Practice

Allah mentions in the Quran the virtue of intending to be good, striving upon the path of goodness, and keeping to it. And because one treads upon this path, Allah increases their guidance, steadfastness, patience and piety. Whoever practices a good habit, Allah makes it easier for them. And whoever thanks Allah for what He has given, Allah gives them more in return.

“While as for those who accept guidance, He increases their guidance, and bestows on them their piety.” (Quran Surah Muhammad 47:17) And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor]; but if you deny, indeed, My punishment is severe.’ (Surah Ibraheem 14:7)

The Prophet peace be upon him said, “Whosoever would be chaste and modest, Allah will keep him chaste and modest, and whosoever would seek self-sufficiency (relying on no one but Allah), Allah will make him self-sufficient, and whosoever would be patient, Allah will give him patience. And no one is granted a gift better and more comprehensive than patience.” (Muttafaqun ‘alayh)

In another narration, the Messenger of Allah pbuh said: “Whoever wants to refrain from asking, Allah, the Mighty and Sublime, will help him to do so, and whoever wants to be patient, Allah will help him to be patient. No one is ever given anything better and more far-reaching than patience.” (Sunan an-Nasa’i 2588)

how to: pray

Successful are the believers. Those who in their prayer have khushoo’ (focus, humility, concentration, awe, reverence). (Al-Mu’minoon 23:1-2)

Abu Dardaa’ reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The first thing to be removed from this nation will be reverence, until you will not see anyone with reverence.” (Musnad al-Shamiyyin 1561)

Ammar ibn Yasir reported: The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said, “Verily, a man may return from his prayer and nothing good is written for him but a tenth of his prayer, or a ninth, or an eighth, or a seventh, or a sixth, or a fifth, or a fourth, or a third, or a half.” (Abu Dawud 796)

“We served ourselves in the company of Messenger of Allah (pbuh). We tended our camels by turn. One day, I had my turn to tend the camels, and I drove them in the afternoon. I found the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) addressing the people. I heard him say: Anyone among you who performs ablution, and does it well, then he stands and offers two rak’ahs of prayer, concentrating on it with his heart and body, Paradise will be his lot by all means.” (Abu Dawud 169)

Rabah ibn al-Harawi reported: ‘Isam ibn Yusuf passed by Hatim al-Asam, may Allah have mercy on him, while he was speaking in his assembly. ‘Isam said, “O Hatim, do you pray well?” Hatim said yes. ‘Isam said, “How do you pray?” Hatim said, “I establish the command, I walk with fear, I begin prayer with intention, I exalt Allah with grandeur, I recite with a measured recitation and reflection, I bow with reverence, I prostrate with humility, I sit to complete the testimony, and I invoke peace properly and according to the Sunnah. Then, I sincerely surrender the prayer to Allah Almighty and I return to myself with fear that it will not be accepted from me. I guard it with effort in this way until death.” ‘Isam said, “You may speak, for you do pray well.” (Ḥilyat al-Awliya’ 11623)

Hide and Seek

How can we strive to ensure that our intentions for worship are and remain steadfast for Allah? One way is to make those acts of worship not seen by any but Allah. Hide your good deeds and seek only His attention. His approval. His Pleasure.

It is reported that Shurayḥ the Judge used to have a house in which he would spend time alone on Fridays; no one knew what he did in it. (Al-Dhahabī, Siyar A’lām Al-Nubalā` Vol 4 p105)

It is reported that Dāwūd b. Abī Hind fasted for forty years without his family knowing; he would take his lunch out with him and donate it in the street. (Ibid. Vol 6 p378)

And it is reported that Ayyūb Al-Sakhtiyānī used to pray all night and hide it. In the morning, he would raise his voice as if he had just woken up. (Al-Dhahabī, op. cit. Vol 6 p17)

Al-Hasan al-Basri said, speaking about the striving of the Salaf in hiding their deeds, “Indeed, I came across a people, there was not a single deed on the face of this earth which could be done in secret, that they ever did in public!” These Muslims would strive to supplicate to Allah, and nothing could be heard from them except a low whisper between them and their Lord. That is because Allah says, “Call upon your Lord in humility and privately; indeed, He does not like transgressors.” Qur’an surat al-A’raaf (7:55). (Ibn al-Mubarak, az-Zuhd p35-36.)