If you’re reading this article, chances are you have spiritual goals. Perhaps you want to increase your knowledge, memorize more Quran, or simply be a better Muslim. Almost all of us have thoughts running through our minds about how and who we want to be. Yet if you’re like me, at some point you’ve felt frustrated by slow progress. Life gets busy and spiritual goals too often get put on the back burner as we tend to daily tasks and responsibilities.
But what if your spiritual goals were an inseparable part of your daily tasks and responsibilities? Wouldn’t it be nice to simply put your spiritual life on autopilot, so that you could feel at peace and enjoy the journey to Allah (swt)?
The beautiful news is that you can! In fact, Allah (swt) created the autopilot option just for you. The Prophet Muhammad (saws) told us that “The best actions are those that are small and consistent” [Bukhari and Muslim]. This hadith reveals the power of routine. A routine is a sequence of actions that is followed regularly. By implementing a routine in your life, you can autopilot to Allah (swt)!
With a Routine, Work Becomes Progress
Let’s think deeper about the hadith above. Why are small, consistent actions best? Chinese philosopher Lao-Tzu said “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” In other words, slow and steady is the only way to progress. With small actions each day, instead of feeling burdened by how much we have to do, we feel empowered when we look back and see what we have done over time. That’s the power of routine!
Start Small and Take Baby Steps
Allah (swt) tells us we are weak – but at the same time He tells us He wants to help us: Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak [Quran, 4:28]. Since we know we are weak, we should start small. Remember – small is best and small is powerful.
Take Action: Start These Simple Routines Today
The Sunnah is rich with routines we can benefit from, but we must implement them. Here are just a few of those routines that you can adopt to fuel your journey to Allah (swt):
- Pray salah (on time). If you aren’t praying salah, starting to pray five times is the most beneficial routine. If you are praying, upgrade to praying right at the time of the adhan as this is the most beloved deed to Allah (swt). You will benefit immediately because your time afterward will, in shaa Allah (swt), be filled with baraka. Each minute we delay salah is one minute closer to missing salah. Bonus: when al-Fajr is included in this effort then we would be awake to implement other prophetic routines, like reading Quran and saying dua.
- Fast on Mondays and Thursdays. Some of us worry about fasting the long days of Ramadhan that are drawing near. Yet a person who fasts on Mondays and Thursdays won’t find the transition into Ramadan nearly as hard – because they’ve already worked their way up to fasting those long days a little at a time. That person also reaps the benefits of fasting all year long.
- Read the Quran Daily. Reading just one ayah a day, or memorizing one word a day, can accumulate to include the whole Quran over time! Interaction with the Quran on a daily basis is an essential lifeline to Allah (swt).
- Make wudhu before sleeping. It only takes a minute or two to do this simple and beautiful Sunnah.
- Make daily dua and dhikr of the Prophet (saws). By establishing a practice of saying the things that the Prophet (saws) said each day, we can draw nearer to him (saws) and also invite more peace and blessings into our lives.
Routines are powerful, and Allah (swt) made them that way. He made the sun rise and set so that our journey to Him would be divided into one day at a time. Choose one daily routine of the Prophet (saws) to establish in your life. It’s time for you to autopilot to Allah (swt). Start small and stick with it. In shaa Allah (swt) soon it will not even feel like work; it will simply be part of how you live your life.
Kelly El-Yacoubi is a convert to Islam and freelance writer.