Stress and depression have been proven to be the main reasons for the occurrence of many psychological problems.
We tend to ignore our psychological needs until they turn into life threatening ailments. If not addressed promptly and properly, a seemingly minor matter related to stress or depression can become traumatic for any individual.
So what can be the core reason for something so dangerous? Allah(subhanahu wa ta’ala) explains the reason to us by saying:
“And whoever turns away from My remembrance – indeed, he will have a depressed life...” (20:124)
Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) has created us with a combination of body and soul, so in other words, we are a blend of the physiological and psychological and He has provided rizq (provision) for both.
We focus on nurturing the body by catering to its needs while neglecting the requirements of the soul. We allow it to crave and weaken to the extent that our healthy body, aided and nourished by the desires of the nafs (lowly self prone to sin) tramples the soul and takes over.
On the other hand, when the heart is at rest or we feel composed, we tend to function well. We feel proactive and productive not only externally but we are also satisfied with our internal state of being.
Who can understand us better than our Creator, Allah (subhanahu wa ta’alaa)? Therefore, the best precaution and cure has been prescribed by Al Hakim, (The Most Wise) Himself, in the divine scripture, The Glorious Quran.
“…Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.“(13:28)
AIN’T GOT TIME.
The irony of the situation is that in today’s busy life, being a mum on the run, trying to juggle different roles while keeping the balls in the air, we are unable to find an empty slot to dedicate to the remembrance of the Giver of this time.
Ibn Taymiyyah is quoted by his student Ibn Qayyim (may Allah bestow His Mercy on them both) as saying that dhikr (remembrance) is as necessary for the heart as water for the fish.
THE PURPOSE OF DHIKR.
The purpose of dhikr is to purify hearts and souls and awaken the human conscience. There are two kinds of dhikr:
Qalbi dhikr (Remembrance with the heart)
Lisani dhikr (Verbal Remembrance)
Out of the many virtues of dhikr, here are a few:
1) Dhikr keeps away Shaitan and weakens his strength.
2) It is the cause of Allah’s (ta’ala) pleasure.
3) It relieves the mind from anxieties and worries.
4) It produces joy and happiness in the heart.
5) It strengthens the body and mind.
6) It is a form of sadaqa (charity).
7) It brings sustenance.
8) It induces love for Allah (ta’ala) which in fact, is the spirit of Islam, the main point of deen (religion) and the source of success and salvation in the Hereafter.
WAYS TO PRIORITISE DHIKR.
Here are a few ways of incorporating dhikr in to our busy routine:
1. Make lots of dua’a, especially after every fard salah (obligatory prayer). Beseech Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) to help you
remember Him at all times, especially in pleasant times. If we prioritise Him during the times of ease He will certainly prioritise us in our times of distress inshaAllah.
2. Designate at least fifteen minutes every day to contemplate and to consciously remind yourself of His favours and be truly thankful for them in your heart. The best time for this would be around any salah, as one is already in a spiritual mode.
Understand your dependence upon Him and your need to turn to Him every moment of your life, which ultimately leaves a loyal servant with no choice but to evoke His master. This way you would have practiced qalbi dhikr (remembrance with the heart).
3. One of best forms of lisani dhikr (verbal remembrance) is salah. Try to be punctual and strict about establishing salah at its prescribed time and with khushoo (humility). You can do this by planning your routine chores around the five salah by dividing your day into chunks of hours assigned for completing various tasks.
For example, you can plan to finish cooking and cleaning 15 minutes before zuhr salah so that you are mentally and physically prepared for your prayer before the azan is called. Salah is one of the most effective ways to get rid of anxiety and depression as by doing so you are conditioning yourself to rely only on the Creator.
4. Regular Quran recitation with understanding and contemplation is yet another virtuous form of lisani dhikr. Allocate a specific time. Before or after fajr salah,after ‘asr salah or after ‘isha salah are the times that are recommended by most scholars. Choose a time that best suits you and try to remain consistent. To start with, keep your sessions short but once you get in to the habit of regular Quranic recitations, make your sessions longer.
5. Allow yourself time slots when you are performing chores that do not require your mental presence (washing dishes, cooking,) to perform conscious lisani dhikr where you can absorb the gravity that these words (adhkaar) hold.
You may choose a specific dhikr to be said while doing a particular chore every day. For instance, for cooking time you can choose to write subhan Allah w wabihamdihi(for example) on a post it note and paste it on your kitchen cabinet as a ُreminder.
It’s human nature to be attracted to diversity. Therefore to avoid monotony use the different times of day for various adhkaar (plural for dhikr) as prescribed in the Quran and Sunnah.
6. Make use of technology by downloading various apps with morning and evening adhkaar from the Quran and Sunnah on your phone, ipad etc. This way you will be able to recite them on the move or just before going to sleep.
7. Similarly, for qalbi dhikr you might want to listen to Islamic lectures or tune in to the Quranic recitations while doing tasks such as driving or cleaning. You can either download these lectures/recitations on to a USB or buy CDs.
To add interest and diversity to an activity you might want to sketch out a little plan on your post it note, about what you want to listen to the next time you get into the car and then stick it on to the dashboard. You can also choose to be flexible with your plan and decide to switch from short lectures to Quranic recitations depending on your spiritual need at that time.
8. Try as much as you can to initiate or participate in a positive discussion about Allah (ijja wa jaal) and everything related to Him, which will inshaAllah transform ordinary chatting into a rewarding, fruitful and productive interaction. As He (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) says, for those who remember Him secretly, He remembers them privately and for those who mention Him (subhanahu wa ta’alaa) in a gathering, He makes a mention of them to a much more respectable gathering which is of the angels, subhanAllah.
9. Choose a day of the week when you can indulge your family in an interesting and creative way of collective dhikr. You might want to introduce a brief explanation of a small surah (chapter of the Quran) or stories of the Prophets and Sahaba (Companions of the Prophet (s)) to your children, followed by a creative art activity related to your topic. For example, you can make a little cardboard boat after having told the story of Nuh (alaihi salam) to your children.
10. A check list can prove to be a very effective way of keeping track of your daily and weekly activities related to the various forms of dhikr. Going through your checklist before bed and reviewing your weekly dhikr activities will inshaAllah aid your consistency in performing dhikr and will help increase the contentment and peace you feel in life, while simultaneously improving your productivity and religious knowledge, bi ithn Allah.
Being a mum on the run, you cannot hope to be progressive, proactive and dynamic unless you nurture positivity within yourself by nourishing your soul and responding to its needs. This can only be achieved when you consciously make an effort to take a step further towards self purification, which in turn will help you become a better muslimah and a productive mum, bi ithn Allah.
Moreover, what we need to understand is that the excuse of not finding time to amplify and gratify Him will neither help our situation in this life nor will it intercede for us in our afterlife. Therefore, let’s prioritise the remembrance of our Creator in our lives, to have a blessed existence in this dunia and to acquire perpetual bliss in the akhira, ameen.