بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
One of the important realizations of my life in recent times is that true knowledge has almost nothing to do with conceptual knowledge. Even the affirmation of the kalimah with words is ultimately of secondary importance; what is important is that the recognition of Allah in the heart.
يَوْمَ لَا يَنفَعُ مَالٌ وَلَا بَنُونَ إِلَّا مَنْ أَتَى اللَّهَ بِقَلْبٍ سَلِيمٍ
The Day when there will not benefit [anyone] wealth nor children, except for one who comes to Allah with a sound heart. (26:88-89)
This shift in perspective has led me to incline more towards the practice of the deen than the theoretical study of it, although both are important in their own right. I used to be very hot headed in debate when I was younger. My ego would get so personally invested in what other people thought, and I would get irritated if someone did not accept an opinion that I knew to be logical or correct. While this is something I still struggle with to some degree, I’m thankful that Allah has changed me to the extent that He has and pray that He continues to guide me out of such ignorance.
The reason I changed is because I came to realize that what other people believe or think has no affect on my long term happiness level. If anyone doesn’t want to accept reality, myself included, they will suffer the consequences of it. That person who doesn’t want to learn about the consequences of their food choices? They’ll be suffering tenfold in thirty years time (although food also has an immediate affect, from which they will suffer.) That person who will not accept your religious views? They will not reap the benefits that you are currently enjoying due to those religious views (let alone those you will enjoy in the hereafter.) Any denial of reality is to the same degree a denial of Allah (since He is Reality). This necessarily leads to suffering; I have found this to be a fixed law that Allah has placed in the entire order of creation.
I also came to realize that most of life is largely mundane and no matter your belief system, at the end of the day you’re still going to be folding laundry and doing all kinds of monotonous things. The only thing that can enliven life is a connection with Allah the Transcendent. This connection is in the heart, not in the mind. The rational mind can help you learn things that strengthen your heart’s connection and understanding of Allah, but that’s all it is. It is a tool for your heart to use.
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اسْتَجِيبُوا لِلَّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُمْ لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ وَاعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَحُولُ بَيْنَ الْمَرْءِ وَقَلْبِهِ وَأَنَّهُ إِلَيْهِ تُحْشَرُونَ
O you who believe! answer (the call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life; and know that Allah intervenes between man and his heart, and that to Him you shall be gathered. (8:24)
Consequently, I’ve come to understand through experience that practically implementing a single sunnah of the blessed Messenger (SAWS) into your life yields more benefit to your happiness level than reading entire books of theoretical study. The implementation of the sunnan allows your heart to recognize truths that you will later study in theoretical books, without having to have been formally instructed.
A Personal Project
Due to this realization, I’ve decided to take on a personal project, which I’d like to invite you all to join. What will happen is that every Friday I will post a sunnah which we will all try to implement for the next week, inshaAllah. On the following Friday, I will take a poll which will allow for us to be accountable to one another, and then post another sunnah to implement. In doing so, we will, inshaAllah implement 52 sunnan over the year. Imagine doing that for 10, 20, or 30 years! Our lives will become more like the Messenger each day.
We will start with the duas of the Messenger – he had one for virtually every instance of his life. The reason I’ve decided to start here is because the thing which is given the most importance in the Quran is the dhikr of Allah. It is rated as even more important than Salah:
اتْلُ مَا أُوحِيَ إِلَيْكَ مِنَ الْكِتَابِ وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ إِنَّ الصَّلَاةَ تَنْهَىٰ عَنِ الْفَحْشَاءِ وَالْمُنكَرِ وَلَذِكْرُ اللَّهِ أَكْبَرُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْلَمُ مَا تَصْنَعُونَ
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and establish the prayer; surely prayer prevents indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is greater, and Allah knows what you do. (29:45)
إِنَّنِي أَنَا اللَّهُ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا أَنَا فَاعْبُدْنِي وَأَقِمِ الصَّلَاةَ لِذِكْرِي
Surely I am Allah, there is no god but I, therefore serve Me and establish the prayer for My remembrance. (20:14)
It is interesting to note that the way that the Prophet implemented the command to remember Allah was not simply by doing tasbeeh all the time (i.e. repeating Allahu Akbar, subhanAllah etc.) – although that was an important part of his spiritual regiment. Rather he would have uniquely tailored duas for each circumstance so as to remember Allah in sincere and unique ways throughout the day, as a matter of course. In this way he was able to constantly renew his connection to Allah with each action he took throughout the day.
If we could remember God every time we got up, used the washroom, left the house, saw a friend, ate, went to bed, etc. we would no doubt be in a great spiritual state. I believe learning even a single dua of the Prophet and implementing it is worth the world gold. It will increase your personal happiness level more than years of theoretical study without implementation.
The goal of this post is to get myself (and you) to implement a new sunnah every day. Because, according to the ahaadith, it takes 40 days for any action to become a habit, it is not practical for every day to constitute a brand new sunnah. Rather a brand new sunnah will be introduced each week. Throughout the week special attention will be paid to that action. We will add something new each week, inshaAllah.
I may introduce an action at the beginning of the week instead of a dua, but for the most part the emphasis will be on applying duas for now.
I will be starting Friday, July 15th, inshaAllah. If you wish to join me, make sure to subscribe to my email list to get weekly updates. Also, increase your ajr by sharing it on your Facebook page or with a friend.
I look forward to our mutual support and encouragement for one another!