Have you heard the hadith “When the month of Ramadan enters, gates of Paradise are opened, gates of Hell are closed and devils are chained.” Narrated by Bukhari and Muslim? A question that comes to mind when this hadith is read: “Why is it that we are struggling with our acts of worship or bad habits even though the devils are chained?”. One response is: “Because Shytan (the devil) has trained us so well throughout the year that we are on auto mode now!”. Have we paused to consider that change may not be happening because of us and not the commonly blamed reasons of family, credit crunch, weight etc?
Do you really want to Change?
Actions are by intentions. So what is our intention from making a change? Is it coming from within us or something that has been imposed by others? Do you feel that you have to stop smoking your health and stamina or because it’s too cold to smoke outside? Do you want to learn Arabic to be able to converse with the people when you go on holiday or to be able to understand the Quran when recited? Are you studying medicine because dad said so or because you can hear its calling? The intention behind an action determines the level of motivation and ability to keep going especially when faced with obstacles. So ask yourself, do you really want to change?
Have you heard of the phrase ‘Comfort Zone’? It’s a zone where everything is comfortable. Not because it’s easy but because it’s predictable and doesn’t involve any loses. The catch is that it doesn’t involve any gains either. Making a change by its nature will mean a step out of that comfort zone. When doing something new the outcomes will be new and the fear is that these outcomes may not be favourable. Focusing only on the negatives does not allow for a balanced view.
Here is where the qualities of belief in Allah and his decree are needed. No one knows the future but once the person does their homework, seeks proper counsel and prays their istikhara they should be good to go.
I was talking to some of our relatives today and we kinda agreed that one of the main reasons for not changing was others influence on us. Or to be precise, it is us allowing others to influence us. It is natural to want to belong. But when they become a hindrance to ones development and progress then that’s a whole different story. Work on your confidence and self esteem. Express yourself in a clear, respectful and assertive manner and hopefully the message will be received, soon. This may take time but if you want change you’ll find a way. After all Allah has blessed you with the faculty of mind and thought so use them.
The influence of others isn’t always negative. Being in the company of scholars, righteous people and the type of people you want to be of will rub on you and show it’s effects with time. If one is struggling with their prayer and one day they happen to be in the company of those who not just pray but pray on time in congregation would they just sit there and say I’ll pray later on my own? I doubt it. This company is aiding this person against their laziness.
Subhanallah, every Ramadan we hope that Allah accepts our fasting, prayer and other good deeds. Let’s ask Allah to accept them from us this year too. And let’s also pray and act to ensure that this month’s effects last beyond those 29/30 days. What kind of change do we hope for after Ramadan in ourselves, state of iman, health, wealth, the wellbeing of our families and the state of the Ummah. Magnify that dua. We are all in need of Allah’s grace and mercy.