50 sHADES OF fAITH

How times have changed. I long for the days in which movies brought out positive messages, the era in which movies of value were produced. Our society is in a state of moral collapse and we as people are facilitating it. I wonder how we evolved into a coarse, crude, profane society in which we watch and read nonsense, you can’t help but blame it on the "entertainment" that streams into our homes and our theatres.

I believe there is a fine line between good and bad. Our world has grown accustomed to the bad because we have lost our sense of what is good and bad. It saddens me that a lot of people have taken a great liking to horrendous movies like this.

However, this article is not meant to rant about the movie or the book, it is meant to provide an alternative as Muslims of how we can strengthen our faith in 50 ways. This list is not exhaustible, we have so many things we can do to reinforce our faith. Here are some of them: 

1. Assess your spiritual mindset and connection with Allah from day to day. Commit to those acts that make you feel closer to Him from and drop those that make you feel disconnected or distant from Him.

2. Engage in earnest and constant remembrance of Allah with your heart, lips, tongue and words. Learn some adhkaar (words of remembrance), especially the ones you should use regularly such as morning and evening remembrances. Memorise them in Arabic and also learn the meanings.

3. Lower your gaze 

4. Recite and memorise portions of the Qur’an daily with passion and reflection. Immerse your heart into the recitation and connect with the meanings. Harmonise the flow of your memorisation with good recitation and reflect over the meanings.

5. Visit the hospital and thank Allah for all that he has given you

6. Abstain from lying and cheating. 

7. Call up and visit your relatives (It is a great deed to connect the ties of kinship).

8. Become a social entrepreneur. Create social value and impact by finding solutions to social problems in your community or other communities in need, using an entrepreneurship model. For example, providing clean water, housing solutions and medical supplies etc. “Whoever removes a worldly grief from a believer, Allah will remove from him one of the griefs of the Day of Resurrection… And Allah will aid His slave so long as he aids his brother.”(NAWAWI)

9. Start a charity drive to collect items of great need in your community (it could be food supplies, household items, clothing etc.). Also remember to give charity everyday even if with dates, water, fruits or milk. Give to those you know and those you do not.

10. Compliment someone sincerely

11. Forgive people that wrong you

12. Evaluate yourself every day. Make time to self-reflect and assess your daily activities, from intention, to commitment and practice. Is your heart getting closer to Allah or more distant?

13. Implore Allah in the early hours of the morning and at all other times when prayers are accepted such as the last third of the night, while prostrating, last hour of Friday and the final hour before breaking your fast. The Prophet said: “Du’a is worship.”

14. Shake someone's hand and ask about their health.

15. Give the gift of Qur’an and beneficial books by distributing them to colleagues, schools and da’wah groups. You can also donate to Qur’an publishing and educational projects.

16. Perform your five daily prayers on time and in congregation. Enter into your prayers in a state of submission and humility. “… Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [Qur’an: Chapter 4, Verse 103]

17. Say Salam to strangers 

18. Prioritise with your personal care and hygiene. Take care of your body and keep your living environment clean and tidy. Remember that cleanliness is part of faith.

19. Read Suratul Kahf on Friday.

20. Spend some time watching beneficial television programmes such as those on Islam channel, Huda TV or even to lectures on YouTube. They should be programmes that will boost your faith and spur you into action, rather just something to do just to pass time.

21. Wake up in the middle of the night when everyone is sleeping, and cry, secretly making dua to Allah. 

22. Smile in another Muslims face

23. Counsel a fellow Muslim who is going through a difficult patch. Listen to his/her problems without being judgmental. Try to connect her/him to Allah and His glad tidings, as He is the One who responds to call of the distressed. Remember to protect your fellow Muslim’s privacy and secret.

24. Help to reconcile those in conflict or foster peace where it is lacking. It could be among friends, colleagues or family members. Take a neutral stand, listen to both sides objectively, and use wise words carefully to bring their hearts back together. 

25. Learn about the names of Allah and use them in your dua’s.

26. Visit the sick and elderly in your community, especially those without any family living close to them. Take gifts to them and give words of encouragement to put a smile on their face.

27. Try to pray Witr every night and be consistent with it.

28. Volunteer your time, knowledge and skills at the local masjid or madrassah. Be generous with what you have and open your hands wide. ‘‘If you offer up to God a goodly loan, He will amply repay you for it, and will forgive your sins: for God is ever responsive to gratitude, forbearing.’‘ [Qur’an: Chapter 64, Verse 17

29. Build new habits and crush bad ones

30. Shun vain talk

31. Dress Modestly, Remember the verse of the Quran that Prescribes the Hijab “{O Prophet! Tell thy wives and thy daughters and the women of the believers to draw their cloaks close round them [when they go abroad]. That will be better, that so they may be recognized and not annoyed. Allah is ever Forgiving, Merciful.}”

32. Forgive the debts of people.

33. Control your anger, and if someone starts a dispute. Leave with dignity.

34. Pay your zakat if it is due on your wealth. Nothing purifies wealth like zakat does.

35. Invest your wealth into an Islamic waqf (endowment).

36. Donate to the building or renovation of a masjid.

37. Try to go on Hajj (Pilgrimage to Mecca)

38. Teach your children how to be good Muslims and how to pray.

39. Striving to increase one’s knowledge whether it be religious or academic. Working towards becoming an informed and proactive citizen. According to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), “The seeking of knowledge is obligatory for every Muslim.”

40. Performing sincere repentance for one’s sins and seeking the mercy and forgiveness of God. Feeling guilty for transgressions that one has made, and then making an active effort to learn from one’s mistakes and never repeat them again. 

41. Be Grateful, look at those less privileged when making worldly comparisons with others: “When you see a person who has been given more than you in money and beauty, look to those who have been given less.”  (Prophet Muhammed)

42. Avoid harmful Music, Movies, TV, and meaningless chatter.

43. Don’t Beg. The prophet (SAW) once said that it was better for a man to take a rope and gather some wood on his back to sell than to go out begging for money.

44. Smiling, being kind, and staying positive when interacting with others. This leads to mercifulness and forgiveness, which are attributes which God loves in human beings.

45. When Life becomes tough, take solace in the verse that says "with hardship comes ease."

46. Fulfilling obligatory duties and abstaining from prohibited matters

47. Avoid bad company. We should avoid taking as friends those who speak too freely, who miss Salah, who do not dress modestly, who backbite, slander etc.

48. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “And no one humbles himself before Allaah but Allaah will raise him (in status).”

49. Make dua (Prayer) for forgotten friends, families (and the author of this list)

50. Remember specific blessings Allah has bestowed upon you and say Alhamdulillah

Finally as the righteous say, "The love of Allah is the axis around which all good revolves." If you fall in love with Allah, then you'll find nothing but increasing light and contentment in your life. And Allah alone gives 50 shades of success.

Picture Source: static.planetminecraft.com/

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