بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
When Ramadan comes, we are usually excited and pumped up. We have all of these goals and things we want to achieve. But then, things get in the way. Our workload piles up, maybe we get sick or we realize we just can’t do what we set out. This can be disheartening.
This feeling of underachievement, and that what we are doing is not enough, makes us feel down. Maybe even unworthy. And then what happens is that feeling just spirals out of control. We sabotage ourselves by punishing ourselves with guilt for not being able to do what we set out, but that in turn sucks our internal energy! And then we are able to do less, and we also connect less to God because we feel that our external ‘failure’ makes us undeserving of His mercy.
This is self-sabotage.
Islam teaches us to make the most of whatever situation we are in. Do we think that Allah is ignorant of the fact that we got a sudden heavy workload? Or that our anemia makes us feel exhausted?
There are three things we can do:
1- Remember that Allah is ash-Shakoor
Ash-Shakoor is the One who appreciates the little that you do and rewards abundantly for it. He even appreciates, loves and rewards your intention!! The Prophet (pbuh) tells us: “Whosoever intends to do a good deed but does not do it, Allah records it with Himself as a complete good deed; but if he intends it and does it, Allah records it with Himself as ten good deeds, up to seven hundred times, or more than that.” [Bukhari]
Did you intend to pray all of taraweeh in the mosque, but suddenly fell ill? Did you want to complete the Qur’an but suddenly found yourself swamped with work? Allah knows the things that happened to you outside of your control. Think well of Allah- He won’t take you to account for things imposed upon you.
2- Make the most of whatever situation you are in
This is so important. Yes, Ramadan is the time for increased prayers, fasting, Qur’an and charity. No one is contesting that. But your intention changes whatever act that you do from a habit or something neutral, to an act of worship. When something unexpected happens that completely ruins your worship plans, remember to be attached to the One you are doing the act for and not the act itself. Your work can be for God when you do it with itqan (excellence). If you are sick and can’t recite Qur’an, then listen to Qur’an. If you are busy with house chores, fill that time with dhikr and give more charity. There are always alternatives and the doors to Allah are vast and wide.
3- Verily, good deeds wipe away the bad
Find that laziness took you over? Did something you should not have done? A man came to the Prophet (pbuh), feeling so horrible because he did unlawful things with a woman he was not married to. They prayed ‘Asr together, and the Prophet (pbuh) informed him afterwards that Allah revealed:
“And establish prayer at the two ends of the day and at the approach of the night. Indeed, good deeds do away with misdeeds. That is a reminder for those who remember.” [Surat Hud, 11:112]
Islam teaches us NOT TO DWELL. You made a mistake? It’s in the past. What matters is what you do now. If it is a sin, then stop the sin, seek forgiveness from Allah and then do good to make up for it.
Islam makes things easy. Don’t make things difficult for yourself.