Given that Last Day Leader is just about to begin this Sunday, I’m in the midst of a frenzy right now, making last-minute adjustments and improvements to the programme. I hope and pray that it will be an amazing experience for all the participants.
This workshop series captures the pinnacle of everything I know and believe. It distils more than ten years of my experience and reflection on how we can be the best we can possibly be – how we can remain fully aware of our last day in this life and really prepare for our accountability on the Last Day in the next.
If you’d like to take the plunge with me and a band of fellow believers to go on an exciting journey of self-discovery, there’s still time to do so. Just click here.
And enjoy this edition of INsights! I’ve deliberately made it shorter this time, but with more video content for those who’d like to explore further. May God bless you always.
Bismillah, let’s begin in the name of God. Here are some insights…
Let’s use the P.R.A.Y. framework:
P is for Problem: A common issue we face is when our primary motivation to pray is fear, in particular the fear of divine punishment.
If you think this isn’t a problem for you, ask yourself the following questions:
- if praying five times every 24 hours was encouraged but not obligatory, would I still do them?
- if hellfire didn’t exist and it was either paradise or non-existence in the hereafter, would I still pray as regularly?
Unless the answer is a resounding “yes!” to both questions, it’s likely we can improve our motivation when it comes to prayer.
R is for Realisation: Fear has its place for sure. When we are in the grip of laziness and forgetfulness, fear of punishment can be a helpful motivator. And God mentions that one of the qualities of believers is that they are fearful of Him and His punishment.
But we need to understand that fear can only take us so far. No healthy relationship can be based on fear as the main emotional driver. Eventually, it becomes exhausting and demotivating, which is why our Lord complements fear with an encouragement to be hopeful. Ultimately though, He directs us towards a relationship built on genuine appreciation and love.
A is for Action: The way to resolve this issue is to engage in regular reflection that will help adjust our mindset. Whenever you feel demotivated to pray, and if avoiding punishment is really the only thing pushing you to pray, then seize the opportunity to think more directly about the kind of relationship you really want to have with your Lord. Think of the things you know about God that should dazzle, amaze and captivate you. Think of the things it’s worth being grateful for, happy about, satisfied with.
Deep down, we all desire a state of contentment rather than friction. There is no running away from God. So just run towards Him wholeheartedly.
Y is for Yield, meaning the result: Ultimately, when prayer is a labour of love, it really becomes the most irreplaceable part of your existence. You look forward to it, enjoy it, really benefit from it. Now that’s something worth striving for!
Every day in our prayers, we say the Opening Chapter, Surah al-Fatihah. And that involves us saying, “You alone we serve and You alone we ask for help.”
But do we really turn to God alone for help? Is He always our first port of call when things get hard? Or do we only go to Him when all other options seem to have run out? And do we quickly despair and lose patience in waiting for an answer?
There are two sets of verses in the Qur’an that both tell us to “seek help with steadfastness (sabr) and prayer (salat).” (Chapter 2, The Cow, Verses 45 and 153). Try looking them up now and take a moment to ponder them. This video will help you too…
The recent UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) got me thinking about our (lack of) leadership in this area as believers. As is normally the case, God-centered or faith-based voices seem to be largely missing from an important public debate.
Why is this happening? Why are we not taking the initiative to voice our thoughtful opinions about such a critical issue? In particular, why are we not using the opportunity to remind people that unless they turn fully to God, then it’s unlikely that the environmental issue will ever be solved in a sustainable way – pun intended!
After all, God says, “Corruption has spread on land and sea as a result of people’s actions and He will make them taste the consequences of some of their own actions so that they may turn back.” (Chapter 30, The Byzantines, Verse 41)
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I hope you enjoyed and benefited from this edition of INsights. Please comment below with your feedback.
Have a blessed fortnight. I'll see you in two Fridays, God willing
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