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Faith

Faith: Impactful and Stress-Free Habit Formation

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“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6464; Book 81, Hadith 53)

Is it just me or are you starting to get that nervous excitement that comes with Ramadan being only a few days away! May Allah (The Most High) allow us all to reach it. Ameen.

I won’t give you the usual cliched spiel about how the time has flown etc. etc. (although, yes I know it has). But what I will focus on in today’s post is: starting to build some solid habits. Whether you start now or aim to get started during Ramadan, let’s take a look at what this is all about.

They say it takes around two months to build a new habit (see here for more on this). I’ve also read several pieces which say that in order for habits ‘to stick’, they should ideally be tagged on to existing habits so your brain is tricked into accepting them as part of your routine (for example, see here). How would this work in practice? I’ve outlined some examples below.

Quran Reading

This is one I personally love because it’s so doable. Read half a juz of Quran every day by tagging on one page (two sides) to the end of every salah. If it’s not an existing habit, telling someone to read half a juz a day can feel and sound very daunting. But if you’re going to be on the prayer mat anyway, keeping a copy of the Quran close by means you can easily read a page whilst sitting after salah. This can also be adjusted if you have work or other commitments which means you don’t get much of a chance to sit after salah.

For Ramadan, you can supercharge this habit and either read two pages after every salah – which would result in reading a juz daily. Or alternatively, you could find time elsewhere for the remaining half juz.

Disclaimer: This obviously depends on what your Ramadan Quran goals are, and so should be tweaked accordingly. Please remember not to compare to others but to compare to yourself and what YOU want to achieve. It’s not a competition about numbers – it’s about spiritual development and nurturing your connection to God.

Dhikr (Remembrance of Allah)

I usually like to have my morning tea in a slow, almost meditative state – it’s quiet, I focus on my drinking and just soaking in all that caffeine goodness. Tag your dhikr onto this and you’ve got yourself a new habit and a supercharged morning boost. Getting in some dhikr before you’ve started your workday? #winning

How would this work during Ramadan? Well, your morning tea has obviously gone out the window, so rather than just having a lie-in, you could use the same amount of time you usually spend on breakfast and tea for dhikr or sending salawat on the Prophet (peace be upon him). I highly recommend the Adkhar book from Ummah Welfare Trust – it’s comprehensive, well-presented, and small enough to carry around.

Making Swaps

Just as when you’re trying to eat a little cleaner, making ‘healthy swaps’ is the way forward for solid habit formation. So, in this case: you might want to swap out that 30 minutes of TV you watch before bed for 30 minutes of reading. You’ll sleep better, establish a night-time routine and save your eyes from yet more blue light.

This is perfect for Ramadan as you can swap out your TV shows for some spiritual reading instead.

Think Of Your Legacy

Recently I read a quote that really resonated with me:

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives (Annie Dillard).

This is so profound. Taking some time to reflect on this really helps you to see if your daily actions are building up to who you want to be in the next year and beyond in sha Allah.

So, really, habits are about discipline to some extent – committing to actions that you want to look back on in the years to come; that you want to represent how you spent your days.

With that in mind: have a think about what you’re trying to accumulate in terms of actions over the years. Small actions daily = big actions over time.

Don’t forget the hadith:

Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said,

“Do good deeds properly, sincerely and moderately, and know that your deeds will not make you enter Paradise, and that the most beloved deed to Allah is the most regular and constant even if it were little.” (Sahih al-Bukhari 6464; Book 81, Hadith 53)

In sha Allah I hope the above has given you enough inspiration to apply the same principles to what you want to achieve not only in Ramadan but also beyond.


This article was first published on Blogging Believer, republished on TMV with the author’s permission. To read the original article, click here

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