Question and answer details
|Islam is a way of life. How can I embrace this in my daily life?|
Salam, Sister Norra.
Thank you for such a good question, Norra. It is one that can be of so much help to Muslims that it is a pleasure to try and give an answer.
As you know, Islam has existed since the beginning of time and it is the natural religion of mankind. Since the beginning of His creation, Almighty Allah had planned that Islam would be the way His creation would find true happiness.
Unlike other religions before it, Islam is not just a religion of prayers and religious observance, but it is a complete way of life. In Islam we find a complete way of living. In fact, the ordinary routines of life become for us a way of worshiping Almighty Allah.
The first and most important way in which we embrace Islam in our daily lives is to be faithful to the five daily prayers. These five prayers are essential for us. Without them we are just pretending to be Muslim. Without them we are not taking our faith seriously.
The five daily prayers are the way in which our whole day becomes grounded and rooted in Allah. They have been given to us to make it possible to live as good Muslims, turning our eyes and our hearts throughout the day to Allah.
If we are looking for ways to live as Muslims, we need look no further than to try to be faithful and prompt to the five daily prayers. By doing this, our whole day revolves around Allah and all the activities of the day; all our thoughts and all our intentions become devoted to Him.
It is only natural for us, as humans, to get caught up in the rushing around and the business of the day. It is only natural that the television news and the newspapers will affect us by their stories of tragedy and disaster. This is why so many people in the world become depressed and anxious.
We, too, as Muslims, might fall into the trap of getting caught up in the affairs of the world if it were not for the five daily prayers. Just as an air raid siren calls citizens in a time of danger to rush and take shelter, so the Adhan, the Call to Prayer, urges us to rush and take shelter from the cares of the world and to take refuge in Almighty Allah, Who is in control of all things. So prayer is the first way to embrace Islam in our daily lives.
We might find some time, too, during the day to read the Quran and to ponder on its message. This might not take a great deal of time, but it will heap rewards upon us and will make our day richer. Setting aside a few minutes each day, maybe early in the morning or late at night, to read the Quran will make our day a better day.
Aside from these two central things, we may take a whole book to list just some of the ways in which to take our faith seriously and to embrace Islam in our daily lives.
The way we greet others, for example, reminds them that we are Muslim and it reminds us, too, that we are Muslim. The greeting of salam, a greeting of peace, reminds us that Islam is a religion of peace.
In some countries it may not be the custom to greet all people with as-salamu `alaykum, but we can at least not forget to do this with our Muslim brothers and sisters. There is an unfortunate trend at the moment to answer the telephone by saying "hello." Where did this "hello" come from? Are we not Muslim? Is our greeting not always the greeting of peace?
Throughout our conversation during the day we remind ourselves that we are Muslim by words and phrases that call to mind Almighty Allah. For example, we praise Almighty Allah with exclamations like al-hamdu lillah (all praise to Allah) and ma sha' Allah (whatever Allah wants). We can remain strong in faith by saying aloud such phrases as la hawla wa la quwwata ill bil-lah (There is neither strength nor power save in Allah,) whenever we hear of something bad or of some tragedy or disaster in the news.
Of course, as Muslims, we embrace Islam in our daily lives by the way we dress modestly, which applies to both men and women, and the way we lower our gaze at the proper time and the way we relate to others during the course of the day. The way we talk, the topics of our conversation, and the people we mix with are all part of our Islam. The choice of friends is all a part of who we are as Muslims.
Good manners are a complete part of our Muslim way of life. In fact, it is these Islamic good manners that can be a very strong part of our da`wah to others, telling them about Islam in a gentle way, without "preaching" to them.
Muslims are courteous towards others and are respectful to others and to all of Allah's creation. In this sense, Muslims are the world's natural environmentalists, since we love and respect our environment as part of creation.
We might spend time talking about the respect Muslims show to their parents or to their wife or husband. This is all a part of our faith. We might talk about duties towards our children and relatives or to the way we treat our neighbors. We need also to take very seriously the bond that exists between all Muslims, making them truly brothers and sisters.
So, you see, Islam covers every aspect of our lives and provides us throughout the day with so many ways of thinking about Allah and praising Him.
In addition to all these natural ways of being a good Muslim, we can add extra things to help us even more. We can get up in the middle of the night, for example, to pray extra prayers, knowing that Almighty Allah is ready to listen to us. We might pray an extra two rak`ahs at different times during the day to ask Allah for our needs or to pray for the needs of others.
We might choose to follow the example of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), by fasting on Mondays and Thursdays. During the special month of Ramadan, we are given an even greater opportunity to dedicate our whole day to Almighty Allah, by fasting for His sake.
So there are so many ways in which Islam becomes a part of our daily lives. It is easy for anyone to say with their lips that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His Messenger, but as Muslims we must mean it with all our hearts.
We can show how much we mean it by embracing Islam daily and making it, as you say, a part of our daily lives. In sha' Allah, Almighty Allah will give us the will to do this and reward our efforts.
Thank you for your question, and please keep in touch.