1) Ask Allah: Dua:
Turn each anxiety, each fear and each concern into a Dua (supplication) . Look at it as another reason to submit to Allah and be in Sajdah (prostration), during which you are closest to Allah. He listens and already knows what is in your heart, but He wants you to ask Him for what you want. Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Allah is angry with those who do not ask Him for anything.” (Tirmidhi)
Rasulullah (SAW) once said that in prayer, he would find rest and relief (Nasai). He would also regularly ask for Allah’s forgiveness and remain in prostration during prayer praising Allah (Tasbeeh) and asking for His forgiveness (Bukhari).
Allah wants us to be specific. Rasulullah (SAW) advised us to ask Allah for exactly what we want instead of making vague Duas. Dua is the essence of worship (Rasulullah (SAW) as quoted in Tirmidhi).
ٱدۡعُواْ رَبَّكُمۡ تَضَرُّعً۬ا وَخُفۡيَةًۚ إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُعۡتَدِينَ (٥٥) وَلَا تُفۡسِدُواْ فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِ بَعۡدَ إِصۡلَـٰحِهَا وَٱدۡعُوهُ خَوۡفً۬ا وَطَمَعًاۚ إِنَّ رَحۡمَتَ ٱللَّهِ قَرِيبٌ۬ مِّنَ ٱلۡمُحۡسِنِينَ (٥٦)
“Call on your Lord with humility and in private: for Allah loveth not those who trespass beyond bounds. Do not make mischief on the earth, after it hath been set in order, but call on Him with fear. And longing (in your hearts): for the mercy of Allah is (always) near to those who do good.” (Surah Al-Araf 7:55-56)
2) Do your Part:
One day Rasulullah (SAW) noticed a Bedouin leaving his camel without tying it. Rasulullah (SAW) asked the Bedouin, “Why don’t you tie down your camel? The Bedouin answered, “I put my trust in Allah.” Rasulullah (SAW) then said, “Tie your camel first, then put your trust in Allah.” (Tirmidhi)
Muslims must never become fatalistic. Although we know only Allah is in control and that He has decreed all things, we are each responsible for making the right choices and doing the right thing in all situations of our lives. We must take action we must work to alleviate the hardships we, our families and our communities face.
لَهُ ۥ مُعَقِّبَـٰتٌ۬ مِّنۢ بَيۡنِ يَدَيۡهِ وَمِنۡ خَلۡفِهِۦ يَحۡفَظُونَهُ ۥ مِنۡ أَمۡرِ ٱللَّهِۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوۡمٍ حَتَّىٰ يُغَيِّرُواْ مَا بِأَنفُسِہِمۡۗ وَإِذَآ أَرَادَ ٱللَّهُ بِقَوۡمٍ۬ سُوٓءً۬ا فَلَا مَرَدَّ لَهُ ۥۚ وَمَا لَهُم مِّن دُونِهِۦ مِن وَالٍ (١١)
“For him are angels ranged before him and behind him, who guard him by Allah’s command. Lo! Allah changed not the condition of a folk until they (first) change that which is in their hearts; and if Allah willeth misfortune for a folk there is none that can repel it, nor have they a defender beside Him..”(Surah Rad 13: 11)
Turn each worry into a Dua and each Dua into an action plan. That will show your commitment to your request and will focus your energy in the right direction.
3) Remember that human responsibility is limited:
While we need to carry out our duty to the best of our abilities, always remember that you don’t control the outcome of events. Even the Prophets did not control the outcome of their efforts. Some were successful, others were not. Once you have done your duty, leave the results to Allah. Regardless of the results of your efforts, you will be rewarded for the part you have played. However, never underestimate your abilities. Understand the concept of Baraka (blessings from Allah) and remember that Allah can and Insha’Allah will expand them if you are sincerely exerting your energies for the right path.
4) Leave the world behind you five times a day:
Use the five daily prayers as a means to become more Hereafter-oriented and less attached to this temporary world. Start distancing yourself as soon as you hear Adhan, the call to prayer. When you perform Wudhu, keep repeating Shahadah, the declaration of faith, as water drops slip down your face, hands, arms, and hair. When you stand ready to pray, mentally prepare yourself to leave this world and all of its worries and stresses behind you.
Of course, Shaytaan will try to distract you during prayer. But whenever this happens, go back and remember Allah. The more you return, the more Allah will reward you for it. Also, make sure your Sajdah (prostrations) are talking Sajdah’s, in which you are really connecting to Allah and seeking His Mercy, praising Him, and asking His forgiveness.
5) Seek help through Sabr:
Seek help through Sabr and Salah (Surah Baqarah 2:45). This instruction from Allah provides us with two critical tools that can ease our worries and pain. Patience and prayer are two oft-neglected stress busters. Sabr is often translated as patience but it is not just that. It includes self-control, perseverance, endurance, and a focussed struggle to achieve one’s goal. Unlike patience, which implies resignation, the concept of Sabr includes a duty to remain steadfast to achieve your goals despite all odds. Being patient gives us control in situations where we feel we have little or no control. ‘We cannot control what happens to us but we can control our reaction to our circumstances’ is the mantra of many modern-day self-help books. Patience helps us keep our mind and attitude towards our difficulties in check.
6) You are not running this world, Allah is:
It is important to remind ourselves that we don’t control all the variables in the world. Allah does. He is the Wise, the All-Knowing. Sometimes our limited human faculties are not able to comprehend His wisdom behind what happens to us and to others, but knowing that He is in control and that as human beings we submit to His Will, enriches our humanity and enhances our obedience (Ubaidah in Arabic) towards him. Familiarize yourself with His Attributes. It is a powerful way of knowing Him.
ٱللَّهُ لَآ إِلَـٰهَ إِلَّا هُوَ ٱلۡحَىُّ ٱلۡقَيُّومُۚ لَا تَأۡخُذُهُ ۥ سِنَةٌ۬ وَلَا نَوۡمٌ۬ۚ لَّهُ ۥ مَا فِى ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَمَا فِى ٱلۡأَرۡضِۗ مَن ذَا ٱلَّذِى يَشۡفَعُ عِندَهُ ۥۤ إِلَّا بِإِذۡنِهِۦۚ يَعۡلَمُ مَا بَيۡنَ أَيۡدِيهِمۡ وَمَا خَلۡفَهُمۡۖ وَلَا يُحِيطُونَ بِشَىۡءٍ۬ مِّنۡ عِلۡمِهِۦۤ إِلَّا بِمَا شَآءَۚ وَسِعَ كُرۡسِيُّهُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٲتِ وَٱلۡأَرۡضَۖ وَلَا يَـُٔودُهُ ۥ حِفۡظُهُمَاۚ وَهُوَ ٱلۡعَلِىُّ ٱلۡعَظِيمُ (٢٥٥)
“Allah-there is no deity save Him, the Ever-Living, the Self-Subsistent Fount of All being. Neither slumber overtakes Him, nor sleep. His is all that is in the heavens and all that is on earth. Who is there that could intercede with Him, unless it be by His leave? He knows all that lies open before men and all that is hidden from them, whereas they cannot attain to aught of His knowledge save that which He wills them to attain. His eternal power overspreads the heavens and the earth, and their upholding wearies Him not. And He alone is truly exalted, tremendous.” (Surah Baqarah 2:255)
Rasulullah (SAW) recommended reading Ayah al kursi, after each prayer.
7) Birds Don’t Carry their Food:
Allah is al Razzaq (the Provider).
وَڪَأَيِّن مِّن دَآبَّةٍ۬ لَّا تَحۡمِلُ رِزۡقَهَا ٱللَّهُ يَرۡزُقُهَا وَإِيَّاكُمۡۚ وَهُوَ ٱلسَّمِيعُ ٱلۡعَلِيمُ (٦٠)
“How many are the creatures that carry not their own sustenance? It is Allah Who feeds them and you, for He hears and knows all things.” (Surah Ankabut 29:60)
By reminding yourself that He is the Provider, you will remember that getting a job or providing for your family in these economically and politically challenging times, when Muslims are often the last to be hired and the first to be fired, is in Allah’s Hands, not yours. As Allah says in the Quran:
وَيَرۡزُقۡهُ مِنۡ حَيۡثُ لَا يَحۡتَسِبُۚ وَمَن يَتَوَكَّلۡ عَلَى ٱللَّهِ فَهُوَ حَسۡبُهُ ۥۤۚ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ بَـٰلِغُ أَمۡرِهِۦۚ قَدۡ جَعَلَ ٱللَّهُ لِكُلِّ شَىۡءٍ۬ قَدۡرً۬ا (٣)
“And He provides for him from (sources) he never could imagine. And if anyone puts his trust in Allah, sufficient is (Allah) for him. For Allah will surely accomplish His purpose. Verily, for all things has Allah appointed a due proportion.” (Surah Talaaq 65:3)
8) Allah controls Life and Death:
If you fear for your physical safety and security, remember that only Allah gives life and takes it back and, that He has appointed the time for it. No one can harm you except if Allah wills. As Allah says:
أَيۡنَمَا تَكُونُواْ يُدۡرِككُّمُ ٱلۡمَوۡتُ وَلَوۡ كُنتُمۡ فِى بُرُوجٍ۬ مُّشَيَّدَةٍ۬ۗ
“Wherever you are, death will find you out, even if you are in towers built up strong and high!” (Surah Nisa 4:78)
9) Remember that life is short:
It’s easy to get caught up in our own stress and anxiety. However, if we remember that our life is short and temporary, and that the everlasting life is in the Hereafter, this will put our worries in perspective. This belief in the transitory nature of the life of this world reminds us that whatever difficulties, trials, anxieties, and grief we suffer in this world are, Insha’Allah, something we will only experience for a short period of time. And more importantly, if we handle these tests with patience, Allah will reward us for it.
أَلَا بِذِڪۡرِ ٱللَّهِ تَطۡمَٮِٕنُّ ٱلۡقُلُوبُ
“… without doubt in the remembrance (Dhikr) of Allah do hearts find tranquillity.” (Surah Rad 13:28)
If you commute, use your time in Dhikr. Pick any Tasbeeh and do that instead of listening to the radio or reading the newspaper. Maybe you can divide it up between Dhikr and planning. Rasulullah (SAW) taught us these two (“Subhana Allahe wa be hamdihi, subhan Allahil Azeem”) short phrases which are easy to say but will weigh heavy on our scale of good deeds in the Hereafter. When your heart feels heavy with stress or grief, remember Allah and surround yourself with His Zikr. Zikr refers to all forms of the remembrance of Allah, including Salah, Tasbeeh, Tahmeed, Tahleel, making supplication (Dua), and reading Quran.
وَقَالَ رَبُّڪُمُ ٱدۡعُونِىٓ أَسۡتَجِبۡ لَكُمۡۚ إِنَّ ٱلَّذِينَ يَسۡتَكۡبِرُونَ عَنۡ عِبَادَتِى
“And your Lord says: ‘Call on Me; I will answer your (prayer)…” (Surah Ghafir 40:60)
By remembering Allah in the way He has taught us to, we are more likely to gain acceptance of our prayers and His Mercy in times of difficulty. We are communicating with the only One Who not only Hears and Knows all, but Who can change our situation and give us the patience to deal with our difficulties.
فَٱذۡكُرُونِىٓ أَذۡكُرۡكُمۡ وَٱشۡڪُرُواْ لِى وَلَا تَكۡفُرُونِ (١٥٢)
“Remember Me, and I shall remember you; be grateful to Me, and deny Me not.” (Surah Baqarah 2:152)
11) Relying on Allah:
When you awaken in the morning, thank Allah for giving you life after that short death called sleep. When you step out of your home, say “in Your Name Allah, I put my trust in Allah, and there is no power or force except with Allah.” (Bismillahi Tawakal to al Allah wa la hawla wa la quwwata illa billah). At night, remember Allah, with His praises on your lips. Once you have established a plan you intend to follow through on to deal with a specific issue or problem in your life, put your trust in the most Wise and the All-Knowing.
إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُتَوَكِّلِينَ
“When you have taken a decision, put your trust in Allah.” (Surah Imran 3: 159)
Rely on Allah by constantly remembering Him throughout your day. When you lay down to sleep, remember that sleep is death. That is why one of the recommended supplications before going to sleep is “with Your (Allah’s) Name I die and become alive”.
12) Compare your dining table with that of those who don’t have as much as you do:
Rasulullah (SAW) said: “Whenever you see someone better than you in wealth, face or figure, you should look at someone who is inferior to you in these respects (so that you may thank Allah for His blessings).” (Bukhari, Muslim)
Next time you sit down to eat, eye the table carefully. Check out the selection of food, the quality, the taste, the quantity, and then think of the millions of others who don’t have even half as much. The Prophet’s Hadith reminds us of this so that we can appreciate and thank Allah for all that we have. Also remember that Rasulullah (SAW) only encouraged us to compare ourselves to others in two respects: in our Islamic knowledge and level of belief in Allah (Deen). In these two areas, we should compare ourselves with those who have more than what we do.
13) Say it Loud: Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar: Takbirat & Adhan:
Find a corner of a lake, go out in the wilderness, or even stand on your lawn at your home and call the Adhan with your heart. While driving, instead of listening to the same news over and over again, say Allahu Akbar as loudly as you can or as softly as you want, based on your mood.
14) Pray in congregation (Jamat):
Pray with other people instead of alone. If you can’t pray all five prayers in congregation, at least find one or two prayers you can pray with others. If you are away, establish Jamat in your own family. During Rasulullah (SAW) time, even though the Muslims endured great persecution, including physical beatings, they would sometimes meet on the side of a mountain or valley and tried to pray together. This is a great morale booster.
15) How is your Imam’s Dua?:
Does the Imam at your local mosque make Dua silently or out loud? Ask him to supplicate with the whole congregation. Suggest Duas for him to make. Ask him to make Dua for other people.
16) Work for the Unity of Muslims:
Bringing Muslims together will not only help the Muslims, but it will also encourage you to focus your energies on something constructive versus zeroing in on and consistently fretting about difficulties you are going through. Invite Muslims from other ethnic groups to your functions. Visit Masjid other than yours in your city.
17) Sleep the way Rasulullah (SAW) slept:
End your day on a positive note. Make Wudhu, then think of your day. Thank Allah for all the good things you accomplished, like Dhikr and Salah. Ask yourself what you did today to bring humanity together and what you did to help Muslims become servants of humanity. For everything positive, say Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah). For everything negative say Astaghfirullah wa atoobo ilayk (I seek Allah’s forgiveness and I turn to You [Allah]). Recite the last two chapters of the Quran, thinking and praying as you turn on your right side with your hand below your right cheek, the way Rasulullah (SAW) used to sleep. Then close your day with the name of Allah on your tongue. Insha’Allah, you will have a good, restful night.
18) Begin the Day on a Positive Note:
Get up early. Get up thanking Allah that He has given you another day. Alhamdu lillahil lazi ahyana bada ma amatana, wa ilaihin Nushoor (Praise be to Allah Who gave us life after death and unto Him will be the return). Develop your to do list for the day if you didn’t do it the night before. Begin with the name of Allah, with Whose name nothing in the heavens or the earth can hurt you. He is the Highest and the Greatest. (Bismillahillazi la yazurru maa ismihi shaiun fil arze wa la fis samae, wahuwal Alee ul Azeem). Rasulullah (SAW) used to say this after every Fajr and Maghrib prayers.
19) Avoid Media Overexposure: Switch from News to Books:
Don’t spend too much time checking out the news on the radio, television or internet. Spend more time reading good books and journals. When you listen to the persistent barrage of bad news, especially relating to Muslims nowadays, you feel not only depressed, but powerless. Cut down media time to reduce your stress and anxiety. It’s important to know what’s going on but not to an extent that it ruins your day or your mood.
20) Pray for Others to Heal Yourself:
Rasulullah (SAW) was always concerned about other people, Muslims and non-Muslims, and would regularly pray for them. Praying for others connects you with them and helps you understand their suffering. This in itself has a healing component to it.
21) Make the Quran your Partner:
Reading and listening to the Quran will help refresh our hearts and our minds. Recite it out loud or in a low voice. Listen to it in the car. When you are praying Nafl or extra prayers, pick it up and use it to recite portions of the Quran you are not as familiar with. Connecting to the Quran means connecting to Allah. Let it be a means to heal your heart of stress and worries.
يَـٰٓأَيُّہَا ٱلنَّاسُ قَدۡ جَآءَتۡكُم مَّوۡعِظَةٌ۬ مِّن رَّبِّڪُمۡ وَشِفَآءٌ۬ لِّمَا فِى ٱلصُّدُورِ وَهُدً۬ى وَرَحۡمَةٌ۬ لِّلۡمُؤۡمِنِينَ (٥٧)
“O humanity! There has come to you a direction from your Lord and a cure for all [the ills] in men’s hearts – and for those who believe, a Guidance and a Mercy.” (Surah Yunus 10:57)
22) Be thankful to Allah:
وَإِذۡ تَأَذَّنَ رَبُّكُمۡ لَٮِٕن شَڪَرۡتُمۡ لَأَزِيدَنَّكُمۡۖ وَلَٮِٕن ڪَفَرۡتُمۡ إِنَّ عَذَابِى لَشَدِيدٌ۬ (٧)
“If you are grateful, I will give you more.” (Surah Ebrahim 14:7)
Counting our blessings helps us not only be grateful for what we have, but it also reminds us that we are so much better off than millions of others, whether that is in terms of our health, family, financial situation, or other aspects of our life. And being grateful for all we have helps us maintain a positive attitude in the face of worries and challenges we are facing almost daily.
23) Ideals: One step at a time:
Ideals are wonderful things to pursue. But do that gradually. Think, prioritize, plan, and move forward. One step at a time.
24) Efforts not Results Count in the Eyes of Allah:
Our success depends on our sincere efforts to the best of our abilities. It is the mercy of Allah that He does not demand results, Alhamdulillah. He is happy if He finds us making our best sincere effort.
Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good (Islam), enjoining Al-Ma'ruf (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.
( سورة آل عمران , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #104)
( سورة آل عمران , Aal-e-Imran, Chapter #3, Verse #104)