By Vanessa M
When it comes to the environment, there is much we can do to make the planet that Allah (swt) has given us healthy and more peaceful. So why are we only using these practices to clean up the world around us? Doesn’t change start from within?
By His will our Creator has provided us with guidance and wisdom as well as free will so that we can make our own choices, make mistakes, repent, seek meaning, and make our short time on this earth as positive and productive as possible.
Below you’ll find the steps I’m taking to be a better Muslim, in shaa Allah.
First Step: Reduce
The temptations and distractions of this world are just a test, and reducing negative influences will make these tests easier to bear, in shaa Allah. Idleness, miserliness, and laziness are three dangerous doors that allow Shaytan to whisper his empty promises of dazzle and deceit.
Television, the news, and social networking make it very easy to forget Allah (swt) and His promises. I started by thinking about what I was doing and what benefit it would have in helping me become a better Muslim.
Thinking before speaking helps us avoid becoming involved in idle talk, gossip, and backbiting. Remembering Allah (swt) and thanking Him for our many blessings through prayer should inspire us to live better, for His sake only.
Idleness leads to miserliness, and if we allow ourselves to become wrapped up in the struggles of this life prayer is forgotten and happiness is lost. Looking around you and remembering Allah (swt) and his many blessings will remind you to smile in times of frowns and to be thankful and pray in easy times so that we can have strength and patience during the hard times.
We can keep ourselves from falling victim to boredom by making goals and seeking ways to improve and be better. We have many responsibilities we have, and for Allah (swt)’s sake we should start caring for His creations, from the environment to all of mankind.
Changing the world seems impossible, but changing your conditions by the grace of Allah (swt), are not. If we can seek ways to be productive and to use our time and resources wisely, we can learn how to be better for the sake of Allah (swt).
Second Step: Reuse
By “to reuse” I mean to keep reading and keep praying. It’s astonishing how we pray for understanding and guidance and then pick up the Quran and find our questions answered, perhaps by something that never grabbed our attention before.
And certainly We have brought them a Book, which We have detailed with knowledge, a guidance and mercy for a people who believe. [Quran 7:52]
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: A servant of God will remain standing on the Day of Judgment until he is questioned about his (time on earth) and how he used it; about his knowledge and how he utilized it; about his wealth and from where he acquired it and in what (activities) he spent it; and about his body and how he used it. [Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith 148]
Recite that which has been revealed to you of the Book and establish prayer (Salaah); surely prayer (Salaah) keeps (one) away from indecency and evil, and certainly the remembrance of Allah is the greatest, and Allah knows what you do. [Quran, 29:45]
What astounding reminders we have, and alhamdulillah we have so many resources to teach us how to be better, in the form of words from Allah (swt) and our beloved prophets (saw). No matter how many times we read or pray, the benefits and blessings from both are clear in the signs from our Creator.
The Quran is more powerful than Google, prayer is the closest we can be to Allah (swt), and His prophets (saw) are the best of examples, blessings from Allah so that we may learn and be guided, in shaa Allah!
Third Step: Recycle
Share your knowledge; speak on behalf of Allah (swt). Be sure to speak kindly and only about what you know is fact. Obtaining knowledge is a blessing in itself, so we should be using these lessons learned with others so that they may benefit and learn. Allah(swt) guides whom He wills, so let’s do what we can to help others.
Share your story about finding Islam, writing to encourage others. Post your story on social networks, write blogs, email to ask questions and then share the answers. Any information you find that benefits you can also potentially benefit others. Use your words wisely; consider them a blessing from the Almighty, so use them only for His sake.
Make a plan of action and do something to benefit yourself, the environment, or any of Allah’s (swt) creations. This can be simple as picking up litter, planting a tree, sharing a meal, or making someone smile. No deed is too small, so take every opportunity to do something good to please only Allah (swt).
I’ve found that Allah (swt) doesn’t need us— we’re in desperate need of Him! All of our success we owe to Allah (swt) and our failures to our own transgressions. I write this as a reminder for myself, and in shaa Allah whoever reads this may be inspired or encouraged to reduce, reuse, and recycle in his or her own way so that we all may be productive in seeking and sharing knowledge for the sake of growing our imaam.
After we change ourselves for Allah (swt), in shaa Allah we can make a change in the world.
Vanessa M reverted to Islam in 2012, alhamdulillah. She is a full time student seeking to educate others, in shaa Allah.