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[Productive Thinking Series - Part 6] Understanding Self-Sabotage

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[Productive Thinking Series - Part 6] Understanding Self-Sabotage | Productive Muslim

Photo by Vic: flickr[dot]com/photos/59632563@N04/

This is the sixth of a series of eight articles on ‘Productive Thinking’. The series aims to address the challenges that Muslims face on many different levels when it comes to productivity. These levels include: the mental, emotional and physical levels. This series will tackle thinking and mindset on the mental level; negative emotions like anxiety, stress, low self-esteem, fear, etc. on the emotional level; and habits on the physical level. (Part 1Part 2Part 3 | Part 4Part 5)

This article will cover the concept, patterns and reasons for self-sabotage, a hindrance to productivity.

 

What Is Self-Sabotage?

Self-sabotage is any thought, feeling, action and/or behaviour that holds you back from achieving your goals. There is usually a conflict between your conscious desires and your unconscious patterns of thinking, feeling and behaviour.

Sometimes, it seems like there is something holding you back from reaching your goals and succeeding. Sometimes, people might even think they are being affected by magic or that someone is sabotaging their success.

Manifestations of Self-Sabotage In Your Life

Self-sabotage can occur in your work or profession, i.e. you do not go for that promotion or position you know is going to make a difference in your life. It could also affect your studies or business, when you do not put yourself out there or market your products and services that you know people need and can benefit from. It could be in your health where you keep starting and stopping, again and again, that exercise schedule or meal plan, thus preventing yourself from gaining muscle or shedding those last few kilos.

Just when you are about to have a breakthrough, something happens that forces you to start all over again. It is that resistance in starting a project or typing the first paragraph. It is that sleepiness and yawning that takes over you every time you sit down and work. You keep over-eating. People keep calling you, they keep interrupting you. Things keep getting in the way.

But no, it is you who keeps getting in your own way. It is you not saying no to the distractions. It is you not saying yes to opportunities and breakthroughs. It is you not making those decisions that need to be made.

“What comes to you of good is from Allah , but what comes to you of evil, [O man], is from yourself…” [Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 79]

“And whatever strikes you of disaster – it is for what your hands have earned; but He pardons much.” [Qur’an: Chapter 42, Verse 30]

You are not to blame and it is not your fault, but you are responsible. Make sure you understand the distinction between blaming yourself and taking responsibility. Blame and guilt are not healthy, responsibility is.

Nobody can change things for you; it has to come from your heart and from the inside. Once you make that commitment, take on that responsibility and decide that you are not willing to settle for mediocrity anymore, Allah sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He) will help you change anything you want.

“… Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves…” [Qur’an: Chapter 13, Verse 11]

Are You Displaying Self-Sabotage Patterns?

The following are just a few common patterns of self-sabotage:

  • All the unconscious fear (See Part 4)
  • Indecision
  • Procrastination
  • Overwhelm
  • Wanting to always be right
  • Overeating
  • Tolerating mediocrity and Level 3 Living (See Part 2)
  • Not telling the absolute truth
  • Focusing on secondary goals
  • Doing things alone
  • Reinventing the wheel
  • Perfectionism*
  • Not saying ‘No’ to distractions
  • Not saying ‘Yes’ to opportunities
  • Controlling people
  • Critical judgement of self and others
  • Creating dramas and stories

*Make sure you understand the difference between striving for perfection and striving for excellence (ihsan), which is what we have been told to strive for.

Perfection is for our Creator alone, and only He sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He) is Perfect and His Book is perfect. We are not, and will never be perfect. But we can be excellent! Our imperfection is perfection in itself because that is the way Allah sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He) created us. If He wanted us to be different, He would have made us different. That, though, is a whole other discussion in itself.

I used to be proud of being a perfectionist.That was my identity: I am a ‘perfectionist’. This changed when someone I admire said: “You’re not a perfectionist, you’re an ‘imperfectionist’ because all you ever look for are imperfections, in things, in what you do, in people and in the world.”

Perfectionists do not have high standards, they have no standard. This is because their standards are so high that things are unachievable, so they might as well not have any standard. Moreover, perfection is subjective: Perfect according to whom? What is perfect for you might not be what others want and vice versa. There are many people who do not care about the small details over which you are obsessing.

“There is no worse sickness for the soul, O you who are proud, than this pretence of perfection.” — Rumi

Why Do We Self-Sabotage?

Outlined below are some reasons why we self-sabotage, but this article will focus on the first one:

1. Value conflicts
2. Behaviour profiles/styles
3. Unconscious fears
4. Low self-esteem or self-worth
5. Inability to manage our emotions

Before we continue, just note that some people might say that there is no such thing as self-sabotage, because behind every action or behaviour is a positive intention and that is a valid point. For example, procrastination is not self-sabotage because there is a good intention behind procrastination: to avoid disappointment and keep us safe from whatever fear lies behind the procrastination. Our unconscious is programmed to protect us and it always wants the best for us. We all have psychological needs that we want to fulfil and we can fulfil them in resourceful, sustainable above-the-line ways (Levels 1 and 2 — see Part 5) or we can get there by destructive below-the-line ways (Levels 3 and 4 — see Part 5). Self-sabotage can therefore be seen as fulfilling our needs and experiencing our values in below-the-line ways.

Value Conflicts

Our values guide our decisions and, hence, ultimately our destiny. If you are not getting the result that you want and not living the life that you want, then most certainly, your values are not aligned with your desired outcomes, goals and desired life.

Therefore, your values need to be aligned with your life vision and goals. Value elicitation and alignment is an important process to go through. I recently worked with someone who used to procrastinate and play small (regarding her business). It turned out that she was unconsciously equating “business success” with “no time for family” because her dad was always absent from home when she was young, and making time for her family was a value at the top of her list. As a result, she was unconsciously sabotaging her business success to fulfil her family values. The way to stop that is to elicit all her values, prioritise them, install them and align them with her goals.

Being unclear about your own values is the main reason why it is so hard for many people to make simple decisions: They do not know what they stand for and what is important to them. When you know what is most important to you and know what you stand for and what you are about, decision-making becomes much faster, easier and effortless.

What Are Values?

Values are words that represent what are important to us. They are usually unconscious and are linked to our beliefs about what is right and wrong, good and bad. Examples: Peace, security, family or money. Each one of them is of varying importance to different people.

Means Values vs. End Values

There is a difference between means values and end values. Using the examples above, the first two, peace and security, are ‘end values’ because they are emotional states we want to experience and that are important to us. The last two, family and money, are ‘means values’ because they are the means through which we choose to experience certain emotional states.

Example: Let’s say you ask some people what is most important to them and they answer ‘family’. If you then ask them ‘What does family give you or allow you to feel?’, they might say ‘love’. So, love is what they are really after, but family is a means through which they experience that love.

The same applies to money as a means value. Some people are after security through money; for some it is the ability to contribute and make a difference; for others it is power they want to experience as the end state. So, money is just a tool to allow you to reach your end.

The same goes if your job or profession is what you value. For some, through their work, they achieve significance and accomplishment. For others, it is satisfaction or for some, it might be connection with people, and so on.

When we gain clarity about our values and determine what is important to us, and identify our end values, the means are not that important anymore. We can then consciously design our vehicles or means to meet our end values. Problems arise when we confuse the means with the end.

‘Moving Towards’ vs. ‘Moving Away’ Values

‘Moving towards’ values are what we want to experience, and ‘moving away’ values are what we want to avoid feeling. It is important to be clear on your ‘moving towards’ and ‘away from’ values, so you know what you want to experience and not experience. This is important because human beings will do more to avoid pain than they will do to gain pleasure. For example, would you rather have one million dollars or lose an arm? I do not know about you, but I will keep my arm, thank you. And I think it will be the same for 99.9% of people. The pain of losing an arm is greater than the pleasure of gaining a million dollars (unless maybe one has a sick child that needs treatment worth a million dollars).

So, if you do not consciously decide what you want to move towards, then your ‘moving away from’ values could be the source of your self-sabotage. If you want to give da’wah, but your fear of rejection is stronger than your values of contribution and compassion for people, then you will avoid talking to people.

Examples of ‘Moving Towards’ Values

  • Being connected to Allah sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He)
  • Excellence
  • Gratitude
  • Happiness
  • Love
  • Freedom
  • Courage
  • Contribution
  • Health, energy, vitality
  • Modesty
  • Respect
  • Growth
  • Creativity

Examples of ‘Moving Away From’ Values

  • Rejection
  • Humiliation
  • Overwhelm
  • Disrespect
  • Regret
  • Resentment
  • Frustration

There are also rules for both your ‘moving towards’ and ‘moving away from’ values. Rules are what must or must not happen for us to experience our values.

Examples of Rules for ‘Moving Towards’ Values:

To experience a connection with Allah sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He), my personal rule is to put my right hand on my heart, close my eyes and take a deep breath; or it could be as simple as saying, ‘Alhamdulillah’.

Of course, we perform fard prayers and everything else, but what I am asking here is what is your rule for you to experience the emotional feeling of being connected to your Creator?

Compare the above rule with this one:
For me to experience connection with Allah sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He), I have to pray all five fard prayers on time, with all the sunnah and nawafil prayers, all in complete khushu’, and I have to read five juz’ of Qur’an with perfect tajweed. That is going to be quite challenging for you to achieve on a daily basis to get your spiritual connection with Allah sub?anahu wa ta'ala (glorified and exalted be He)! Keep it simple.

Examples of Rules For ‘Moving Away From’ Values:

For me to experience rejection, people have to chase after me and throw shoes at me, while screaming with red angry faces, “NO!!!! No!!!!! We said NO!!!!! GET LOST!!!

Compare this to my old rule for experiencing rejection:
I used to experience rejection when people do not pay attention to what I was saying or look at me sideways. What are the chances of that happening if I am talking to a roomful of people? Probably even before I start talking!

The point here is to make it as easy as possible for you to experience ‘moving towards’ values and make it nearly impossible to experience your ‘moving away from’ values.

Real Values vs. Aspiring Values

Real values are what make you happy and congruent. Aspiring values are what you think you should be feeling, would look good, are what other people expect of you, and are usually set by your social environment. We took on the latter values because we never really consciously thought about them and ended up being stuck with them.

To identify your current real, operational values, rather than the ones you want to impress others with, look at your results. Think about the way you have been living your life for the past few weeks and months. What were the tangible results?

If you said contribution is important to you, how many hours have you spent during the past two weeks doing things for people you care about, sharing, donating your time and money to charities, volunteering at different organisations or mentoring people? If the answer is a big fat zero, then it is your aspiring value, something that sounds nice but you do not really care about or have not consciously decided yet to incorporate it into your life. You are not living your value.

The same goes for other values such as connection with your Creator, health, vitality, love, growth and gratefulness. How much time did you spend last week reading His book, talking to Him, exercising, eating healthy, spending time with family, learning something new or doing something that is outside your comfort zone, journalling or reflecting on His blessings?

At this stage, we are mainly concerned about awareness, because values exercises can take hours. In the meantime, just be aware that if you are in pain and feeling guilty about not taking certain actions, then they might not be important to you and you need to be okay with that. What are the values that are imposed on you? Often, society and friends dictate the things we should want or the career or profession we should pursue.

Once you have established that awareness, you can start to consciously decide on what is important to you and consciously find ways of living those values.

To sum up, we have learned what self-sabotage is and saw how value conflicts lead to self-sabotage. In the next article, we will look at different behaviour styles, another main cause of self-sabotage, and move on to practical strategies that will help you overcome self-sabotage, In sha Allah.

Now that you’ve gained a better understanding of self-sabotage, are you able to identify how it manifests itself in different areas of your life? Can you think of a situation where you did not achieve your goal due to self-sabotage? Which subtype of value conflicts do you need to work on the most? Please share your thoughts and experiences below!


Resources
The Value of Values (Almost complete value elicitation process)
http://www.cleanlanguage.co.uk/articles/articles/289/1/The-Value-of-Values-elicitation-with-NLP/Page1.html
Awaken the Giant Within
Steve Jobs – Difference between those who fail and those who succeed
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FbOwTlHlQAs
Steve Jobs Talks About His Biggest Secret To Success
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jk3JC4bKao
Brené Brown – Why Your Critics Aren’t The Ones Who Count
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8-JXOnFOXQk
(Will Smith on success, talent and skill)
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikHyDwyqdRM

About the Author:

Thurein Win holds a Bachelor of Commerce specialising in Accounting and is a personal leadership and success coach, an NLP Master practitioner and an accredited Consultant and Trainer of Extended DISC (Behaviour Profiling).
His vision is to empower Muslim organisations and professionals with cutting edge behaviour change technologies to serve the greater good of humanity. He is passionate about personal leadership, early childhood education and holistic health and healing. He is also working with communities in developing leadership programs for Muslim and non Muslim youths. He can be contacted via his website and Facebook. His latest endeavour is an online support community for productivity-focused Muslims who want to connect, share ideas and support one another on their journey of learning and growing.

 

The Attitude of Gratitude – a Productive Muslim’s Approach to Life

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Become an active member of the ProductiveMuslim community and enrich it with your thoughts.Leave a comment on this article and with it, your presence. We look forward to reading your comments.

 

The Attitude of Gratitude - a Productive Muslim's Approach to Life | Productive Muslim

Photo by ccarlstead: flickr[dot]com/photos/cristic/

She opens her wardrobe. Two dozen dresses of red, yellow, orange, pink and you-name-it colours are hanging in there. After a cursory glance, she bangs the door shut. 
“Mom, I have nothing to wear for the party. I’ve been begging you to take me shopping since ages. You never listen to me. What do I do now?”

He is rummaging the fridge for the fourth time. Pizza, chocolate, ice-cream, fruits and juices are stuffed inside. He leaves the kitchen despondently. “There’s really nothing much to eat in here. Let’s go to the café for and have some decent food today.”
She wakes up with the same feelings of depression and dread. Thoughts of suicide are again floating in her mind. She is married to a handsome man, with two lovely kids, a home, and a car, everything most women would ask for. Apparently, life is perfect but there is “something” missing. It is just because she is not married to the man of her dreams.
He thinks his life sucks. He is 17. He has an iPhone, Core i7 Dell, $1,000 monthly pocket money but according to him, his life sucks. Unable to focus on his textbook, he slams it shut and starts pacing in the room as he thinks out aloud. 
“If my friend can own a Jaguar, why can’t I? Everything sucks.”
Do any of these scenarios sound familiar?

The Effect of Gratitude on Productivity

As we grow up, we get tuned to be ungrateful and not to see the blessings in our life. We focus all our energy and attention towards finding out what we lack. This is really ironic because the more we focus on scarcity, the more we tend to attract it.
You tend to get what you focus on. Being ungrateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) adversely affects our productivity as the mind – which is in a negative state – can hardly contemplate the productivity in life. It goes without saying that a mind that is always looking for shortcomings is not the best tool for a productive lifestyle – be it spiritually, physically, socially, or emotionally.

Western Research vs. 1,400-Year-Old Message

Research has shown that through our thoughts and emotions, we emit powerful signals; these signals have the ability to attract signals of the same frequency. In other words, our positive signals will attract all other positive signals and same goes true for negative signals.
Whenever we are being ungrateful, we are in the negative state of mind and allowing the self-defeating thoughts to emit all sorts of negative energy from us. These can include thoughts such as “I never seem to have enough of money”, “I can never be healthy”, or “I can never find a practicing husband”. This will lead us to attract more negative energy.
Ultimately, we will end up becoming a black hole of despair and getting what we do not want. All the worries, arguments and frustration lead to more of the same. Considering all this, if we want to attract more signals of what we desire to experience, for example, peace, joy, harmony, ease, prosperity, etc., then why not choose our thoughts consciously and carefully? The more you focus on what you have in life, the more you will attract it. In other words, the more grateful you become, the more Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will bless you.
Today, non-Muslim researchers have discovered these secrets in the name of “natural laws”, while these “open secrets” were given to us in the Qur’an 1,400 years ago.
Psychologists and philosophers have painstakingly conducted researches and have come up with new theories and ideas. This so-called newly discovered information was presented to us in the Qur’an in no uncertain terms. Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) promises that the grateful will be given more:
“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.” [Qur'an: Chapter 14, Verse 7]
Robert A. Emmons from the University of California Davis and Micheal E McCullogh 
from the University of Miami conducted a long-term research project designed to study the effects of gratitude. Here are some of their findings:
  • In an experimental comparison, those who kept gratitude journals on a weekly basis, exercised more regularly, reported fewer physical symptoms, felt better about their lives as a whole and were more optimistic about the upcoming week compared with those who recorded hassles or neutral life events.
  • Participants who kept gratitude lists were more likely to have made progress towards important personal goals over a two-month period compared with subjects in the other experimental conditions.
  • Grateful people reported higher levels of positive emotions, life satisfaction, vitality, optimism and lower levels of depression and stress.
This is a readymade formula for attracting more of what you want in life.
Why is gratitude such a key ingredient in a successful life? Does it make sense now?
Gratitude helps us make the shift. Consequently, we are able to attract more good, more love, more joy, more money, as well as better health and blissful relationships in your life. Gratitude is one of the easiest and most frequently used methods to alter the signals one is emitting. What we need to master is the attitude of gratitude – the attitude of appreciating everything in life.

Surah al-Fatihah: A Pillar’s Pillar

It is well known that prayer, one of the pillars of Islam, is incomplete without Surah al-Fatihah. It begins with expressing our gratitude to our Lord for the countless blessings He has showered upon us. Have you ever noticed that many duas taught by the Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) also start with the same expression of gratitude, “Alhamdulillah”?
The day starts with the morning supplication, “Alhamdulillahilladhi ahyana…” (All praise and thanks be to the One who gave us life…). What is the significance of this? Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) wants you to start your day in His remembrance. This can put us in a super charged state, attracting ample happiness and abundance in life.

The Practice of the Companions

Ibn Mas’ud raḍyAllāhu 'anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “He who (on befalling a calamity) slaps his cheeks, tears his clothes and follows the ways and traditions of the Days of Ignorance is none of us.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
It is reported that some of the Companions of the Holy Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) were grateful for the calamities that they faced and presented their gratitude to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for not letting something worse befell them. Now that is the attitude of gratitude!

Benefits of Gratitude

Gratitude and Focus
Gratitude is one of the quickest ways to regain our focus. When we are stuck, it means we are giving too much attention to something that does not really deserve our attention. Most so-called problems are usually mundane preoccupations and mental obsessions. We focus so much on one area to the exclusion of everything else that we create and then magnify our problems. Guess what? When we focus so much on what is not working, we cannot even access the part of our brain that provides us solutions. Surprised?
When something is not working, focus on what is working and say, “Alhamdulillahi Rabbil ‘Aalameen” (All praise to the Lord of the Universe) aloud. What do you think you are doing by saying this? It reminds us of the power of the Creator subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) and reminds us to be thankful for all the good things that is happening without our knowledge. You are freeing your mind from those thoughts that bog you down and you are reinforcing strong positive beliefs that even if some areas are not working in life, others definitely are. In this way, you are able to think in a quicker and better way to resolve what is not working in life. Try it out yourself.
A Miraculous Phenomenon
Being grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) does wonders. When you acknowledge His Hand in your life, miracles happen. You may be in the middle of a problem and not have the least bit of knowledge about what would happen next, then suddenly the solution will dawn upon you. It is like when someone would return you an old loan that you completely forgot about, when you are in dire need of money; or when you are thinking about your loved ones and they give you a call right then. And when something you are longing to happen, finally happens.
Appreciate the Small to get Big
We usually ignore many things that are readily available to us; they are incredible reasons to be grateful. Our family, friends, body, health, job, leisure time, education, food, wisdom, smiles, children and even the painful lessons that life teaches us (and the list goes on) are tremendous blessings to be grateful for. If you do not have the same feeling, just close your eyes and imagine one of these blessings vanishing from your life. Take a break from reading this and do it, seriously. How does that feel? This is exactly why you need to be thankful every moment, each day.
“And if you should count the favor of Allah, you could not enumerate them. Indeed, mankind is [generally] most unjust and ungrateful.” [Qu'ran: Chapter 14, Verse 34]

Steps to Being More Grateful

It is a pity that since childhood we are tuned to have lust for more and never to be satisfied with what we already have. This is why being grateful to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) for what He has already blessed us with is sometimes very challenging for us. All of us need a bit of fine tuning, so below are some tools I am sharing with you so you can show your gratitude to Him and let the blessings unfold.
  1. Make a list of 20 things that you appreciate: Write “Alhamdulillah” in front of every blessing. Make a list of the things you feel good about and why you are grateful for that thing, situation or person in your life. How did you feel doing this? Here is the good news: You have just increased your positivity and now you are able to attract more happiness, abundance and prosperity in your life.
  2. Appreciate the little things too: Start looking for everything you can be grateful for in life and start talking about it all the time, no matter how insignificant it is. If you find a Dollar from your old shirt’s pocket, celebrate. Go around and tell everyone how grateful you are for that. That is how you are tuning your mind to show gratitude for tiniest blessing in your life.
  3. Share the gratitude: At least once a day, share a gratitude status on Facebook or whatever social media you use and ask others what they are grateful for. In sha Allah, you will get blessings for your shukr and theirs too.
  4. Sense the gratitude: Standing in front of the mirror, focus on your eyes that can see, ears that can hear, a nose that can smell, rather than just measuring the size and diameter of that small pimple.
  5. Learn positivity: Try to seek the positive out of every negative. List at least three good lessons from every painful experience and be grateful that life threw that situation at you so that you could learn. And then, move on.
In a nutshell, developing the attitude of gratitude to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) will do wonders to your life. Identify those wonders and be grateful for them so you can have more.
Do share with us a list of some blessings in your life that you are grateful for. We would like to hear from you in the comments section below.

About the Author:

Bela is the founder and Chief Inspirational officer at Muslim Women Empowerment. She is a life coach, speaker and a student of Qur’an. She helps women to overcome their obstacles and make a difference in their lives and the world. She can be reached at www.belakhan.com orwww.facebook.com/muslimwomenempowerment

 

Divine Assistance in alleviating Debts

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Sayyiduna Abu Umamah Radhiyallahu Anhu was once sitting in the Musjid very perturbed and worried when Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam noticed him in that condition. Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam enquired the cause of his worry. Abu Umamah replied: “Worry and anxiety of debt has overcome me.”

Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam said to him: “Should I not teach you a few special words which if you recite in the morning and evening, Allah will remove your worries and will settle your debts?” Abu Amamah replied: “Yes indeed O Prophet of Allah!” Rasulullah Sallallaahu Alayhi Wa Sallam thereafter taught him the following Dua to be recited every morning and evening:

اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْهَمِّ وَالْحُزْنِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْعَجْزِ وَالْكَسَلِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْجُبْنِ وَالْبُخْلِ، وَأَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنْ غَلَبَةِ الدَّيْنِ وَقَهْرِ الرِّجَالِ

Transliteration: Allahumma Innie A’uzu Bika minal Hammi Wal Huzn, wa A’uzu Bika Minal Ajzi wal Kasal, Wa A’uzu Bika minal Jubni wal Bukhl, wa A’uzu Bika min Ghalabatid Dayni wa Qahrir Rijaal.

Translation: O Allah, I seek your protection from worry and grief, and I seek your protection from being incapacitated and laziness, and I seek your protection from cowardice and miserliness, and I seek your protection from overwhelming debts and the oppression of men.

Sayyiduna Abu Umamah says: “I practiced on this advice and Allah removed my worries and settled my debts.” (Abu Dawood, Hadith #: 1555, Narrated by Abu Sa’eed)

Engaging in excessive Istighfaar and seeking Allah’s forgiveness are also very effective in drawing Allah’s help for the alleviation of financial difficulties. It is recorded in the Hadith that Allah will remove all difficulties and hardships from the one who frequently and continuously asks Allah for forgiveness and Allah will bless him with wealth from avenues that he cannot even fathom. (Abu Dawood, Hadith #: 1518, Narrated by Ibn Abbaas)

   

Will I Be Forgiven?

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Will I Be Forgiven?

Understand Quran AcademyArticles > Will I Be Forgiven?
inspirationthemercyofallah
How do you deal with your sins? Do you take them lightly, or do they make you feel heavy and very, very guilty?
Let’s learn about real tawbah and get motivated to turn to Him again, and again, and again inshaa Allah!
In this week’s central ayah Allah At-Tawwaab makes a beautiful promise: . . . Except for those who repent, believe, and do righteous work. For them Allah will replace their evil deeds with good. And ever is Allah Forgiving and Merciful [Quran, 25:70]

Beautiful Tawbah

“Do tawbah!” he shouted at his son.
Tawbah often is simply translated as “repentance,” but it has a much deeper meaning and literally means “to return to” or “to retreat.” Tawbah doesn’t mean you despise yourself! Every sin is a chance and signal that you can grow closer to Allah ‘azza wa jall! Tawbah is one of the most beloved acts of worship.

Two Ways of Shaytan

Shaytan tries to prevent you from turning to Allah in two ways: He sometimes makes you not care about tawbah at all by tricking you into thinking too lightly of your sins. At other times he tries to make you feel unhealthily guilty by telling you that your sins are just too big or too often repeated and that you should feel ashamed to turn to Allah. In this way he makes you start despising yourself, doubting Allah’s love for you, and sometimes even giving up on doing tawbah and getting even more involved in sins because you are losing hope. Shaytan’s mission accomplished! Now, what should you do?

6 Practical Tips on Tawbah

1. Don’t put limits on the mercy of Allah.

If you think that your sins are too great or too many for the forgiveness of Allah, you are subconsciously limiting the mercy of Allah to human standards. Allah is At-Tawwaab, the Oft-Returning, to those who turn to Him. The question is not will He forgive me; the question is, will you turn to Him? So don’t let guilt keep you away from turning to Him with heart and soul after you sin. Focus on His greatness instead of on your sin, and move on!

2. Thank Him and know His promises!

If Allah enabled you to feel you want to do tawbah, thank Him because it is a blessing from Him to you. Allah ‘azza wa jall says: Say: ‘O ‘Ibaadi (My slaves) who have transgressed against themselves (by committing evil deeds and sins)! Despair not of the Mercy of Allaah, verily, Allaah forgives all sins. Truly, He is Oft‑Forgiving, Most Merciful. [Quran, 39:53] Read the Quran, so you can learn about His promises, as He does not break His promises. And His promises will motivate you in never despairing and will increase your love for Him!

3. Follow up a bad deed with a good deed straight away.

Let’s say you just shouted at your spouse, or even gossiped. Make it a habit to turn to Allah straight away (however “fake” that might feel to yourself at first) and for example say instantly ‘astaghfirullaah wa atuboo ilayk’ ( I seek forgiveness from Allah and I turn to You). Then do a good deed straight after. The Prophetsalallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said . . . and follow up a bad deed with a good deed which will wipe it out . . . (At-Tirmidhee) So when you sin, for example, just open the Quran and read even one ayah– plus you get ten hasanaat per letter— or (go online) and give sadaqah straight away!

4. Be encouraged to turn to Him again and again.

Even if you repent sincerely and say you will never do it again but fall into the same sin the next day, you should still turn to Allah again and ask for forgiveness again and be determined again not to do it after. This does not mean you use the fact that Allah accepts repentance as an excuse to sin; it means the sinner is encouraged to do tawbah again and again and again and to never stop turning to Allah! The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: The one who repents from sin is like the one who did not commit sin [Ibn Maajah]

5. Try to compare your misdeeds to His blessings.

How to make your heart repent? Try to think about all those sins you committed from puberty until now, like the sins of your body (like lying, gossiping) and the sins of your heart (like envy, arrogance). Also neglecting your duties (like disobeying your parents) as well as neglecting your acts of worship (like delaying your prayer). Now try to count the blessings of Allah regardless of all your misdeeds and you will realize what a beautiful Lord you have! Inshaa Allah this will open your heart to tawbah nasooha (sincere tawbah)!

6. Pray the tawbah prayer.

The Prophet said: Whenever one commits a sin, and then performs ablution perfectly, and prays two rakah wherein he seeks the forgiveness of Allah He will forgive him. [Ahmad] What a treasure! When you sin, try to pray these two units of prayer (salat ul tawbah) straight away or at least as soon as you can and don’t let Shaytan tell you differently!
Homework:
1. Take comfort, be motivated by, and share this hadith with others to inspire them to tawbah: The Prophet salallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said: Allah the Almighty has said: ‘O son of Adam, so long as you call upon Me, and hope in Me, I shall forgive you for what you have done, and I shall not mind. O son of Adam, were your sins to reach the clouds in the sky and were you then to ask forgiveness of Me, I shall forgive you. O son of Adam, were you to come to Me with an earthful of sins and were you then to face Me, without having associated anything with Me, I shall grant you an earthful of pardon.’ [At-Tirmidhee]

2. Memorize the dua after wudhu:

اللَّهُمَّ اجْعَلْنِي مِنَ التَّوَّابِينَ وَاجْعَلْنِي مِنَ الْمُتَطَهِّرِينَ

O Allah, make me among those who turn to You in repentance, and make me among those who are purified.[An-Nasaa’i] Put it on a sticky note on the wall where you dowudhu so you don’t forget, inshaa Allah!
So whenever you sin, remember the formula of success mentioned in the central ayahRepent, believe in Allah, and His Mercy, and do good deeds and Allah ‘azza wa jall will not only forgive you, but even replace your bad deeds with good deeds. Laa ilaaha illAllah!
May Allah make us of those who turn to Him sincerely again, again, and again. Ameen.
Praying you will benefit,
Khawlah bint Yahya – United Kingdom
THE AYAH JOURNAL is dedicated to inspiring you to open the Quran every day, pick one ayah, and apply it to your own life by making acting on that ayah your mission for the day. Let’s bring back the message of the Quran to our daily lives! Check www.facebook.com/ayahjournal for examples.
 

How To “Never Miss Fajr”

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How To “Never Miss Fajr”

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Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar … I opened my eyes. I saw nothing but darkness. Stillness and silence engulfed my room. I heard the faint Arabic words from the adhan clock situated in the upstairs landing. I smiled. ‘Alhamdulillah, I am awake for Fajr!‘

The next thing I remember thinking was: ‘My bed is so warm. I am just going to stay under the duvet for a minute, listening to the rest of the beautiful call to prayer…’

All of a sudden, my thoughts were interrupted by the whimpering of the baby in the cot. When I opened my eyes, my room was bright, full of the morning rays of light. I looked at my dainty pink clock. It was 8 a.m. What a disappointment, I missed my Fajr prayer again!

 

Finding Gold

Whether it is a busy day or a weekend, missing Fajr prayer leaves you with a feeling of guilt that burdens your heart all day long. Alhamdulillah, though, I discovered an app a week ago called ‘Never Miss Fajr’.

The app is absolutely free to download both on the iPhone and Android. This ingenious app has been well-designed. Not only does it not have a snooze button for those who have outsmarted their alarm clocks, but the adhan also plays continuously until you make it stop. In addition, you cannot turn down your volume button or exit the app. Quite simply, you have to do as instructed on the screen.

Customising the App’s Settings

 

[App Review] How To “Never Miss Fajr” | Productive Muslim

 

I was excited to try out the app as soon as I downloaded it. I configured my prayer time calculation in the settings tab to ‘Muslim World League’, though there are other options, including Egypt, the US and Pakistan.

There are two wake-up alarm types to choose from — the ‘Shake to Wake’ and the ‘Trivia Islamic’. I decided to select the ‘Shake to Wake’ option to begin with. I set my settings to 20 shakes (though you can go as high as 100 shakes) and the soothing call to prayer I remember from the adhan in Makkah. There are 7 options to choose from. This is a good feature as you can change your settings when you get used to hearing a certain adhan in the morning.

A Morning Workout — Physical or Mental

 

When it was time for Fajr, I heard the adhan on my phone. It was very loud, indeed! I became conscious of the baby stirring, so I started shaking my phone to stop the adhan from going off a second time. Alhamdulillah, this time I was up for Fajr and I was thrilled!

I thought to myself ‘So far so good’. The next night, I changed my trigger option to answering 5 trivia questions about Islam. Only if I answer the 5 questions correctly, will I be able to turn off the adhan and by then, I hope I will be fully awake to pray Fajr.

When it was time for Fajr, the adhan played, prompting me to look at my dark screen. Posed with a question about an ayah in Surah Bayinnah, I had 4 options to choose from. I knew the answers to some of the questions, but had to guess the others using a process of elimination as I was feeling quite groggy so early in the morning.

I had expected the questions to be quite easy, but they were not. I was made to think and awaken my senses to answer the questions. There was no way of ignoring the questions once the adhan started. When I answered incorrectly, I was immediately presented with another question straight away! I had to complete 5 out of 5! I was up for Fajr again.

[App Review] How To “Never Miss Fajr” | Productive Muslim

 

Just Some Quibbles

 

One of the downsides I noticed is that one cannot exit the app by clicking on the back button, as you normally would with other apps. Also, it would have been more comfortable if the app had its own volume setting because currently, I adjust the volume on my phone instead.

In addition, the adhan does not play aloud for any other prayers. This is something that I personally like; however, it might be a disadvantage for other users.

Nevertheless, I am confident that the team behind this idea will continue developing and modifying this unique app to meet the needs of the users.

Keeping Up With Fajr Prayer and Reaping Morning Barakah

 

Alhamdulillah for the past week, I have found this app to be very useful. It is a unique app, focusing solely on helping Muslims wake up for Fajr prayer.

This app has not only helped me achieve my goal of waking up for Fajr, it has also helped me become a more productive Muslimah. By starting my day at Fajr, the rest of my day becomes much more productive. I use the time after Fajr to either read Qur’an or plan out my busy day ahead.

There is a unique kind of barakah in the early morning.

“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Qur’an of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” [Qur’an: Chapter 17, Verse 78]

 

 

   

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