“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.” Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240
“Don’t let a day go by without opening the mushaf (reading the Quran).”
I pondered on these words as the imaam in the masjid delivered a lecture a few years ago. It was as though he was talking directly to me.
Like he heard me say I don’t have the time… for all of that… lessons at the masjid, memorizing the Quran. I am too busy but I really want to change my life.. I want to learn more about the religion, I want to learn the Arabic language.. but how??
If one is busy (and/or has a weak imaan *faith) like in my case?
As I was making 101 excuses in my mind,
he asked “Do you not have 10 minutes a day?”
In that moment something changed, see most us want to change our lives but a few us actually do. We have the time, we just don’t use it wisely. The difference between the most productive people and us (the not so productive ones) comes down to the power of our habits. Our daily lives are often a series of behavioral patterns played out throughout the day, without thinking or consciously intending. So while some have positive habits that set them up for success, others have habits that set them up failure.
This is why it is important for us as Muslims to be intentional and mindful of everything we do, say and think. It is one of the wisdom behind why our deeds are only rewarded according to their intentions and why we are encouraged to always renew our intentions.
Umar ibn Al-Khattab reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace, and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, deeds are only with intentions. Verily, every person will have only what they intended. Whoever emigrated to Allah and his messenger, then his emigration is for Allah and his messenger. Whoever emigrated to get something in the world or to marry a woman, then his emigration is for whatever he emigrated for.” (Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī)
Developing Habits in 10 minutes a day:
The good news is that habits can be changed and new ones can be developed. I am a living example, Alhamdulillah I can say that for the most part other than missing a day here and there I have not let days pass without opening the Quran to read it. It didn’t matter how many ayahs I read, what time of day it was or where I was. I just had to read it for at least 10 minutes every single day, it was non negotiable. It worked so well for me that since then I have used the same technique to develop other habits because there is just no excuse not to have 10 minutes a day to take small steps towards a bigger goal.
Why the 10 minute a day technique works:
- For those of us who get overwhelmed with too many steps or complicated processes this is straightforward and simple to understand and implement way of developing good habits.
- Anyone can do it because it’s only 10 minutes, not 30 or 60 minutes. Just 10 minutes.
- Consistency, this small act turns into a habit. So while some days you might just hit the 10-minute mark other days you will lose track of time.
- There is no pressure, instead you are focusing on the progress you are making. Which in turn gives you a sense of accomplishment.
How to intentionally develop habits:
- Set a clear goal: What is the end goal? Start with the end in mind. If you want to finish the quran then action steps like the amount of ayah’s you will memorize a day.
- Start small and keep it simple: The easier it is the longer you will stick to it.
- Focus on 1 habit at a time
- Stay consistent
Ideas for Spiritual Habits
There are many spiritual habits that can be developed in just 10 minutes a day or less , here are some ideas to get you started and remember it is better that you stay consistent with 1 habit than to start and stop different ones.
Abdullah bin Amr bin Al-as reported: Messenger of Allah (sallallaahu ’alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “O Abdullah! Do not be like so-and-so; he used to get up at night for optional prayer but abandoned it later.” (Bukhari and Muslim)
P.S: Don’t forget to sign up here for our upcoming 7 day challenge. As more and more sisters want to boost their energy and productivity by developing better habits, we thought it would be great to start some challenges that will inspire change inshaa allah. Let’s just say that for the first challenge we will uncover what is keeping you up at night.