What comes to mind when you hear the word ‘quality’? A product or service maybe offered by a company usually accompanied by the phrase “getting your money’s worth” or “getting more for your buck”? Yes, to an extent it is true that the ‘seal of quality’ should be on all brands produced by Muslims for profit. Yet, that is just part of it. How about ‘you’ branded with the seal of quality? How about you receiving the seal of approval from Allah (SWT), and stamped with a seal that reads “Muslim of Quality.” Wouldn’t that guarantee insha Allah that whatever emanates from you is of quality?
Allah (SWT) says in the Qur’an, “How often a little community has overcome a much larger community by the permission of Allah. And Allah is with the patient. . .” (2:249).And to further drive this point home in another ayah Allah (SWT) addresses the Muslim army in the battle of Hunayn saying: “God gave you victory on many a battlefield. Recall the Day of Hunayn, when you fancied your great number but it did not help you one whit. So, the earth, for all its wide expanse, narrowed before you, and you turned fail and fled. Then God made His serenity descend upon His Messenger and the believers. . . ” (9:25). On close examination of these two ayat in the Qur’an and a quick birds-eye view of glorious moments in our Islamic history, the myth of success lies in numbers is shattered. Yet, many Muslims today rant and rave about the fact that the numbers of Muslims is on the rise, which is true no doubt, yet this rise in number does not translate into the strength and success of this Ummah among others. They are many but as the Prophet (saw) describes them in his famous hadith, “Rather, on that day you will be many, but you will be like foam, like the foam on the river. . .” [Saheeh: Related by Abu Dawood (no.4297)]
The brands of Muslims, although available and in surplus, is unfortunately ‘not of quality’. They are the valley so low as opposed to being the mountain so high, as the title of this post suggests. More importantly they have chosen to be so.
This was the topic of our past Circle of Light Halaqa in which we reflected on the story of Talut and Jalut (Saul and Goliath) in Surat Al Baqara ayat 246-251. We witnessed Allah filtering the Children of Israel through submitting them to a number of tests, and extracting from them a generation of 313 who were qualified for Allah’s promise of success. We concluded that in essence the weakness of our Ummah is not because of the power and success of other nations, but because we have not yet met the criteria for Allah (SWT) to grant us the pre-ordained success of the believers. We too wondered if our Muslim personalities were missing those same quality traits that disqualified huge numbers among the Children of Israel in the Talut and Jalut story. Those personality traits that qualified the ‘few’ as Allah (SWT) calls them were: 1) courage 2) determination; 3) discipline; and 4) loyalty. So, we pondered on ways to incorporate them into our daily lives so that with each day we could come closer to receiving that seal of approval that reads “Muslim of Quality” that would qualify us for the favor of ‘success’ that Allah (SWT) has bestowed on believers in the past and promised those of the future.
So, here is the activity/challenge we decided on. Every month, each one of us would take on a 30 day personal challenge called “30 day Muslim of Quality Project” which would focus on five categories: 1) Spiritual; 2) Physical/Health; 3)Knowledge; 4) Habits/Manners; 5)Activism/Volunteering/Charity work. Sisters Zakya, Bahja, Idil, Amal and I put together a schedule to help you all out. Click 30 day challenge for the document.
In each category you will determine 3 goals to focus on in 30 days. For instance, Spiritual: praying Fajr on time, reading morning and evening Adhkar, reading Surat Al Kahf on Fridays, praying Quiyam Al Layl 3 times a week, fasting 3 days this month, reading a page of Qur’an after every prayer etc.; Physical/Health: exercising for an hour every day, substituting coffee for green tea with every meal, incorporating 1 fruit and 1 vegetables per day; Knowledge: reading a book of quality a week, reading tafseer of 1 ayah per day, learning about 1 name and attribute of Allah (SWT) per day, reading a hadith a day and applying it etc; Habits/ Manners: whether it is ridding of yourself of bad ones or picking up good ones. For example, stop procrastinating on homework and dedicate 2hrs to homework every day after fajr prayer, clean my room once a week etc.; Activism/volunteering/charitable work: tutoring others in language, Qur’an, or any skill Allah (SWT) has blessed you with, volunteering in soup kitchen or food shelf etc.
Pick and choose your challenges, and make sure that you stick to them. Here are some tips the sisters shared:
Make sure your challenges are realistic–don’t get over ambitious. Keep them real, few and prioritize. For instance, praying Fajr on time is more important spiritually than fasting three days a month.
- Make sure your challenge is well defined–for instance, “Strengthening my trust in Allah” is vague. So, rather “In order to strengthen my trust in Allah, I will take on the task of educating myself on one of the Names and Attributes of Allah” every day.
- If you are going to be working out for instance, make sure you include how many times a week, for how many hours. The more defined the more likely you will stick to it.
- Keep a journal entry–of no more than 1 page a day–to reflect on the accomplishments or under accomplishments on any given day.
- Encourage yourself in whatever way you see fit, such as buying yourself a new journal for instance.
- Make sure you incorporate your monthly goals into your daily schedules.
- Make sure you keep your schedule where you can see it. Post it on your wall and make sure you give yourself a “green check mark for ACCOMPLISHED” “Orange check mark for ALMOST” and “Red check mark for NOT ACCOMPLISHED” for a particular day.
Please share your thoughts by commenting to this entry and feel free to share with others. Our goal is that every Muslim on the face of this earth be a mountain so high and never a valley too low. Jazaakum Allah Khayr.