Over the past four weeks we've been discussing practical ways to increase our spiritual well-being. The articles included tips with discussions and explanations, and challenges to implement the learning. This article recaps what we've gone over with a few updates on how I've been doing the challenges myself.
Let us know how you're getting on in the comments or join our private group on Facebook for more encouragement and accountability!
1. Be more present in your salah
2. Pray more
3. Make fasting a habit
4. Eat less
5. Give frequently and unconditionally
6. Designate time for focusing on dhikr
7. Read Qur'an regularly
8. Revive and maintain kinship
9. Stop backbiting
10. Renew intentions to fulfil what is asked of you
11. Actively seek to build your knowledge and understanding
1. Pray tahajjud once a week, for a month, or use the time to make up missed prayers if you have any
I have a schedule for making up salah that I'm working through, astagfirullah and may Allah accept them from me. Aameen.
2. Fast on Mondays for a month
I recently made up my missed fasts from Ramadhan, Alhamdulillah. I intend to fast more frequently - at least whilst the days are still short.
3. Wait until you actually feel hungry before eating, try it for a week
I've been doing this more often, but I probably still have too may treats! Smaller portions, less sugar and more water, in sha Allah. We'll be talking more about healthy eating habits in next weeks post.
4. Give unconditionally (and nonjudgmentally) to the next 5 needy (including homeless, etc) people you encounter
This learning from week 2 is something I really try to instill in my daughter and part of that is setting an example when we see people in need, which is something I'll continue to do, in sha Allah.
5. Schedule time for reading dhikr daily
I've been doing this more after the school run in the mornings which is about a 10 minute walk and gives me some time to say sets of dhikr.
6. Schedule time for reading Qur'an 3 times a week, in Arabic and a language you understand
I still struggle with staying consistent, especially since we can't read during part of the month which always throws me off. Excuses - I know.
7. Make contact with a family member who you don't communicate with often
I've gotten in touch with some old friends with whom I haven't spoke to in a while, I think as well as family these kinds of relationships are important to maintain, too. I tried to call one of my sisters but no answer - need to call again! And there's a few other people on my mental list I want to reconnect with.
8. Try out our tips to avoid and stop backbiting
It's really hard to do this in a socially acceptable way, and when you stay aware of it you end up questioning your circle, which is sad and confusing in itself.
9. Define one Islamic obligation you know you aren't fulfilling as well as you could, and make intentions and take steps to fulfil it
My daughter will be turning nine soon, in sha Allah, and my intention is to ensure doing salah is a habit for her by then.
10. Read this post about seeking knowledge in Islam, and source a local course (short-term or long-term, accredited or not) or alternatively access something like Bayyinah TV and create a disciplined schedule for learning
My classes started again recently, and I wasn't sure if I'd stay on for year 3 - but I think I will overlook all my reasons not to and do it anyway. I also want to start Arabic classes sometime this year, in sha Allah.
How are you getting on with the challenges? Let us know in the comments or join our private Facebook group. Don't forget to subscribe below to access our free resources and never miss a post (we won't spam you!)
Read all the articles in the series so far:
The importance of prayer and thoughts from Imam Ghazali | Living a better life: Part 1
Recognising the benefits of fasting and charity|Living a better life: Part 2
Examples of dhikr and the value of kinship in Islam | Living a better life: Part 3
How to stop backbiting and renew intentions | Living a better life: Part 4