Do you want to improve your focus? Do you want to fight procrastination? Would you like to increase your efficiency?
Many Muslims are stricken with the twin evils of laziness and procrastination. These twin sisters kill productivity and endanger our ability to increase our Islam and Imaan.
To be a good Muslim, and to truly please Allah takes work.
And it takes dedication and sacrifice.
A Muslim who wants to rise above the fray cannot do so while wasting hours away on Facebook and surfing the net for silly cat videos. If you want to truly please Allah, erase your sins, and imitate the life of the Prophet of Allah (pbuh) and his companions, you have to put the work in.
Too many Muslims waste many hours a day on trivial, worthless pursuits. They spend hours playing video games and watching television and listening to music. Then they complain how they don’t have time to worship Allah properly.
There are some truly people who do have jobs and careers and family obligations that take up a lot of their time. They often use these things as excuses why they can’t devote more time to the worship of Allah.
While they may have genuine intentions, it’s a more a matter of prioritization and dedication. These same people who claim not to have time for Allah always seem to find time to watch movies, hang out with their friends, and update their Facebook status.
Alhamdulillah, there are Islamic methods we can use to change these bad habits. Allah has given us guidance in every area of our lives, and increasing our energy, productivity, and efficiency is no exception.
So here are five Islamic habits you can use to fight laziness, drowsiness, and procrastination.
1. Pray Tahajjud
This one might seem counter intuitive. After all, most busy people probably wish they could get more sleep. Yet, it seems that Tahajjud (night prayer) will only deprive us of much needed rest.
The truth is the opposite. How do I know? Well, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said so:
Allah’s Apostle said, “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.”
If we make it a habit to pray Tahajjud, our bodies will eventually adjust to the changes. But we will also infuse our bodies with spiritual energy to start our day. And as we can see from the above hadith, we will also be protected from the whispers and tricks of Satan.
2. Dhikr Before Going To Sleep
Before explaining, please read the following hadith:
Fatimah complained to the Prophet (May peace be upon him) of the effect of the grinding stone on her hand. Then some slaves (prisoners of war) were brought to him.
So she went to him to ask for (one of) them, but she did not find him. She mentioned the matter to ‘A’ishah. When the prophet (May peace be upon him) came, she informed him.
He (the prophet) visited us (Ali) when we had gone to bed, and when we were about to get up, he said: stay where you are. He then came and sat down between us (her and me), and I felt the coldness of his feet on my chest.
He then said; “Let me guide to something better than what you have asked. When you go bed, say: Glory be to Allah” thirty-three times.”Praise be to Allah” thirty-three times, and “ Allah is most Great” thirty-four times. That will be better for you than a servant.
Sunan Abu Dawud
Being married to Ali Ibn Abi Talib (RA), Fatimah (RA) the daughter of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) had a lot of work to do. Another hadith stated that she had to do the following things on a regular basis:
- Use a mill stone (a heavy stone used to grind grains in order to make flour).
- Carry water
- Sweep and clean the house.
- Cook the meals for her family.
So, when it became known that there were some prisoners of war who may be available as servants, she wanted to ask her father (pbuh) if she could have one. She (RA) could not find him so she passed the message on to Aisha (RA) the Prophet’s wife.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) came to her and Ali’s house after they had gone to bed. He advised her that he had something even better than a servant and taught her the dhikr mentioned above.
There may be different explanations of this hadith, but the one I’ve learned is that using this dhikr in the manner prescribed will help one organize their affairs better, increase their productivity, and find ease in their work.
I can say from personal experience, that when I began to implement this habit, I found myself completing many more tasks in a single day. In fact, I often found myself at the end of the day with all of my daily goals accomplished with several hours to spare, Alhamdulillah.
And Allah knows best.
3. Staying Up After Salaatul Fajr.
I want to make clear that it is not a sin to go back to sleep after praying Salaatul Fajr.
But you’ll be able to accomplish much more, Inshallah, if you stay up instead. This is in accordance with the practice of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). We are giving ourselves more time to worship and remember Allah.
The early Muslims considered sleeping after Salaatul Fajr a bad habit and generally discouraged others from doing so.
And the most successful people in the world have a habit of getting their day started early, usually at the crack of dawn.
I asked Jaabir ibn Samurah, ‘Did you used to sit with the Messenger of Allaah?’ He said, ‘Yes, frequently. He would not get up from the place where he had prayed Subh until the sun rose. When the sun rose, he would get up. They used to talk about things that had happened during the Jaahiliyyah, and they would laugh and smile.
4. Memorize Quran
One of the reasons people become lazy and procrastinate is that they forget the many things they have to do. There are several productivity apps, schedulers, digital calendars and other fancy things to help us remember our daily tasks.
But we seem to overlook one of the oldest and most time-tested methods of improving or memory:
Memorize the Qur’an.
Our brain is a muscle. The more we use it, the stronger it gets. What better way for a Muslim to improve their memory than to exercise it by memorizing the words of Allah?
You don’t have to start off big or set any grand goals. You don’t have to pledge to become a Hafiz by the next Ramadan. Just do what comes easy to you.
If you memorize a few verses everyday, before long, you’ll find yourself memorizing huge portions of the Qur’an, Inshallah.
In addition to memorizing the verses make sure you:
- Learn proper Tajweed so you can pronounce the words of Allah properly.
- Learn the tafseer, or the explanation of the verses you memorize. Quran is much easier to remember when you understand what you’re saying.
- Practice, practice, practice. It is easier to forget the Quran than it is to memorize it. So it’s essential that you constantly review what you’ve learned on a regular basis.
5. Eat Raisins And Honey
I am not aware of any hadith stating that eating raisins and honey will improve your productivity. Though there are several ahadith stating the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) liked to eat them.
Aishah (RA) said: I used to take a handful of dried dates and a handful or raisins and put them in a vessel, and then crush them (and soak in water). Then I would give it to the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) to drink.
Sunan Abu Dawud.
Aishah (RA) said: Allah’s Apostle used to love sweet edible things and honey.
But I have been taught and read statements from Muslim scholars that these foods help to improve memory and focus.
Imam Az-Zuhri, whom Imam Malik (founder of the Maliki School of Thought), recommended eating raisins and honey to improve memory.
And Allah knows best.