The nearing of my return to London this coming weekend is a daunting reminder of how quick time flies, it doesn’t feel like I’ve been away for 4 months. To think the next time I post something In Sha Allah, I’ll be thousands of miles away and surrounded by the familiar cream walls of my second home.
Lately I’ve been thinking of how far I’ve gotten with the goals I set for myself during Ramadan. Most goals are set at the beginning of the year, when the truth is we don’t have to wait till the clocking of another year to initiate change for ourselves.
However, should there be a fixed time for this, I set mine after Ramadan not only because I feel freshly recharged, cleansed and positive but because it’s around that time I deeply contemplate about the things I want and don’t and pray to almighty Allah to grant them for me.
During the last ten days of Ramadan, we all had things we prayed for earnestly. Have any of you noticed any changes in your life? Have some of your prayers been answered already? Are doors opening? Are ideas coming in? Do you feel some growth?
I’ve been feeling an uncomfortable weight on my mind for some days. It’s like my ruh is trying to tell me or warn me about something, I know what it is but I’ve been dodgy with it simply because I’m unready to face its scary truth. I’ve done so finally and it’s ideal to say it’s the instigator of this post.
Am at the stage in my life where I’m tired of giving excuses, what needs to be done should be done. Excuses I now see as something worse than failure.
Fear has always been one of the main obstacles in my life, it has stopped me from exploring several options and seizing the many opportunities that came my way. I led myself to believe I was fine being inside the bubble I wrapped my self in, I’m only now realising it has been the underlying cause for past disappointments and slow growth.
I failed to acknowledge and use up the many opportunities Allah gave me and I would sometimes wonder why certain things are still the way they are, when I am the one that has failed to make the necessary change.
For example one of the goals I set for myself was to stop listening to music; I’ve tried so many times before and failed. It’s safe to say I’m addicted to it…I enjoy being under its trance and my eardrums itch for music when alone. It’s really difficult for me and I know giving it up for the sake of Allah will be extremely rewarding because He understands how much it took from me…you won’t believe I’m listening to music as I write this.
I said that just to make you understand, now I haven’t really tried to stop listening to music because a part of me is still resisting. For someone like me, when will the change come? How can I achieve the goal I set for myself? I can’t have been listening to music all my life and expect one day it will all just stop. If I truly believed that then I’ve been deceiving myself, NO change will come.
The fact that I want to stop doing something means I don’t have control over it right? So let’s say I delete all the songs on my iTunes (a step not a change) do you really expect me not to re-download a track some other time or stream a song online somewhere? I hear people say this a lot but it’s not really about having self control, at that moment control is what I lack. So telling me to have better self control is not very good advice because not everyone is like Prophet Yusuf (Joseph) alayhis salam and can stop themselves at a very tempting moment. It’s easier said than done.
The sincere intention to want to stop is vital, bring yourself to decide once and for all that you truly want this change. This change can only really happen by taking baby steps. I listen to music every time during the day; okay how about I reduce and restrict it to a particular time in the day? You are not depriving yourself completely, you are just withholding till a particular time; you’ve not exercised total control but ‘some’ control. It’s a step.
I am someone that can’t listen to music without earphones, headphones or from a sound system. In other words I can’t settle for music that isn’t loud and clear. As a matter of fact I’ld rather not listen to music at all than hear it played out like that. Knowing that, how about when next my earphones get lost or spoilt don’t replace them! Buy anything else but the earphones. It’s a step.
I stream music online a lot, how about I reset my browsing settings to redirect me to a different page? For new Nigerian music I visit notjustok.com. Every time I feel the need to check out new releases for the month, I can alter the settings on my browser to redirect that particular website to another page that can discourage me from trying to listen to music at that moment…maybe a dawah on music. It’s a step.
A common way people get over addictions is to find a replacement. If my love for music is so bad how about I replace them with nasheeds (Islamic songs) or Quran recitations, there are some beautiful reciters out there Ma Sha Allah. It’s a step.
With time Allah sees your efforts, how much you are really trying to get over this habit. He will intervene and make it easier for you for He said if you take one step towards Him, He’ll come running to you. My Arabic teacher Nouman Ali Khan said one beautiful thing that stuck to me, he said “We (Muslims) don’t believe success comes from human effort. We believe effort is a necessary ingredient to qualify for God’s help.” How beautiful is that?
I’m going to really try this time. You could be going through the same thing that I am or something else completely. I know the world can be difficult, you go to meet people for help and they tell you just pray, or distract yourself or simply stop whatever you are doing, it’s painful because there you are really trying to put yourself together and they are giving non-constructive advice.
Things take time. You want to memorise quran, it won’t happen tomorrow or next year. Tell me where does it happen where you sit down one day and memorise the whole 6236 ayats? Even the whole Quran was not revealed in one night, it was revealed within a period of 23 years. Really what’s the rush? Learn and stick to one ayat a day; a number that’s not too overwhelming (plus some ayats can be very long). Find a favourite reciter and listen to his recitation. Play it on your way to work or to the mosque. Practice over and over again, bit by bit, step by step and before you know it you’ve crossed that finishing line.
Remember in our Deen, little progress is progress. Do not belittle it and never compare your progress with someone else’s. They did not start with you and even if they did you are not the same person. Whenever you feel discouraged, just think back and look at where you were before and where you are currently standing and smile, you should smile, you deserve to and say Alhamdulilah.
May Allah give us the power to improve the conditions of ourselves and make us servants that qualify for his immediate help at any given moment and time Amin.
Have a very pleasant week my lovelies ^.^