The journey of motherhood, and the aim of undertaking it with the utmost effort to be most productive, has been explored in first two parts of this series. But in spite of our best efforts we still hit a rough patch.
How do we get back on track? How do we motivate ourselves to be a productive mother once more?In this article, we’ll explore the inner heart so you’ll have the tools to boost your iman when things get overwhelming.
Experiencing Those Low Iman Days
The ultimate goal of a Productive Muslimah is to “spend each day better than the one gone by”. We aim at increasing the quality of our worship and fulfilling all our duties.
When we have faith, we can breeze through each day. Nothing seems impossible! Come what may, we are able to smile and manage everything, Alhamdulillah!
And then slowly, the brightness dims and we cannot seem to muster the strength to do anything. The household chores seem mountainous and the worship seems to lack any steam. Suddenly the connection with Allah (glorified and exalted be He) is breaking, or feels broken.
Nobody likes to go through these “low morale” days, but as Productive Muslimahs, we call them “low iman” days. And especially as mothers, we really cannot afford these days, right?
So first, let’s see explore the reasons behind it before we look for the cure.
Exploring the Inner Heart
The high and low of morale or iman as Productive Muslims call it is a reality of our lives in this world and a battle that needs to be continuously fought.
Yes, it is tiring. And at first glance something that we don’t really need. But, in truth, it is something that actually strengthens us and hence proves to be more beneficial than harmful.
First, we need to identify the root cause or causes of our low iman and diminished morale. With honest introspection, we can quickly pinpoint the parts of our heart that shaytan is taking advantage of, and then we can rectify it with tools that will not just boost up our iman again, but also make it stronger, In sha Allah.
Here is a simple process you can use to guide you:
- Make & Enlist the “Good” Intentions
Our intentions behind doing any deed play an important role in the lows and high of faith and morale. We generally start with the correct intention of doing it all to please Allah (glorified and exalted be He), but somewhere down the line that gets mixed up with self-recognition, self-satisfaction, arrogance etc.Hence thinking of a good intention, saying it aloud and further writing it down helps to keep them in check. By writing down the good intentions that you initially started with, you’ll realign your heart to your true purpose. Only then, are you better able to identify the whisperings of shaytan that has permeated your heart and deviated you.
- Enlist & Organise Your Priorities
An incorrect intention leads us to mix up our priorities. As productive mothers, our main responsibility is our children and husband, but somewhere down the road, the self-satisfaction we get from doing something of our own makes can mix up the order of our priorities. That then leads to guilt, until finally it gets too overwhelming for us to bear and our iman/morale takes a nose dive.So offer Salat-ul-Istikhara and ask Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to tell where you went wrong and then sit down with yourself. Get your Daily Taskinator out and your Ultimate Goal Planner. Analyze yourself: are you fulfilling all your duties according to their priorities? Are you fulfilling the promises that you made to Allah (glorified and exalted be He), yourself and others? Re-strategise, organise and de-clutter your daily to-do list.
- Identify if You Are Under-Planning or Over-Planning Your Day
Sometimes, we don’t use the correct resources available to figure out the best manner in which we can plan and organise our duties and responsibilities. But sometimes, the opposite also occurs. We go over board and plan too much, but when unexpected events throw our neat routine into a tizzy, we lose control, start feeling like a failure and hit a low in moral or iman.So analyse carefully what’s causing your dip in iman — could it be that you are under-planning or over-planning? Identifying this will help you make proper use of available resources in planning, or being more realistic in your planning to protect your iman.
- Are You Outsourcing Your Iman / Morale?
Many of us may assume that our morale or iman for being productive depends upon our doing certain actions, like attending a class or listening to some lectures or doing our bit in the way of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). So, if due to any reason for example, a child is sick or guests are at home, or we are sick or busy with something and we are not able to devote enough time to these activities, we feel that we have lost our connection and hence start feeling a dip in iman.By remembering that we are not outsourcing our iman, it is easier for us to avoid that dip in iman when such unexpected events occur.
Tools to Re-boost Your Iman
Once you’ve identified the root cause and taken the necessary reflections to rectify the cause, you’ll also need to make an effort to cleanse and strengthen the heart so that you are protected from the whisperings of shaytan. Masha Allah, Islam has given us many tools to do this.
- Open the Qur’an
If you have a favorite passage in the Qur’an that soothes you then read it, else open it from where ever it opens from by itself. Read and see what message Allah (glorified and exalted be He) has in it for your aching heart. Recite and read the translation. Reflect upon what its saying. Remember Allah (glorified and exalted be He) a lot. A sister who went through trying times said it feels as if angels are holding your heart and you feel strengthened to go on.”Those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.” [Quran: Chapter 13, Verse 28]
- Increase in Salah
Talk to Allah (glorified and exalted be He). Seek help in salah. Pray salah on time. Even if your level of khushu’ is low, don’t give up. Get up for tahajjud. Cry and ask Allah (glorified and exalted be He) to help you out. Say what you feel to Allah (glorified and exalted be He). He is As-Sami, he is always listening to you.
- Seek the Company of Righteous People
Seek the company of righteous people whose focus is akhirah. Talk to friends or family members who want to achieve the pleasure of Allah (glorified and exalted be He) and not this dunya. They will always encourage you to strive harder in the way of Allah (glorified and exalted be He). They will not take you to the movies to cheer you up. Rather they would listen to you and recite verses from the Qur’an and hadith which will lighten your heart. They will even drag you to the next halaqa in town if need be.
- Read Stories of the Sahabah
Listen to lectures or read about the sahabah and what they went thorough. It is one of those instant energy pills for the iman!!
- Increase Private Good Deeds
Do deeds which no one except Allah (glorified and exalted be He) can see. Give sadaqah, help out a needy relative anonymously, volunteer in some organisation where no one knows you, wake up for tahajjud, and start memorizing the Qur’an.
- Spend Time with Your Family
A family that remembers Allah (glorified and exalted be He) together and eats, laughs and cries together is a big support system. Have fun together, go for a picnic, discuss an incident from the seerah, clean the masjid together, and call your relatives.
At the end of the day, our purpose in this dunya is to worship Allah (glorified and exalted be He). And to fulfill this purpose, we seek to be more productive each day in all aspects of our lives.
A Stepping Stone to Climb Higher
Don’t let a dip in iman drag you down. Use it as a stepping stone for climbing higher towards Allah (glorified and exalted be He).
I am saying this from my experience and also from the experience of other productive mothers that I am honored to know in this life.
How true are these words of our Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) with which I leave you:
“Strange are the ways of a believer for there is good in every affair of his and this is not the case with anyone else except in the case of a believer for if he has an occasion to feel delight, he thanks (God), thus there is a good for him in it, and if he gets into trouble and shows resignation (and endures it patiently), there is a good for him in it.” [Muslim]