“Each one has to find his peace from within. And peace to be real must be unaffected by outside circumstances.” ― Mahatma Gandhi
Just the other day, a sister told me, “You know sis, when I was in Makkah, I could perform all those sunnah prayers and sit to recite many verses of the Quran without any problems but when I came back, I found that it is impossible to maintain the same momentum that I had there. I am frustrated because I can only manage to perform the fardh prayers and I can’t seem to have time to recite the Quran. I feel restless and unsettled”.
Aaahhh....Her grouses sounds all too familiar to me. I completely understand her dilemma. I had the exact same problem when I came back from performing hajj. After 42 days of going to the Masjid, eat and sleep, all in that order, coming back home to the rat race really jarred my reality. I just couldn’t do it. I couldn’t keep up with the schedule I had when I was in Holy land. I was bogged down with work, kids and everything else. I couldn’t recite the same number of verses from the Quran every night like I used to. I couldn’t perform the same number of sunnah prayers as I wanted to. I was frustrated and devastated. I started to feel suffocated with life, drowning and slowly losing touch with my Maker.
So, what did I do? Same ol’ same ol. Whenever I get stuck, I speak to the Wise Owl. He told me, “sister, life is about making the right choices. You are the master of your own time so you should dictate what you should do. Always check your intention. Your jihad actually starts after coming back from hajj. Be happy”
I often wondered how the Wise Owl became the person that he is. He has tremendous knowledge and he always finds time to do what he wants to do. No…let me rephrase that, he makes time to do what he needs to do. He always finds time for his Maker. How does he do it? What is his secret?
When the Wise Owl said ‘be happy’, I think he meant for me to find my inner peace. I had it when I was in the Holy land but when I came back, somehow, I lost it along the way. I suppose I let myself be sucked into the ‘rat race’ again. I needed to find my inner peace again.
I then knew what I had to do. I needed re-asses my priorities. I needed to make some sacrifices. I knew that my old life style can never accommodate the things that I wanted to do after hajj. So, that was exactly what I did! I changed my whole entire lifestyle. I stopped spending time doing irrelevant things and focused on things that matters.
"A man shall be asked concerning five things on the day of resurrection: concerning his life, how he spent it; concerning his youth, how he grew old; concerning his wealth, whence he acquired it, and in what way he spent it; and what was it that he did with the knowledge that he had."Hadith
The Wise Owl was right. We are the master of our own time. We should dictate our own schedule. Sometimes we just have to drop everything, take a step back and take a breather. Only then, we are able see things from a different perspective. It is actually mind over matters.
"The Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) said, “Lose no time to do good deeds before you are caught up by one of seven calamities awaiting you: a starvation which may impair your wisdom; a prosperity which may mislead you; an ailment which may damage your health; an old age which may harm your senses; a sudden death; the Dajjal (Antichrist); or Doomsday, which is indeed the hardest and most bitter." (at-Tirmidhi, al-Baihaqi)
Making sacrifices is never easy but if you want something so bad, trust me, you would be willing to make it. If that sacrifice will bring you closer to your Maker, then it is worth making it. God always have time for us so we shouldn't we make time for Him. Busy schedule, too much work and other reasons that could possibly take us away from performing sunnah acts and recite Quran, are actually excuses that we tell ourselves, to lessen the guilt. If we can spend one and half hours watching a movie at a cinema, why can’t we spend 20 minutes reciting Quran? If we can make time to go shopping, then why can’t we slot some time to perform sunnah acts? If we can arrange our schedule around our favourite program on tele or soap opera, why can’t we arrange our schedule around doing good deeds? It is a matter of choice actually, pure and simple.
“God said, ‘The offspring of Adam abuse time, (even though) I am Time.” (Hadith)
But who am I kidding? Changes can’t happen overnight hence, we need introduce one small change, one day at a time until we are able to incorporate all the changes that we want to make. Slowly but surely. It is not easy but it can be done. If we keep giving ourselves excuses and procrastinate, then we might not live long enough to affect the change.
“There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) health and free time for doing good” (Bukhari).
“. For each (such person) there are (angels) in succession, before and behind him: They guard him by command of Allah.Verily never will Allah change the condition of a people until they change it themselves (with their own souls).But when (once) Allah willeth a people's punishment, there can be no turning it back, nor will they find, besides Him, any to protect.”
Surah Ar- Ra’d 13:11
The above verse is very clear. If we want any changes to be made then we have to affect the changes ourselves. Praying for it but still remaining idle will not make it happen.
So......back to the sister.......... instead of re-telling my whole saga, I simply told her, to remain steadfast, make one small changes at a time and with God’s Grace, InShaa Allah, she will find her precious time and inner peace…..