given the choice between Allah conducting my reckoning or my parents conducting my reckoning, I would choose the reckoning of Allah – for Allah is more merciful with me than my parents.”
Be the best you can be, with the resources and time you have available- and be just and true to yourself within those limitations, even while you try with your heart to remember Allaah as much as you can.
Streamline your goals- perhaps finishing a whole recitation of Quran with tafseer is not going to be a realistic option for you, perhaps fasting every day is not going to be possible for you if you are breastfeeding. Be mindful and conscientious, and be sincere to Allaah, so you don’t waste precious time on social media that can be avoided, and after that, be at rest that you are taking care of the responsibilities Allaah has given you. There is no need for guilt. Keep your tongue moist with istighfaar instead and feel it satiate your heart. Fulfil the sunnah of being patient and kind. Renew your intentions for very single act you do, so it all counts as immeasurable worship for you- feeding the salves of Allaah and granting them the nutrients to be healthy and strong; cooking to feed the fasting and serve them; cleaning because ‘cleanliness is half of emaan (faith)’…These are the small acts that humans overlook in their quest to achieve greatness, but your beneficent benevolent Rabb doesn’t need to see great acts, He looks to see greatness of the heart and spirit manifested in even the smallest of actions, like giving water to a thirsty dog.
Don’t confuse your need to do great things with the requirement to be a great Muslim through sincerity to and love for Allaah- that is achievable in even the smallest of gestures like a smile to a neighbour.
To all of my sisters and myself, give freely of your smiles, charity, love, support and care to others. Give freely of your heart to Allaah, give the best of your time to Him, to His Words, so they transform your heart and purify it,so that they fortify it to deal with anything that comes it’s way. Schedule the time for your Salah and Quran before anything else. Have a bottom line, a minimum, that you will not cross, that you hope will take you closer to being amongst the Beloved of Allaaah – whether it is Salah in the beginning of it’s time, Salah with all 12 raawatib sunnah, duaa in one sujood every single Salah, or anything else that you feel will be the small, consistent action that you hope will take you closer to Allaah – and then make a promise to yourself to stick to it, and ask Allaah to facilitate it for you, surely He is the Owner of all Might and Power and He is Able, whilst we alone are weak.