The following are excerpts from the notes taken during Ustaz Amin Yusoff’s pre-Ramadan class entitled “7 Steps to Illuminating Your Soul: Discipline Yourself”. The class revolved around the topic of how fasting helps to protect oneself from the 7 deadly sins.
If you didn’t have to work on Monday, you would get up at 10am, because you have no motivation. This is why people become idle, because they have no motivation. The same thing goes for when you become lazy in doing ibadah, because you don’t see it as a way of communicating with Allah SWT. We’ve been praying for so long, but do we see it as a way of communicating with Allah? We spend hours talking to our close friends, but do we do that when it comes to Allah?
Allah SWT says that you communicate with Him not through your tongue, but through your heart. This is how you talk to him. When there’s a dhikr that you recite, for example la ila ha ilAllah, sometimes you’re only reciting it with your tongue, but without presence of heart. So when you recite dhikr, while your tongue moves in the recitation of the dhikr, you have to focus on your heart. Reflect on the meanings of that dhikr, and talk to Allah through your heart.
One dhikr done with presence of heart is a thousand times greater than the dhikr that is done without presence of heart. Allah says, “Verily, the hearts find tranquility in the remembrance (dhikr) of Allah.”
If you have no motivation, no objective, you will remain idle. Ramadan is coming; it’s the month of the Quran, so how much Quran do you plan to recite in Ramadan? If you don’t plan for it, and you don’t have a target that you try to meet, you will remain idle. Imam as Shafi’i used to khatam the Quran twice in one day.
If you fail to plan in life, you plan to fail. If you don’t have plans or goals in your life, you will have no motivation. What is your goal in life? Your goal is Allah.
When I was studying in Rubat, the students there used to wake up hours before subuh to perform tahajjud. But sometimes that is too hard for us here, so the least we can do is to wake up just before subuh to do tahajjud. One way that you can gain motivation to perform more ibadah is to read the biographies of those who came before you, who succeeded. We used to read the biographies of those students who studied in the Rubat before us. They say that if you study in the Rubat for 40 days and you don’t dream of the Prophet SAW, you were a fake student.
Most of the time when we talk about greed, we talk about material greed, although there are other kinds of greed that affect us as well.
This doesn’t have anything to do with wanting to become rich. Many of the Sahabahs were rich; Sayyidina Umar al Khattab, Sayyidina Uthman ibn Affan, Sayyidina Ubaidullah, Sayyidina Abdurrahman ibn Awf, they were all rich, they were multi-billionaires, and they used to give away much of their wealth in the way of Allah. So it’s not wanting to become rich that is the problem, it’s what you do with your wealth that matters. When you have lots of material wealth, your responsibilities are also heavier.
Islam doesn’t hinder anyone from wanting to be rich, it actually encourages you to become wealthy, because those who are wealthy will contribute much to society through their zakat. But greed becomes a problem when you no longer think of the ways to get the things that you want. So the key is to be able to differentiate between the things that you want and the things that you need. For example, you can plan to buy a car from now, but do you really need to buy a Ferrari? Another example, you only need one big house, you don’t need 20 big houses. This is when greed comes in. The worst part is that when you die, none of these will bring you any benefit.
Join us for this upcoming class on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulumuddin, taught by Ustaz Amin Yusoff.
Register at: http://revivalofthedeen.eventbrite.sg