The spiritual highs and lows of Ramadhan this year really got me wondering why we can’t enjoy this feeling all year round, and prompted me to put together a few tips that will hopefully gear us towards remembering Allah in even the most mind-numbing parts of our day.
Finding Allah in the Mundanity of Parenthood
Shahr Ramadhan probably feels like a lifetime ago for some of us- what with the chaos and busy-ness of Eid, and then shifting back into the usual routines as a family. It’s very easy to feel like the spirituality that we were basking in for an entire month has quickly fizzled away for another 11. But it doesn’t have to be that way!
As I enjoyed a little more quiet time (as quiet as it can get with a teething toddler!) this Ramadhan, I started to wonder why it can’t be like this all year around. One of the conclusions I came to was this: often we fall into the trap of thinking that Islam is a part of our life- we compartmentalise it and try and find pockets of time to fit in activities that sound or feel ‘Islamic’ to us- reciting a Juz of Qur’an, the night prayer, fasting now and then, reciting a Du’a. And all these things are amazing and carry immense merit.
However, the reality is that Islam was meant to be a way of life- a way of life which if we implemented correctly, we would find Allah and the now sorely missed spirituality in everything that we do.
Imam Ali is famously quoted to have said: ‘I see nothing except that I see Allah before it, after it, in it and with it.¹’ Imam Ali also carried out seemingly mundane tasks. He certainly didn’t spend his entire day on a prayer mat, and yet this statement suggests that he was in a constant state of Dhikr– the remembrance of Allah.
The spiritual highs and lows of Shahr Ramadhan this year really got me thinking, and prompted me to put together a few tips (first and foremost for myself!) that will hopefully gear us towards remembering Allah in even the most mind-numbing parts of our day.
Focus on quality, not quantity (or time)
If we struggle to find an adequate amount of time to recite an entire Juz or Surah of the Qur’an or an entire Du’a, it doesn’t have to be all or nothing! Even one verse or a few verses that we can reflect on throughout the day carries value in the eyes of Allah and will benefit us immensely. No matter how many verses we read or how long it takes us, the most weighty thing about any of our actions will always be our sincerity.
Get the children involved
As much as we crave some quiet or alone time to connect with our Creator, our children learn far more effectively through our actions, rather than our words. Our worship, much like every other aspect of our lives, will look quite different as parents. It might mean Qur’an recitation is a loud family affair, prayers are now in congregation and a little more chaotic as we wait for the last little one to complete their Wudhu, or that the supplications after Salah take a little longer as it’s the kids’ turn to recite today. We may not feel the same way we used to when we did these things pre-kids, but we will benefit along with our families in a different way. It’s just a new season of life!
Don’t underestimate the “little” things
I say this totally due to a lack of a better word. No act of Dhikr is little or small in the eyes of Allah, but we often forget the magnitude of saying ‘Bismillah’ before starting a task, ‘Alhamdulillah’ when Allah allows things to work in our favour, the merit of initiating a Salam or spraying a bit of perfume before commencing Salah. The list of these very easy-to-do recommended acts is endless! If we take a little time to revisit these acts and their merits, we will find them so much more enjoyable to implement.
Speak to Allah throughout the day
Again, we may be used to being able to set time aside and have dedicated time to speak to Allah (other than our daily prayers), but we all sometimes have days when those 10 minutes just don’t come! Instead, we can try to embellish those ‘meh’ moments by checking in with Allah- while we’re rocking the little one to sleep for a nap, when we’re driving to do the school run, as we prepare a meal for the family or driving home from work excited to see the family after a long day. This is what really makes those mundane moments mean a lot more.
Use the Asma al Husna
The 99 names of Allah are such an amazing reminder as to how He has a hand in everything about our day. We might remember that He is al-Hakeem, the Wise when we are stuck in a difficult situation and need a way out. Or that He is al-Jameel, the Beautiful when we see one of His beautiful creations. If we take some time to explore these glorious names, insha’Allah we will remember Allah in the moments when we usually struggle to as well.
Stop with the guilt!
My first Ramadhan as a parent was ridden with guilt for not completing the usual acts of worship I would in previous years. This year, I cut myself some slack and acknowledged that looking after a child is an act of worship as well! Instead of the guilt, let’s be grateful for the opportunities Allah has given us to grow, even if it feels different to our previous spiritual growth.
With a slight shift in our mindset, I pray we can fill more of our day-to-day moments with the remembrance of Allah and feel the peace and tranquility we crave so much.