The past two years have forced many of us to overdo reflection as many of us spend more time at home. Taking time to pause and reflect is an Islamic practice that many of us neglect but is encouraged. Sometimes we think and worry too much about what could lie ahead, causing us to forget to absorb those good and bad moments that made us who we are today. Reflecting enables us to acknowledge and honour what we’ve been through, what we’ve learnt and how we can take those lessons forward. In that spirit, here are some pieces of advice I would like to share from my reflections:
Our beloved Prophet ﷺ advised to: “Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death” The Prophet named these five as Ghaneemah, because it’s easy to do actions when they are present. The true value of these five things isn’t recognized until they vanish.
In order to truly recognise Allah as the Exalted, and worship Him in accordance with this beautiful name, we first need to learn to make Allah a priority in our daily lives. This means our days should revolve around our prayers, not the other way round. When we pray we hand ourselves and our problems and responsibilities over to Him. The detachment from the chaos of this world is a divine discipline that allows us to maintain consistency and steadfastness.
Turning to Allah swt during hardship is something that we’re always taught to do. Something that I feel is easy to forget is remembering Allah swt when we’re going through ease. We should never underestimate the power of remembering, thanking Allah swt – saying Alhumdulliah. I like to think of Alhumdulliah as a life philosophy, to see life through a lens of being grateful for the good and bad. In all honestly, Alhumdulliah is a gift to us, allowing us to practice an Alhamdulilah perspective in everything we do.
Human beings do not thrive alone. Islam tells us this, it’s built on the foundation of community. Every one of us needs pillars of support – be that our family or our friends – people we can rely on in our times of difficulty and celebrate in our times of success. A key and essential concept in our faith is that of shura – which can be loosely translated as consultation – it teaches us the importance and value of seeking advice, of seeking feedback, and of surrounding ourselves with mentors. This allows us to keep learning, to stay hungry, to push us to seek those opportunities and to remove that self-doubt.
Be grounded in your beliefs. I always believe that part of my role here is to bring my belief system to the world – my values and principles. But really, I can only do that when I am rooted in those very values and principles. Believing in myself never means that I always know everything, believe me that is never the case – but rather trusting myself that I have the ability to do what I set out to do. Don’t underestimate the strength of this in a world that constantly questions and undermines your values.
Whatever work you do, whatever extra-curricular activities you do – nothing should take you away from your family. Always make time to strengthen the ties of kinship. Our lives become more meaningful when we connect with our loved ones. I am reminded of Ibn ‘Umar who said, “Whoever has taqwa of his Lord and maintains ties of kinship, his term of life will be prolonged, his wealth will be abundant, and his family will love him.” Remember each other in your prayers, because the most beautiful kind of love is that when you remember each other in their absence.
Raghad is the president of the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB) She is a member of the Advisory committee to the European Forum of Muslim Women (EFOMW). She specialises in topics concerning Muslim women and youth in the West. She contributes regularly with politicians and decision-makers to the discussion of islamophobia in the West and its effect on the Muslim community. She is a public speaker and has regularly speaks on her experience as a Muslim women leader on leadership and engagement.