I’ve been in a bit of a daze since finishing exams in May so I can’t quite believe it’s July already. Apart from writing on the blog and recording podcasts for Umm Fariha Network, I genuinely can’t pinpoint the things that I’ve done this month aside from fasting because it’s Ramadan. I am the sort of person that is obsessive about planning and I really hate not knowing what I’ve been up to. But ever since I dropped and cracked my phone during exam season I haven’t been using my calendar and time tune app to plan my weeks. While the spontaneity of the month has been liberating I am excited for my new phone so super organised me can resurface In sha Allah.
This year’s Ramadan has been quite interesting because I felt really unprepared. I had goals and plans but unlike the years before I didn’t do a lot of preparation before Ramadan and it has been eye opening to an extent because it reaffirmed the saying ‘You can’t reap what you didn’t sow.’ I like having themes/ areas of focus every year for Ramadan and this year my focus was on developing good habits and working on eliminating bad ones. I think Ramadan is perfect for developing habits because of the length (30 days) but naively I just expected that once Ramadan started I could magically change my habits and stick to them which didn’t quite work. It was mainly due to the fact that I procrastinated prior to the start of Ramadan with preparations and in the first week when I wasn’t fasting which gave me more leeway to make excuses. Physically, I really wanted to go on a 30 day vegetarian diet and drink healthy smoothies to detox my body and to try and be more healthy; spiritually I wanted to have a consistent Qur’an and dua routine; lastly in terms of personal development I desperately wanted to do Hal ElRod’s Miracle Morning Challenge for 30 days as well. There are two lessons here: firstly it was unrealistic not to have started prior to Ramadan and just assume that I would be able to stick to it and secondly I should have narrowed it down to one or two things and have focus on those things. The approach I will take this month is to focus on two things; developing a consistent Qur’an and dua routine and doing the Miracle Morning challenge. While I have a lot more habits that I want to develop I can focus on developing them once I have these two down. Plus having focus helps me to concentrate fully on what I’m exerting energy on.
“About 40% to 45% of what we do every day sort of feels like a decision, but it’s actually habit.” – Charles Duhigg
Considering that habits drive a significant percentage of our day to day actions I want certain actions to be instinctive. For me the key to success whether it’s in worldly matters or spiritual matters is consistency and that requires commitment, dedication and constantly ‘doing what is right instead of what is easy,’ which is what I have been mentally repeating to myself all month. Anthony Robbins said “It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently.” and it’s amazing that this coincides with a Hadith from the Prophetﷺ who said,
“The most beloved of deeds to Allah are those that are most consistent, even if it is small”. [Collected by Bukhari and Muslim]
In many ways Ramadan has also been a huge wake up call for me. It’s always been a month of reflection and solitude but after watching a video on the Islamic Guidance channel on Youtube video I started reflecting a lot more. In many ways our physical body can be deceptive about the state of our spirituality. The analogy for me is that if my leg or any other part of my body is injured I don’t ignore the injury, I fix it there and there. And if it’s something that requires me to go the doctor I do it without hesitation. If I need to consistently take medicine for the wound to heal or to feel better I do it because I take my health and death seriously. But how many times over the past few months have I been ignoring spiritual wounds to my heart and my spiritual health? Why is it that I don’t immediately turn to the Qur’an or Salah to heal my wounds like I would go to a doctor to help me with things that are beyond my capability and understanding. This month I just asked myself,
“what is it and who is it that you turn to first in the moments of happiness and sadness?”
And honestly I wasn’t satisfied with the answer I gave myself so now I’m committed to fixing it. I don’t procrastinate with treating physical health problems, why then is it okay to procrastinate with my spiritual health which is ultimately far more important.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, when the servant commits a sin a black spot appears upon his heart. If he abandons the sin, seeks forgiveness, and repents, then his heart will be polished. If he returns to the sin, the blackness will be increased until it overcomes his heart. It is the covering that Allah has mentioned: No, but on their hearts is a covering because of what they have earned.” (83:14)
Source: Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3334
So my main goal for July is to start doing some serious work on being cognisant of my spiritual health and work more on the goals that I had for Ramadan especially since the the first month after Ramadan is crucial and I’m grateful that Allah has allowed me to witness this blessed month again. I’m not doing an internship this year but I’m in the process of working on a few of my own projects In sha Allah so it’s going to be interesting being my own boss for the next two months haha. Till the July journal I leave you with my quotivation for June and with the best of wishes of an amazing July for all my wonderful followers.
“Do what is right not what is easy.”