You know, after a while, I feel myself taking a few steps back into my old self. But then I get back up again and repent. This is an ongoing thing. Do you have any advice on how to remain steadfast? I mean, we’re human right? But I’d rather have this happen almost never.
I think that your issue is mainly to do with staying on track. Because I don’t know your issues on a personal level, there are many ways I can go about discussing what the possible steps you could take are, but hopefully what I am about to say will be insightful for you inshAllah.
Firstly it’s important that you acknowledge that it is difficult to stay on track, and so it is of absolute necessity you pinpoint what things are making you fall off balance. See staying on track is a measure of how balanced you are in life, so where you lose out in one part of your life, it will definitely come out in ways you most likely wouldn’t imagine. This is because what we do on a daily basis makes a critical impact on our moods, feelings, spirituality, state of mind, and just everything that’s to do with us internally. And this becomes evident in your actions, such as your work ethic, your competency, and other outwardly notions.
It’s actually amazing how the things we do, even the little things have this kind of impact on us. So what I’ve addressed here is this, that you never look at a small action and think that it won’t make a difference in your life, because in more ways than one it will most definitely will, without you even realising it.
Towards the end of August, I found it really difficult to write articles on my blog, and eventually I understood that this is as a result of things that have been going on within. (Actually there were alot of things I felt at that time, I became really anti-social, I didn’t wish to do much etc). But even when I started to get back on track again; so I was talking to people properly, etc; I still found it difficult to write. Note, I am not even referring to something haram or halal here. Look at what it is I am trying to do- I wish to be able to write, which isn’t even fard for me to do, and nor is it a sin if I don’t do it, however I knew that me not being able to write was because of issues I was experiencing with somebody I was in contact with for months. How on earth can my relationship with somebody effect my whim to write? Well after I sorted my internal issues out; in that I sorted out what my important things in life are, as well as where I stand with this person, Alhamdulillah I’ve been good to write again. 🙂
Okay so if something such as the things you get out of a relationship with somebody can affect one that much, and therefore knock one completely of the balance, then when we do or partake in other actions, this can amount to many things, such as free mixing, listening to music that is bad for the nafs (subconscious), being rude to our siblings, not praying with concentration, etc, then believe me, negative things will be played out.
There’s a good reason as to why this happens. I posted an article titled “The effects of our deeds”, and the brother really nicely explains how when we sin we actually transgress. This is how Allah swt talks about it in the Quran. Transgression by definition is the act of exceeding or overstepping your boundaries, meaning that you are in violation of yourself. What this goes back to is the covenant we have all made with Allah swt years before the very existence of mankind, where our souls had already met Allah swt and promised Him swt that we would obey His every command. So when you are doing things that are sinful, you are in violation of own soul, and this is why negative things play out afterwards, (so this could be evident in your mood, state of mind, memory etc), because you’ve committed an injustice towards your soul, the very thing that only wants to worship Allah swt in every form and aspect it possibly can do. So as a result there’s an imbalance you’ve created by overstepping your boundaries.
So be really critical of your lifestyle, so that you are able to pinpoint what is keeping you off-balance. One indicator I found is that certain things would make me feel more uneasy than I was before, if you find that partaking in such activities have this effect on you, than the likihood is that it’s not good for your wellbeing and it would be better that you stray from it, for the time being anyway.
Another thing to make mention of is the human problem. Now Islam recognises that the human being is comprised of 3 primary instincts, them being, survival, reverence, and procreation. Islam views the human problem as how we continually go about fulfilling these instincts of ours. The other part of our being is our soul, and as I have mentioned before, all it wants to do is worship Allah swt. So what the Quran and the sunnah guides us to do as Muslims, is indeed the best way in which we fulfil these instincts of ours, while satisfying the needs of our soul. Islam teaches us how to live a balanced way of life, in accordance to our biological and spiritual make-up. If you would like, you could listen to the tafseer (analysis of the Quran) of Surah Fatihah, by brother Nouman Ali Khan, to inshAllah assist with your understanding on this matter.
Also there are things you can do, so that you maitain this balance of the soul and the body. Such things would be to concentrate in all of your prayers -note that performing salaah 5 times a day is described as though you have showered 5 times a day. So if you have showered 5 times throughout the day, then will there be any dirt on you? No right? So if you perform salaah properly, then each time you do, you are purifying yourself. Also make sure that when you are to perform salaah, that you have prepared yourself to pray properly. For example, if you have not slept properly, and then go for Esha salaah, you may be too tired to concentrate as your body will have rights over you. So I suggest you implement certain things into your lifestyle to prevent you from such things, for instance you could take a nap in the afternoon, and if possible between zhur and asr times as that is the sunnah.
Another thing is that you should start reading up on the translations of the surahs/ duas (such as the duas you recite during tashahud) in salaah, so that you can concentrate on the words said in salaah better. Many duas can be found in the ‘Fortress of the Muslim’ book. I also suggest that you listen to the tafseer of the surahs you recite in salaah (so that you can concentrate and contemplate better in salaah), and generally other surahs, to build a better relationship with the Quran. I like listening to the podcasts available at bayyinah institute. Google it, and thou shall find. (Or YouTube).
I find that doing regular dhikr after my salaah, with concentration and contemplation helps keep my state of mind at ease. So these should be Astaghfirullah (may Allah forgive me), Alhamdulillah (praise be to Allah), Allah hu Akbar (Allah is the greatest), SubhanAllah (Glory to Allah). I generally say each around 33-36 times, and DO NOT RUSH THIS. Otherwise there really is no point, and it probably won’t help you otherwise.
The prophet pbuh, would pray 8 or 10 rakats of tahajut, so that’s something you could think about incorporating in to your life, tahajut prayers. It’s really not alot considering the amount of prayers we perform in Ramadan.
So the general idea is that you partake in more good deeds, and if you are new, then I suggest you do things accordingly to how much you can adapt to as time goes on. So you start off little, and allow it to manifest holistically in to your life. There are loads of things to do, so know that Allah swt has left many options for us to choose from, so just start off where ever you like, (this isn’t in regards to the fard, as that’s not something we can choose not to do), and use your willpower to carry these deeds out!
Maintaining a good timetable also helps, so getting to sleep early, and waking up early.
InshAllah doing these things should help keep your state of mind, your spirituality, your emotions on a much more balanced level, and it will enable you to stay on track too, so that would also include a steadfastness in the workplace, in any educational institute, in any social setting etc.
Don’t forget to make loads of dua to Allah swt asking that He swt helps you stay on track! I always make this dua, because it can be so difficult.
Also when you say that you find you going back to your old self, is it that you go back to doing some actions of haram? Feel free to clarify, and ask it as another question. The general idea I would give here is that you don’t simply hide from sin you scorn it. Otherwise it becomes extremely difficult to stray from sin.
Anyways, I could probably go on forever, but I think I have written quite a bit! So I hope what I’ve said will be of some help to you inshAllah.
JezhakAllahkhair for your question.
As salaamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu~
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