“The heart on its journey towards Allah – the Exalted – is like a bird. Love is its head, and fear and hope are it’s two wings. When the head is healthy, then the two wings will fly well. When the head is cut off, the bird will die. When either of the two wings is damaged, the bird becomes vulnerable to every hunger and predator.”
-Ibn al Qayyim-
Ever since I started blogging about three years ago, I have continuously received messages from sisters asking me to share my routine. Initially I never understood the requests, because in my head, I thought, how could me sharing how my day is, possibly have any positive impact on someone else’s day. I say this because I’m a (self awarded) world leading procrastinator. So I have never sat down to write such a post.
But these messages don’t stop and I realised they tend to increase whenever I share a post with my Quran reflections, and that’s when I realised, that the reason sisters ask is because they want to add more Quran to their day, which of course is such a noble and good intention. But it seems like me sharing my five-ayahs-a-day system isn’t sufficient for the sisters, they want to know more about my day; when I do cooking and cleaning, when I read books, which cleaning products I use, how I write in my notebooks, how many notebooks I own, how I organise them, what I write after reading translation of the Quran. What they really want to know is, how I fit these ayahs into my day.
There are two reasons why I’ve been reluctant about sharing such a post. Firstly because it may be classed as self righteous promotion, which is neither allowed or liked in Islam. And secondly, because I feel I have to share the ideal routine, and the real routine, which in the style I write will turn into a book very easily. So I’ll save the torturous infliction on you for another day and today share the ingredients that I believe bring about a productive and smooth running day:
- Prioritising salah over everything else – make salah times rule your day!
- Not missing daily adhkar, even if travelling or out on appointments. If this gets delayed from fajr time, do these as soon as possible. These can be found within a copy of Hisnul Muslim. (http://amzn.to/2zbZyEt) *affiliate link
- Quran, Quran and more Quran. Make sure you don’t start your day without it. Even if it means one ayah. Recite it and read the translation. Over time the number of ayahs will increase as will your desire to read more translation and the Tafsir for them.
- Knowing what you’re having for dinner – this is the bane of most women’s life “what shall I cook today?” – following a meal plan helps. (Check out my soul sister Iman over at ‘And Then She Said’ for this kinda motivation.
- Have set times/days for certain chores. I iron on Sunday nights for the whole week, I vacuum in the mornings and sometimes late afternoon. I mostly cook in the mornings, I have two set days for thorough bathroom cleaning.
- Try and get most chores done in the mornings. I have early risers, which means child 2 always takes a nap in the mornings. I do my cooking then.
- Have cleaning schedules. They don’t have to be written out, but putting them on paper sometimes means they leave your head, and when the head has less it feels better. I get all my cleaning done before 10am every day, this includes, beds, bathroom, kitchen and a general tidy of the home.
- Find pockets of time during the day when you want to read. It could be when kids are playing, or when they’ve gone to bed. Reading time doesn’t have to consist of 2-3 hours. It could be 15 minutes.
- Note making – this is either a habit or it isn’t. It is for me, so I jot down things I read or listen to. Sometimes I listen to YouTube videos whilst I cook, if I hear a Hadith or a story I like, I write it down. Yes, I have a notebook in my kitchen. More than one actually!
- If you want to learn something. Make time for it. In your own way. Don’t expect someone else to make that time for you. Not all of us can attend classes or courses, but we all have the luxury of having internet. Use it. Learn a skill, learn a new surah, watch beneficial videos, the whole world is out there, taker your pick, and do it! This is in your control.
- Go out for walks. Doesn’t have to be to movie-like scenic places, it can be to your local park. Make time for this regularly. Give your body that extra oxygen.
- Read before bed. Read for at least 5 minutes. Make this habit real. You won’t regret it. Reading isn’t everyone’s favourite thing to do but it helps a believer build skills to connect with the words of Allah
(Disclaimer: This picture is from fajr time this morning, please note I have not dictated specific gender roles to them lol, they themselves chose these)
I genuinely believe that all this can only become a reality when we attach two key things to all of the above; remembering Allah and valuing our time. It’s the awareness of our time and commitment to Allah that brings the best out in us. We are not all destined to be what this world defines as successful people, but knowing that Allah defines success as those who love and fear Him, is what can shape our days.
I’d like to express, from the deepest part of my heart, that although I share the above, NOT all my days consist of them all. I have days where I don’t feel like following my meal plan and then cook something simple for dinner an hour before it’s due. I have days when I miss my adhkar and don’t do them until 11am. But what I think is important in making sure we have a routine, is not letting the flaws of the previous day, impact our new day. We will fall short, we will not know or do well, but we get up and get back on the race to Jannah.
So in the wise words of Ibn al Qayyim, remember that the heart which is journeying to Allah is like a bird, with love as its head and fear and hope as it’s wings. The three put together shape not just our lives, but the days that make up our lives.