Life Make Over

>> Saturday, October 8, 2011

Dear Little Aunties,
I don't know what I'm doing typing this to you, but here goes nothing. I never seem to get anything done. I don't pray regularly and I know I should. I haven't worn the hijab because I think it would give people the wrong impression of me as I'm not the best Muslim out there. I want to wear it when I'm a better Muslimah, inshaallah and I want to be a better Muslimah, but I don't even know where to start. I also want to lose weight but never seem to get around to exercising. My life, homework, my room, everything is a mess.Help me, please!
Want to be Better

Dear Wanting to be Better,
What a great question! I think all of us can feel that our life is a 'mess' sometimes, but not many of us will actually pause and really try and turn it around. Instead, most of us just wait for our lives to somehow fix themselves...which, let's face it...doesn't happen! So yeah, I think it's super fantastic that you've turned this question in! Because you know what, little cupcake? You deserve to live the life you want NOW. (Besides, this gives me the opportunity to reflect on my life and what I want to do :P)

So how do you go about fixing your life?

Well, the first thing is to accept that there will never be a more perfect day to start living the life you want than today. Don't wait for the 'right moment'- there isn't going to be a neon-light telling you "You should change your life today" or some magical sign saying, "Today's the DAY!"

You should decide that today is going to be that day because you're alive and you're grateful to be alive and you're ready for that girl, who you really are, to come out and shine. Decide right now that you are ready to be who you want to be. Say it out loud. Jump up and down. Face yourself in the mirror. Write it down.
"I am ready to be the person I want to be".


I so know what you're thinking. "Yeah, that's great. Uh huh. I'll do that tomorrow".

Well, cupcake, chances are, tomorrow's going to come and your body is going to tense up. It's going to panic big time. 'Oh, no, she's really going to do that 'health thing'/ she's going to turn all geeky on us/ she's going to be all super Muslim praying now". You're going to look around- at your life -at your room- whatever- and you're going to find another excuse to delay it again. You're going to worry yourself into thinking that you need to exert too much effort to change your life....

You're gonna panic.

Seriously. Dr. Ibrahim al Fiqy (the guy I quote a lot) said that our brains are composed of two parts: the dynamic part and the static part. The dynamic part of us wants us to CHANGE...It's like "GET up, will you. Do something, already". But our static part is a lot like our mothers. It doesn't want us to do anything that will take up too much energy/ time/ effort. It's like "Sweetie, why tire yourself. You're good the way you are. Let's just stick to what we know. Change requires too much effort."

The problem is, if you listen to it- to your static side-you're going to find yourself, one year later, still writing the same New Year Resolutions. "I want to pray. I want to wear hijab. Etc."

But if you can start now, ever so slowly, if you can take 5 minutes today...and start the changes you want, you'll find that with time, your static side is going to believe that these were all your habits, anyways.

You dig?

Ha, I just felt like saying dig, cause I would never say that in real life. In real life I say, "do you understand what I'm saying?"

But seriously, let me translate that into 2 steps.

Step 1: Decide now what it is that you want to do in clear positive terms(not what you don't want to do). Write it down. Explain
- why do you want to do what you want to do
- what are the steps you're going to take
- how are you going to avoid the pitfalls/ what usually gets you down
- who is going to support you and all that stuff
I suggest (read: OMG YOU HAVE TO OPEN THIS RIGHT NOW) fill it all out in this this interactive plan thingy below. (I suggest you choose Lex, the guy who wants to stop procrastinating, as the 'reference point). I want EVERY sister here to try it out for herself. It's seriously awesome.

You see, it's easy for me to write some steps but I don't actually know what gets you down at home, what distracts you, who will help you, etc. I'm not actually with you, right. If you use this tool, you're going to have a real guide that will be written for YOU by YOU.



Once you've done the plan, stick to the plan. Print it. Put it up where you can see it.

Step 2: Kick-Start the changes you want by trying out the 5 minute rule
- Today, before you go to sleep, clean up your room for a full 5 minutes. Get out a watch and seriously make sure you take 5 minutes and just organize your stuff. If you need to, buy some boxes/ paper file things. Label the boxes. Remember, it's easier to spend 5 minutes each day, tidying up your room, than spending a weekend on it. (Besides, why waste your weekends on that?!)
- Take 5 minutes and pray each prayer. That's all you need. 5 minutes for each prayer. (See here)
-Spend 5 minutes cutting up a healthy snack: cucumbers or carrots
- Spend 5 minutes walking/ doing some exercise you like

- Whenever you have a homework assignment that you don't feel like doing, tell yourself that you're going to work on it for 5 minutes. Trust me. Sometimes, I get really overwhelmed and don't feel like 'writing my teaching plan' for the week or doing anything. I tell myself "Just write for 5 minutes". Once I start, I find I don't want to stop. I just want to finish it. Try it with your homework.

At the end of today, tell me how fantastic you feel?

Because that's all you need....5 minutes and you've started the journey to living the life you want.

With time, you can increase these 5 minutes to 7, 10, 15...Reward yourself after a week.

Always go back to the plan you developed.

But wait, darling, I'm not done. Let's be a bit more specific about how to be a better Muslimah.


1. Make your intention that you are trying to be a better Muslimah. Be sincere. Ask Allah to help you.

2. Work on the obligatory things. Then move on to the extra things or nawafil.

This is because Allah subhanoo Wa’ Tala said in the hadith:

My servant draws not near to Me with anything more loved by Me than the religious duties I have enjoined upon him, and My servant continues to draw near to Me with supererogatory works so that I shall love him"
What are the obligatory things that you can tackle? Prayer, prayer, prayer (see our previous articles).


3. Understand Islam more. Familiarize yourself as much as possible with the aqeedah. Who exactly is Allah in Islam? Does He have eyes? What do we as Muslims really believe in? Actually, I myself am currently re-reading this as a refresher Our Creed



Let me give you some other recommended links:

To understand the Qur'an better:
Audio Tafsir by Bayyinah: http://bayyinah.com/podcast/ 

To learn more about the Prophet's life: 



Every few days, spend 5 minutes going through these 40 Hadiths (An Nawawi) which comprise the main essential and fundamental concepts of Islam.

There are also these 40 hadith Qudsi which are very inspirational. These are things that Allah actually said but not necessarily in those exact words :) These, inshaAllah will help keep you motivated when you find yourself slacking off ;)

  Another way you can learn more about Islam is to ASK more. Every couple of weeks, think of a question/ concern you have and bring it up at your local mosque/ ask someone trustworthy, inshaAllah. As much as possible, attend the Friday prayers at a local mosque :)

 4. Friends, friends, friends! That's really important. It can be a hard and lonely time when you try to become a better Muslimah- it's important that you surround yourself with people who can help you up and boost your faith, inshaAllah.


What else can you do to be a better Muslimah?

See more ideas here:

I also want to address your concern about hijab. Basically, this is what I got from you...(Correct me, if I'm wrong ;P)

"Little Auntie, I want to wear hijab when I'm a better Muslimah. If I wear it now, I'll be a hypocrite.People will think something of me that's not true. I'm not perfect, yet."

Girl.

I hate to say this, but you're falling for Shaytaan's trap, big time. Shaytaan is telling you to procrastinate because he doesn't want to see you do the right thing. He doesn't want to see you take a step towards Allah.

You see, hunny, you'll never be perfect. The hijab isn't meant to be about the message you send to the people around you. It's not about what other people think of you. The hijab is about you and Your Master. When you wear it, you are acknowledging that Allah is Worthy of your Worship. You are saying that He is Worthy of you to change your life for Him and what you wear.

You're not saying that 'you are perfect'.
You are saying that Allah is Perfect and that His Commands are perfect...and that what He's asked you to do, you're going to try and do it.

I'm going to make this a bit clearer.

Even if you wear hijab and you continue to engage in your old sins (e.g. listening to inappropriate music), that doesn't make you a hypocrite.

A hypocrite is someone who hides his 'disbelief'- someone who doesn't believe in God, for example, but pretends to. Someone who secretly inside is happy whenever people insult the Messenger or attack our Qura'n.

A Muslim, on the other hand, is someone who hides his 'sins'.

So, keeping with the earlier example, if you listen to music, you're not supposed to flaunt that. You don't recommend songs to people. You don't put up music videos on facebook. That's what you do.

You do not, 'not' wear hijab, because you 'still listen to music' and are not a perfect Muslim, yet. (Wow, double not :P)

Instead you hide the particular sin you need to hide.

Every hijabi, niqabi, non-hijabi, whatever has some sin that she's struggling with. You don't need to wait until you're the best Muslimah you can be to wear the hijab. You can wear the hijab and continue to try to be the best Muslimah you can be, right now.

If you need more inspiration on that, just go to I Got it Covered (and you can also check our previous articles on hijab).


Well, darling, these are my thoughts on your little question. I hope this helps get you in the right mood. Of course, I'm leaving this for the other sisters to pitch in with their ideas on how to live the life you want NOW =)

May Allah grant you peace and happiness....

Remember, I believe in you :D


9 wonderful sprinkely thoughts:

Irendi October 8, 2011 at 9:33 AM  

I'm so glad that this question was posted....i feel like this every day....inshaAllah this will help more than you know, including me.

bucketofdreams October 8, 2011 at 10:01 AM  

Aww, mashaAllah! I love the little software thingies you guys post on here.

jnana October 8, 2011 at 12:26 PM  

The Change Guide is such a helpful addition.
And I love what you said about hijab being about the servant and the Master, and about sending a message that Allah's laws are perfect.

Anonymous,  October 8, 2011 at 1:13 PM  

True dat. Seriously 5 min. rule works. You feel like you're accomplishing nothing but look back from a month before and you notice that you are a bit more stronger. It's subtle but it adds up. Patience and persistence is the key. Usually if I can't keep up then I tone it down even more. And yes I have those negative whisperings: "Really, this is so pathetic, blah, blah, blah" but it really works, alhamdulilah.

Good luck. We are all in the same boat :)

ireminisces October 10, 2011 at 12:04 PM  

Walaikum asalam mashAllah a really good blog feel free to share your wise words over at my blog. Stay blessed..

Anonymous,  October 10, 2011 at 8:23 PM  

Assalamu Alaykum

I found a month ago that I wasn't praying on time, and would skip prayers, and was even being cranky (very unlike me). I had never been like that and didn't know WHY I was being that way. To snap myself back into praying on time and being my old self, I had to figure out WHY I was feeling / behaving that way. After much reflection, I found that I was unhappy that I am still single despite being what I would think to be a very good practicing Muslim, friend, daughter, etc. It seems I felt resentful for being a good Muslim yet not finding a good Muslim man to be my mate. Once I figured that out, SNAP - I was back to my old self praying on time, feeling good about volunteering, etc. I know it sounds strange, but sometimes digging deep and finding the reason WHY you are behaving a certain way can really help you change the behavior that is a result of that feeling. I hope this helps.

Little Auntie October 11, 2011 at 7:16 AM  

Jazakun Allah khair, giriles :)

Irendi, I missed you! Hehe! It's nice to see you here and I'm glad you found this a bit helpful.

Jnana and bucket of dreams, I know! I'm totally in love with that software thingy :P

Anonymous 1, yes! You will definitely see the difference after a month, inshaAllah :)

ireminisces- awww, that's so sweet of you. InshaAllah I'll be checking out your bloggy :D

Anonymous 2, what a great comment. Thank you for sharing that. Actually, theSisterwhoSmiles gave that exact same advice in one our previous posts. See here: http://dearlittleauntie.blogspot.com/2011/01/defeating-dips-of-rollercoaster.html

Lots of love!

Anonymous,  June 20, 2012 at 6:09 AM  

Mash'Allah great post sis!


short_sister

Aysha Farooqui September 22, 2012 at 12:32 AM  

MashaAllah, you guys help hopeless muslimahs around the globe more than you may think! I pray that Allah lets you all continue what you're doing with excellence (ihsaan) and sincerity (ikhlas) ameen. My lovely sisters <3

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Asalamu aialkum!
Well, what do you think? You know, you're part of the team, as well. Please help a sister out and share your own advice/experiences/etc. One for all and all for one =)
P.S. I reserve the right to remove any disrespectful comment ;)

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