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4 Simple Challenges for You and Me

أَشْهَدُ أَنْ لَا إِلَٰهَ إِلَّا ٱللَّٰهُ وَأَشْهَدُ أَنَّ مُحَمَّدًا رَسُولُ ٱللَّٰهِ

‘I bear witness that there is no other god but Allah, and I bear witness that Sayyidina Muhammad SAW is The Prophet of Allah.’


The shahadah is the first and most important pillar of Islam hence, it is the noble oath that every Muslim must recite at least once in their life. The first part of this sacred testament is declaring the oneness of Allah SWT by believing that He has no partners nor is there any other deity worthy of worshipping (Tawheed). The second part is not only to testify that Prophet Muhammad SAW is His last messenger but also to follow his footsteps to our level best.


As practising Muslims, it is our duty to manifest and embody the attributes of our Beloved Prophet SAW as he is after all the chosen one and the best of all mankind. It is said by many scholars that in order to attain the divine love of Allah, we need to love His messenger first as it is stated in The Qur’an:


قُلۡ اِنۡ كُنۡتُمۡ تُحِبُّوۡنَ اللّٰهَ فَاتَّبِعُوۡنِىۡ يُحۡبِبۡكُمُ اللّٰهُ وَيَغۡفِرۡ لَـكُمۡ

ذُنُوۡبَكُمۡؕ​ وَاللّٰهُ غَفُوۡرٌ رَّحِيۡمٌ‏

(O Messenger!) Tell people: 'If you indeed love Allah, follow me, and Allah will love you and will forgive you your sins. Allah is All-Forgiving, All-Compassionate.'

(The Qur’an, 3:31)


Learning his way of life and embracing them in our daily practice is one of the best ways to perfect our faith. These sunnahs are actually extremely simple... in theory that is. In practice, however, they may be otherwise because it is impossible for anyone to amount to even an atom’s worth of his character. But it is commendable that we still try. For change to happen, there must be the intention and for intention, there must be wisdom. So without further ado, here are 4 simple daily sunnahs that you can adopt!



Rising Early


Now, what did I say about challenging yourself? I told you so. Certainly, many of us have inconsistent sleeping patterns and are already finding it hard to wake up for our 9.30 classes in the morning, let alone waking up for Fajr. I admit that it is a struggle for me as well, especially since the convenience and luxury of staying in hall have made me lazy and complacent with my time.


Prophet Muhammad SAW was an incredibly productive man and used to wake up before the sun rises. That sentence alone should be enough to convince you to rearrange your entire schedule immediately and start getting up early. But let us take a deeper dive, shall we? Many studies have shown that waking up early improves your cognitive function in terms of better concentration and enhanced memory. It also improves your state of mind as there is tranquillity like no other in the dawn of the morning. In fact, because of the numerous benefits to be reaped, health coaches and therapists do advise likewise to their clients and little do they know they are actually teaching the Prophet’s sunnah!



Smiling is Charity


It is narrated by Hadrat Ibn ‘Abbas that the Prophet said ‘The pious offspring who casts a single look of affection at his parents receives a reward from God equal to the reward of an accepted Hajj.’


How beautiful is that? One of my favourite things in Islam that I treasure wholeheartedly is the concept that every action or word, no matter how small or insignificant, could be a reason one enters Jannah (or not). Allah Almighty is All-seeing and All-knowing; He sees the things we do that go unnoticed by others and only He knows the depth of it. It may be skin deep to some, but a sincere smile from the heart could be more profound than we could ever imagine. It could soften one’s heart, spread goodness and even save one’s life. We might never know.


“I have never seen a man who smiled as much as the Messenger of Allah.”

(The Hadith, pp. Sunan At-Tirmidhi, Book 49, Hadith Number 4002)


Our Prophet SAW was cheerful and always smiling in the face of others, one of the easiest sunnahs to follow. It takes 43 muscles to frown, but only 17 muscles to smile. Smiling daily is known to reduce stress by releasing endorphins, reduce blood pressure and even strengthen our immune system as it releases more immune cells-- things that we could all use right now. So smile! And just like that, you get barakah. Amazing isn’t it?



Drinking and Eating


Our Prophet SAW has advised us to consume food such that it fills a third of our stomach, another third for water and the remaining for air. This helps us to practise moderation in our intake to ensure that we are not too greedy--also known as unconstrained snacking in hall, nor too miserly--also known as missing the cut-off time for Cates and having to starve yourself until the next delivery timing.


Before eating or drinking, and even before doing anything at all, we should say Bismillah and make a conscious effort to use our right hand. Although this comes naturally to most of the world population, some may still struggle with this even at this age. During consumption, it is important that we are seated down. According to experts, drinking large gulps of water while standing up ruins the fluid balance in the body and this could increase toxins in the body that could lead to arthritis, trigger fluid accumulation in the joints and affect the kidney’s functions. Hence for drinking water, take 3 sips at a time and for eating with hands, use 3 only fingers: thumb, index and middle fingers.


The last tip is to practice good adab especially for eating in a group setting where there is abundant food to be shared amongst people. It is advised to take the portion that you are nearest to so as to inhibit one from being selfish. Not only that, the act of blowing on food or drinks is prohibited as not only does it put people off but it also causes contamination of bacteria that could lead to transmission of diseases. So even when your food or drink is piping hot, no matter how hungry you are, try to be patient and wait it out.



Speak Nicely


مَا يَلْفِظُ مِن قَوْلٍ إِلَّا لَدَيْهِ رَقِيبٌ عَتِيدٌ

He utters not a word but there is by him a watcher at hand.

(The Qur’an 50:18 )


It is said that the Prophet SAW used different speaking styles and would speak to others according to their level of intelligence. When the Prophet talked, he was always humble, compassionate and merciful and when he wanted to teach some adab, he addressed them with soft and gentle words.


What you say reflects what is in your heart. Physiologically, some say that the strongest muscle of the human body is the masseter, a facial muscle, but metaphorically, the strongest muscle is the tongue. Our tongue holds the power to cause harm in unimaginable ways, intentionally or unintentionally. Thus we must always take heed in our manner of speech as we will be held accountable for every word uttered.


This is by far the hardest one to perfect for many of us as it has become such a norm in our society to talk about others with our friends or indulge in the latest celebrity drama. Even if it is not on the subject of other people, complaining about inconveniences is also to refrain from as it enables bad attitudes such as ungratefulness, impatience and rudeness. The rule is to either speak well or keep silent. Simple. Now let’s try that.


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These are just some simple daily sunnahs for those who are beginning their journey on the righteous path towards Allah. I pray that Allah SWT makes it easy for us in due time. If we truly knew our Beloved Prophet and the way he lived his life, our hearts would quaver. Though on the rookie-level, there is yet so much more wisdom to be revealed, I believe that not all knowledge is meant to be comprehensible to the human brain. Hence it is sometimes best for us to just follow without question. As to me, that is the beauty and essence of Iman. Dear reader, I hoped that reading this article would spark your interest in getting to know more about our Beloved Prophet SAW. Like he said: “You will be with those whom you love (on the Day of Judgement).” So InshaAllah, I hope to see you there with him.

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