‘For him [i.e., each one of us] are successive [angels], before and behind him who protect him by the decree of Allah. Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves. And when Allah intends for a people ill, there is no repelling it. And there is not for them besides Him any patron. (Surah Ar-Rad 13:11)
It is commonly known that ‘dua’ (supplication) can change destiny. However, In the past few years of my life, I realized that altering deeds – replacing undesirable qualities, with desirable ones – has more profound outcome. Though acts of worship (praying, fasting, etc) should be done with the intention of reaching Jannah (heaven), their positive effect on our daily life is the immediate reward we receive in this world.
The changes I inculcated, aiming to improve my acts of worship, had profound effect on my day-to-day life and these changes brought surprising results.
1. Setting-up a routine : Success is directly proportional to having a perfect routine. As I kept reading about highly successfully people, one fact was strikingly similar in all of them – they all had strict routine. They slept at 9pm and woke up at 4am. When I found the same pattern in the life of our Prophet (peace be upon him), I couldn’t resist the urge to try and follow it for few weeks. During those days, I was reading’A Day in the life of Muhammad’ and felt enthusiastic about trying to adapt to our beloved Prophet’s lifestyle. The result was unprecedented. This decision taught me that ‘Tahajjud’ and ‘Fajr’ are not merely prayers, but a source of Niyamah (blessing), hidayat (guidance) and protection from Allah (swt). The fact that people put in so much effort (personally & professionally) to make the best out of their life and yet fail, is due to lack of connection with Allah (swt) during these early morning hours. The positive impact these prayers have bought in my life are immeasurable.
2. Learning to eat right : Another interesting anecdote about our Prophet’s (Peace be Upon Him) life was the diet he followed. There are various interesting recordings of food he ate and those he avoided. What impressed me the most, was his simple and basic rule of eating less and as requirement. This not only reduces the risk of diseases, but also helps to avoid excess expenditure. This healthy act of eating less helped me to improve my diet, reduce weight, save on my monthly food expense, develop a long-lasting healthy lifestyle and experience Allah’s recommended power of change yet again.
3. Combating negative attitude – Traits disliked by Allah (swt) like backbiting, slander, jealousy, arrogance, taunting, spending excessively (only buying branded items or wasting money buying unnecessary things) over socializing, talking too much, constantly wasting time entertaining oneself (movies, music), have long term damaging effects on a person’s life, their rizq (sustenance) and mental health. To combat any of the above, one needs to recognize them and replace them with positive traits like praying 5 times a day, charity, fasting, forgiveness, patience, hard work, studying the Quran and Sunnah (life of Prophet) and constantly striving for Jannah (our final abode). I had to combat the idea of constantly expecting from others, whether family or friends. As I realised, that turning to others for help was pointless, my faith in Allah’s help increased. How can a person not experience miracles in their life, if they turn to Allah (swt) first during hard times. Allah (swt) is enough for whoever calls out to Him. People are weak, limited and surrounded by their own issues and shortcomings. Allah (swt) is All-powerful and my turning to Him for every major and minor aspect of life has became the base of my survival.
4. Focusing on self-improvement
And if Allah should touch you with adversity, there is no remover of it except Him; and if He intends for you good, then there is no repeller of His bounty. He causes it to reach whom He wills of His servants. And He is the Forgiving, the Merciful. (Surah Yunus 10:107)
When I understood that my life is in my hands – no person or situation can make or break it, I became more focused on working on myself rather than complaining about people who try to harm me or situations that are tough to deal with. On the Day of Judgement it is going to be Allah (swt) and me. He is not going to ask me about other peoples’ deeds. I am accountable for my actions and those I teach my children.
Hence, changes are difficult but not impossible. Their reward is everlasting and definitely worth it. Undoubtedly, a change implemented to please Allah (swt) will be rewarded abundantly.