Dear brothers and sisters, to change and adapt is part of this life and it part of being human. Not only us, all of creation, from the stars that die out to the creatures on this earth, we are all subject to change over time.
When we look at ourselves as a people, we need to be mindful that if we are looking for a change in our status as a people, then the change must begin within ourselves. The change therefore that Allah SWT would bring upon us follows a change in our mindset and our attitudes first.
The question we need to ask ourselves is, if we are in a constant state of change, no matter how small or subtle, is this change towards Allah SWT or away from Him? A good indicator of this would be if we were to analyse who we were 5 years ago. What we were like in 2014 and could we say that we have improved within ourselves as Muslims or gone further astray?
There is wisdom in the hadith that the best deeds in the sight of Allah SWT are those which may be small but are consistent. If we ponder over this, we realise that it is the consistent good deeds that enable us to change in the positive way and towards Allah SWT.
As we are in the month of Ramadan, we are all engaged in extra acts of worship and extra good deeds. How many of us can say that the deeds we started in Ramadan last year were applied since and we still do them until today? This is a key sign of the trend we are on if the acts in this month, even a small percentage of them, are dropped as soon as the month is over.
The imam mentioned a hadith in which the Prophet SAWS said:
Every person starts his day as a vendor of his soul, either freeing it or causing its ruin.
And as Allah SWT says in Sura Muddathir, ayat 37:
To whoever wills among you to proceed or stay behind
Dear brothers and sisters, we need to ask ourselves what is it that is causing our habits to stick and our good deeds in this month to be discarded on Eid.
The first step to resolving this issue is to begin with the correct intention – are we doing the acts in this month for the sake of Allah SWT? Do we feel pleasure from the acts that we are carrying out or is it the case that we are following the trend of others and simply going through the motions.
It is not fair to say that all acts of worship come straight from the heart. It is difficult to perform night prayers for example, the call of one’s bed for a lovely sleep is still heard even when one is trying their hardest to pray in the night.
However, if we begin the act of worship with the sincere intention of pleasing Allah SWT and no other reason such as meeting up with friends in the masjid, we stand the best chance to having that struggle become a lasting habit beyond the month of Ramadan.
Another way of looking at this first point is to say that the best habits also begin with the mindset of repentance or regret. Often in this month, when we are enveloped in the blessing that is the month of Ramadan, we take stock of the past year that we’ve lived. Sometimes we are full of regret for the sins that we have committed or the bad habits we have been involved in.
We are fortunate that we are of those that give these habits up for the month of Ramadan. Alongside that, we ought to latch on to the feeling of regret, remorse and sorrow that we feel for wronging ourselves with our behaviour or habits. Use that as a basis for establishing good deeds in this month that carry on beyond Ramadan.
Regret helps cause changes to the positive, as it leads to the softening of the heart, more focus, intention to do good as mentioned by Allah SWT in ayat 222 of Sura Baqarah which says:
Indeed Allah loves those who are constantly repentant and loves those who purify themselves.
Dear brothers and sisters we need to digest the sheer magnitude of the mercy that our Lord bestows upon us. Not only would we benefit from gaining the reward of good deeds but Allah SWT is merciful in that we can also eliminate our bad deeds.
This is illustrated in Sura Al-Furqan, ayat 70 which is translated to say:
Except for those who repent, believe and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful.
So we have the opportunity not only to gain this month in the good habits we begin, but we also have the opportunity to simultaneously erase the bad deeds of the past.
This leads onto the second point and that is the ability for us to perform critical analysis of ourselves. This is the month to do this brothers and sisters as we are more likely to be true to ourselves than any other time.
Use this month to find a time to reflect on the person you were last Ramadan and the person you are today. Use this month to see how you can continue to grow and to improve. Use this month to recognize traps that Shaitaan may have tempted you in.
And then use that as a catalyst to becoming a better Muslim and establishing better habits for the sake of Allah SWT.
Dear brothers and sisters, Ramadan has arrived, month of reflection and mercy, and the month of change. If you don’t change in Ramadan, then when will you change? When can you change?
All the conditions are immersed in this month for a positive change so make the most of this month and establish habits that will continue past the blessed month we are in.Read More
Dear brothers and sisters, we have all experienced feats of great achievements in life. Whether it is ourselves or people around us or even from what we see on the television, we have witnessed great accomplishments in life.
These accomplishments such as climbing a mountain or memorizing the Quran all have one thing in common and that is the self-determination of the person to achieve.
Everyone has it within themselves to achieve. This is something that Allah SWT tells us of in the Quran and one example of this is in reference to the story of the Pharoah and his persecution of his people at the time. Allah SWT mentions in Sura Al-Qasas, ayat 5:
And We wanted to confer favor upon those who were oppressed in the land and make them leaders and make them inheritors
Dear brothers and sisters, if we analyse this ayat we see that Allah SWT is telling us that despite the hopelessness of the situation they were in, with the will of Allah SWT they could overthrow the greatest of tyrants.
The point being made in the khutba is that there are essentially two types of people in the world when it comes to determination:
There is the first type who cannot do anything productive and is often found complaining about this and everything else that is going wrong with them. Not only is this negativity found in their actions and words, but they are also quick to pass it on to any plans or ambitions others have to.
The second type is the one who may also face obstacles and tests but instead took each and every setback as a blessing and as a lesson in the path to success.
Dear brothers and sisters, we spoke last week on optimism and how it inspires one to be motivated but this khutba goes further and speaks of how that optimism and motivation inspires one to be productive through determination.
So, what are the obstacles that get in the way of being productive? Well, the khutba mentions this and we hinted at it last week.
Our motivation, through our mood and our level of Optimism determines how motivated we are to achieve.
And who can blame us for having a bad mood these days? With all the bad news being shown, one may think ‘what’s the point?’. It all looks like it’s coming to a head with the Hour being almost upon us.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is not how we are to think as Muslims. First of all, only Allah SWT has knowledge of the Hour.
And secondly, as narrated in a Hadith, the Prophet SAWS has told us to carry on regardless even if that time is here. The hadith is translated as saying:
When the Hour comes, and if someone has a plant and he could plant it before the Hour then he should plant it.
Dear brothers and sisters, this is telling us that our mind is our most precious gift. We must protect it from negativity and pessimism and we must keep it active, productive and positive regardless of what is happening around us.
So, in conclusion to the khutba we outline the practical steps to Productivity that can be applied by all. There are 3 powerful elements of Productivity and without which one cannot achieve it.
It all starts with knowledge. Understand what you need to do and how to do it. One of the main reasons people put things off is because they don’t know how to do it. Some ideas on acquiring knowledge are asking an expert, researching offline or on the net and of course, making dua to acquire knowledge.
The value of knowledge without action is zero. In fact, Allah SWT warns us in the Quran to not be one of those people who had knowledge but did little action. For example, a 60 minute task is only 10 minutes old and you start drifting away towards Facebook, TV or some other distraction. If this happens, split the task into only 10 minutes and give yourself 5 minutes break and then repeat.
The truth is our inner self is like a small child. We need to therefore treat it that way. A bit of encouragement, a bit of scolding, a reward here and there and it will co-operate eventually.
So one can get the knowledge, perform the action but after a few days quit. 90% of productivity failures are down to consistency. So how does one overcome this? Start slowly. Grow slowly. This is the key and Allah SWT has told us through the Prophet SAWS that the small but consistent actions are those which He loves the most. Alongside that, remind yourself why you are doing the action, what your reward is for completing it. Visualise the end and you will keep motivated to reach it. And above all else, consistently ask Allah SWT for help in achieving it.
Dear brothers and sisters, motivation and productivity is a battle of the mind. Once we understand this and take practical steps in nurturing our mind to becoming positive, we will find that we can achieve success in what we do and please Allah SWT in doing it.
May Allah SWT enable us to be productive through determination. May Allah SWT enable us to be positive in our thinking. And may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in doing this.Read More
Each and every one of us has dealt with, and experienced, difficult times at some point or another.
Whether it is facing challenges relating to work, study, health or relationships, we are all expected at some time to face adversity and trials.
However, as Muslims we are blessed with the knowledge that every hardship will be compensated, even the pricking of one’s finger with a thorn, provided we bear it with patience.
Being patient and steadfast in times of hardship requires faith in Allah SWT and His decree and we should understand that we may be tested with various calamities.
It is perfectly normal at times to feel sadness in these situations and wonder why Allah SWT allowed us to go through these calamities.
Allah SWT reminds us in the Quran that this life is one of a test and that the manner in which we deal with the test determines our forever in the hereafter.
The Prophet SAWS was a practical example of this and there are many hadiths that demonstrate his optimistic nature. In fact, Allah SWT mentions that the Prophet SAWS himself is a sign of optimism and hope in Sura Saba’a, ayat 34:
And We have not sent you except comprehensively to mankind as a bringer of good tidings and a warner. But most of the people do not know.
Dear brothers and sisters, if we reflect, we are being told that the test may appear difficult at times but the reward is immense.
And alongside the rewards from Allah SWT, we ought to remind ourselves in the wisdom of his trials. Some can educate us, build our character and help us develop patience, humility and strength.
S how does one do this though practically? Well, as with all things relating to our lives, we can take lessons from the Glorious Quran, such is its miraculous nature and blessing for us all.
In regards to this topic, the Quran reminds us that whilst we may be going through trials and tribulations, the Prophets of Allah SWT were put through tests that we would struggle with.
There are accounts in the Quran of Prophets who were afflicted with severe poverty, ailments, animosity and hatred. These are all challenges we may face in our everyday lives.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is only human nature to fall into the habit of focusing on our trials. They say that the human counts his blessings on his fingers and toes but his trials are counted using a calculator.
However, the Quran tells us how we can overcome these trials and their effect on our mind set through optimism and patience.
So what does this mean practically? What follows then to conclude are 5 reasons for a Muslim to stay positive.
- Allah SWT promises to make a way out. With hardship comes ease. This is told to us by Allah SWT and as Muslims we must believe it and reiterate it to ourselves when times get tough.
- A Muslim’s reaction to every situation is gratitude. Since we know that our life tests result in afterlife rewards, both good times and bad times should be met with an Alhamdullilah.
- Spread good news. Good news is so underrated but it can make all the difference. Use your networking to good effect by spreading good news or good reminders. Our FB page attempts to do that so join us if you haven’t done so already.
- An Optimist is an achiever. Remember that a pessimistic person sees the difficulty in every opportunity whereas an optimist sees an opportunity in every difficulty. Focus on solutions, not problems. Look for opportunities, not excuses. Remember that a results-driven, positive attitude is the mark of an achiever in this life and the next.
- Allah SWT offers us a futuristic vision. Throughout the Quran, Allah SWT reminds us of the temporary nature of this life and that the real goal should be fixed on the next life through sound belief and actions. Therefore with the real success being in the hereafter, regardless of your situation today, remind yourself it won’t last long.
Allah SWT tell us to focus on the bigger picture, that compared to an eternity in the hereafter, this life is merely a comparative blink of an eye and that we should draw strength from that fact when we are faced with hard times.
Dear brothers and sisters, nobody is claiming that life is easy. It is a test and we must accept that. However, with the knowledge of what this test is, how it is being played out and the rewards of passing the test, we should take strength from that knowledge and use it to drive feelings of optimism and positivity.
May Allah SWT enable us to remain positive. May Allah SWT inspire us to spread optimism and may Allah SWT reward us for our efforts in positivity and optimism.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.Read More