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4 Ways to Stay Motivated and Spiritually Connected to Your Faith in a Rapidly Changing World

by in Lifestyle on 1st December, 2022

Our lives are changing and becoming more digitised every day, with new ideas and innovations emerging at a much faster pace than ever before. While this advancement of technology is exciting, keeping up with it as well as understanding the effects of these changes on our mental and spiritual health can be challenging. At times, this constant change can be overwhelming, evoking anxiety. From personal to professional challenges and everything in between, staying motivated and spiritually connected can be a struggle, particularly in a world of instant-gratification and swift dopamine release. However, it is possible to cultivate attributes which help us stay connected to our deen such as: discipline, willpower and routine. 

Here are some tips to help us stay spiritually motivated in our rapidly changing world

1. Focus on the things you can change

In a world with a wealth of information available and access to people’s lives, it becomes easy to fall into the trap of comparison, which often leaves us feeling inadequate. We get caught up in the material things of this world, forgetting about what matters – our akhirah – and focusing on matters outside of our control. We worry about where we “need” to be and the things we “need” to have.  

Recently, I noticed I’d fallen short of the habits I developed during the lockdown two years ago. I found myself caught up in comparison, particularly when I spent more time than necessary on social media. I became overwhelmed and anxious about never living up to societal expectations. This left me feeling constantly exhausted, so I decided to take back the reins of my life. 

What matters first and foremost is pleasing Allah, and in order to return to a place of spiritual connection, I recreated a list of some of the actions which helped me focus on my relationship with Allah:  gratitude, remembrance of Allah and increasing my focus during salah. 

When I reflect on Allah’s blessings in my life, I feel more motivated to keep up my salah. A heart overflowing with gratitude naturally wants to express thanks to the One who blessed it. By reaching to salah as the avenue for gratitude, my stress levels decrease as I am reminded of what matters. I leave my prayer mat with increased energy levels ready to tackle the situations in my control.The constant remembrance of Allah through dhikr improves my concentration and focus, and quells my anxiety. Dhikr also gives me a sense of inner peace and wellbeing. 

“Indeed, mankind was created anxious: When evil touches him, [he is] impatient; and when good touches him, withholding [of it] except the observers of prayer—Those who are constant in their prayer.” (Qur’an 70:19-23)

One of the meanings of the verses above is regarding our human nature to worry about everything. During times of adversity, we often fail to notice positive moments and other blessings in our lives. It becomes easy to despair and lose hope. But Allah highlights that this is not the case for those who are constant in their prayer. 

Praying our salah regularly is an action we have control over as well as our means to communicate with Allah. Salah also draws our focus back to what matters, and offers us the opportunity to leave our worries in the Hands of the One who can take care of them. The Prophet advised us to make dua after every salah, a means to seek guidance from Allah and trust that He will make a way. In addition to this, constantly seeking forgiveness is another means of focusing on the actions we can control. There are several benefits to seeking forgiveness from Allah, including relief, increased sustenance and peace of mind. 

The more we focus on the things we can change, the more energy we have to tackle what matters, and to engage in acts of worship with motivation and focus. There will be many things outside of our control, but when we leave that with Allah, we become less overwhelmed and anxious. 

2. Nurture your passions

Passion is a key component of Islam. Islam teaches us that the heart is the centre of human existence and that on top of fulfilling Allah’s obligations, Allah also wants us to strive for excellence in our faith and in our lives. Living a life of Ihsan includes striving to find the balance in all we do: in our work, relationships, health, spirituality, rest and play. 

In an oft-quoted hadith, Abdullah ibn ‘Amr narrated that the Prophet said to him, “O `Abdullah! I have been informed that you fast all day and stand in prayer all night?” I said, “Yes, O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)!” He said, “Do not do that! Observe the fast sometimes and also leave them (the fast) at other times; stand up for the prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you and your wife has a right over you.”  (Bukhari)

So, as much as we work and strive for the best in everything we do, we should also seek out and engage in activities which bring us joy and contentment, as it will give us the much needed fuel to take the tough times. 

Though it is not necessary that what passion we pursue should be for the sake of benefiting others, having that intention brings about the added benefits of empowerment, and might also serve as a form of motivation. 

There are several ways to figure out what you’re passionate about, and an approach would be to make a list of the things you’ve loved and streamline it to activities you’ve enjoyed taking part in. Once you’ve identified or chosen an activity, commit to nurturing and developing it. If you’re unsure where to start, Amaliah’s Hustle and Hobbies series might be a good place for inspiration. 

My passion for writing stemmed from my desire to learn, research and document my learnings. With this, I write articles which allow me to pursue topics of interest and discover new findings. I also read widely, which gives me room to cite from a plethora of resources, in the hope of benefiting others. Other writers like Tasneem Abdur Rashid and Na’ima B Robert have written stories that entertain, resonate, and pass on their messages to their readers. With writing they pursue a passion (or purpose) they love while serving people with it too. Layinka Sanni, a self-transformation expert, is passionate about empowering women to become the best version of themselves, and she has created several avenues to achieve this. Safura Houghon, with her passion for mental health, co-founded The Lantern Initiative, an organisation which raises awareness on mental health issues in the Muslim community through education and empowerment. 

If you are struggling to stay connected with your passions, it can help to talk to someone about it in order to help you get re-inspired. You can also sign up for classes or find a community of people pursuing similar passions to rejuvenate you, or simply for comrades on the journey. And never be afraid to seek out new passions and try new things. 

There are several ways to discover your passion and to serve others while doing so. Whatever passion you decide to follow, strive to tie your intention to seeking the pleasure of Allah as ‘actions are judged by intentions.’ (An-Nawawi)

3. Rest, Recharge and Reflect

When we get caught up in the constant hustle and bustle of daily life, we run the risk of burnout. Clear thinking and good decision making also becomes difficult when we’re tired and overwhelmed. Remembering Allah and the blessings He bestowed upon us becomes an almost impossible feat. 

However, in Islam we are taught that balance is essential to living a sustainable life. Creating and committing to long-term meaningful goals which tackle the various areas of our lives can be beneficial in finding balance. Setting aside some time each day to rest, recharge and take stock of our lives goes a long way. It allows us to be more productive, and fills us with the energy we need to take on our responsibilities. Reflecting on our days/weeks/months can help us remain motivated and inspired to try new things. 

4. Learn something new everyday

Regularly seeking knowledge is an essential aspect of our faith. As Muslims, we remain students for life. Through learning, we mature as individuals and strive towards becoming better versions of ourselves. To live an intentional life of Ihsan (excellence), we can commit to learning something new everyday. We can also take it a step further by teaching what we learn to those around us. This can improve the quality of our lives and equip us with the skills and abilities needed to tackle new situations. 

A daily commitment to learning something new will also help us stay motivated and look forward to the day. It keeps our brain active, which can be beneficial in a variety of ways. 

Many of us are finding it difficult to maintain our faith in light of the many major changes in our world today. Maintaining our purpose and remaining spiritually connected amid rapid change requires a lot of mental strength as well as specific attributes. Though technology has made it easier to become distracted, it is possible to stay motivated and develop our connection with Allah. And when we fall short, we can always call on Allah for help and guidance to remain steadfast on focusing on what matters. 

Amina G

Amina G

Amina is a a poet and author who frequently writes on the topics of faith and motherhood. She is a convert to Islam and author of the book 'Prose of the Travelling Soul' which recounts her journey to Islam.