What drives someone to complete a task, when all around us the world seems to be moving at an increasingly faster pace? In this life, we can easily lose motivation and say it’s too difficult, that we have too many things to do, that we need to just finish this work, this cooking, this game... It’s time to take a deep breath, to take a step back and to take a look at our inner drive for the sake of worshipping Allah alone.
What are some of the issues that can lead us to failure and what can we do to better ourselves and bring peace to our souls? It was narrated from Abu Hurayrah, may Allah be pleased with him, that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said;
“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are few” (Sunan Ibn Majah, 4240).
Subhanallah, the beauty and wisdom in the final Prophet’s words are as pertinent now as they were when they were uttered over 1400 years ago. For he (peace be upon him) was the most knowledgeable of all mankind and he knew that his ummah would find worshipping Allah difficult, if it weren’t for the ease that Allah Himself has given us. The learning of undertaking a small task, however small, will gradually build up love for the task, and lead us to another good deed, and another.
In a hadith Qudsi, Narrated on the authority of Abu Dhar, Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) said that Allah said:
“He who comes with a good deed, its reward will be ten like that or even more. And he who comes with vice, his reward will be only one like that, or I can forgive him. He who draws close to Me a hand's span, I will draw close to him an arm's length. And whoever draws near Me an arm's length, I will draw near him a fathom's length. And whoever comes to Me walking, I will go to him running. And whoever faces Me with sins nearly as great as the earth, I will meet him with forgiveness nearly as great as that, provided he does not worship something with me” (reported by Muslim).
So what issues do we face in this duniyah?
Allah says in the Qur’an:
“Do they not see that they are tried once or twice in every year, yet they do not turn (to Allah) nor do they mind.” (Surah at-Tawbah, v.126)
Some of us may have financial difficulties, living paycheque to paycheque. It may be that we have family issues, where we may have difficulties dealing with those meant to be closest to us. Or health issues which are now long term and are affecting us. The nature of life as a test is continuous, and we must reflect upon the verse above and realise that we will all face trials, regularly, and it the steadfastness of the heart that will guide us through the regular challenges
So what can we do to motivate ourselves, starting today?
Start by making a positive intention, to remember Allah for our own selves. The Prophet (peace be upon him) used to seek refuge in Allah, from laziness and he used to mention it daily in this supplication:
“O Allah, I take refuge in You from anxiety and sorrow, weakness and laziness, miserliness and cowardice, the burden of debts and from being overpowered by men" (reported in Sahih Al-Bukhari).
A huge part of the Prophet’s athkaar was to seek forgiveness. He was the chosen One, the best of mankind, yet he asked Allah’s forgiveness so many times a day. Narrated Abu Hurayrah; I heard Allah's Messenger saying:
"By Allah! I ask for forgiveness from Allah and turn to Him in repentance more than seventy times a day" (reported in Sahih al-Bukhari, 6307).
If you find yourself de-motivated, read a verse of the Qur’an. Try to make it a daily habit. Try and contemplate upon the meanings and you will find your soul more at peace as it connects back to Allah.
"...And you see the earth barren, but when We send down upon it rain, it quivers and swells and grows [something] of every beautiful kind” (Surah Al-Hajj, v.5).
Just as Allah has sent the rain to bring life back to the soil and vegetation, He sent the Qur’an down to bring life back to our hearts. Make dua using Allah’s names when you have a specific need. Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“Call upon Allah with certainty that he will answer you. Know that Allah will not answer the supplication of a heart that is negligent and distracted” (reported in Sunan al-Tirmidhi, 3479).
Remember those who are in similar circumstances and make dua for them. Abu Darda reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“No Muslim servant supplicates for his brother behind his back but that the angel says: And for you the same” (reported in Sahih Muslim, 2732).
And finally, keep positive over all of your affairs. Suhaib reported: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said:
“Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him” (reported in Sahih Muslim, 2999).
Don't become overburdened, but make your intention today to do something to brighten your soul, and remember
“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly, even if they are few.”