I hate routine. Except when it comes to morning routines :) That’s something I try and stick to! ;)
There’s something about starting your day on a number of pre-planned actions that really set your day straight. Below I describe the ‘ideal’ ProductiveMuslim morning routine. (Note: I assume that Fajr Athan is at 5.00am and that work starts at 8am, feel free to ‘adjust’ the routine below to suit your timetable inshaAllah)
4.00AM – 5.00AM: 5 Essential Actions
1. Wake up!
Perhaps the first and most important step to having a great morning routine is waking up early! And it is in that moment of indecisiveness – whether you should wake up immediately or enjoy your nice comfy bed for ‘5 more minutes’- wherein lies the secret to either a great day or a crazy one. Here’s a tip that always works with me for waking up: You know how shaytaan whispers in your ears “just sleep for 5 more minutes”… I simply whisper back to myself “just wake up for 5 minutes” ;) Yup, you can imagine the rest. As soon as you’re awake and begin reciting the Adkhar and making wudhu, you can imagine what happens to sleep – (Gone! Left the building!).
2. Make the Dua(s) for waking up and recite last 10 verses of Surah Al-Imran
Alhamdulillah, we have a beautiful set of “waking up” supplications which Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught us. A collection of Wake Up Supplications can be found on MakeDua.com. My favorite is the recitation of the last 10 verses of Al-Imran (Chapter 3 of the Quran). You can almost feel your heart coming to life and being ‘juiced’ when the first thing you do as soon as you wake up is remember Allah & recite His Glorious Words from the Quran.
3. Make Wudhu
We can all agree, there’s something about wudhu that really focuses your positive energy and cleanses you inwardly as well as outwardly. I had a friend who used to call this feeling “WuBuzz!” short for the “Buzz” you feel after wudhu ;) Don’t forget to say Bismillah before starting wudhu and the dua after finishing wudhu! The 8 gates of Heaven will be opened for you, (not a bad way to start your day ;) and you’ll feel refreshed and ready for the day ahead.
4. Tahajjud & Witr
Tahajjud or Qiyaam has been described as the “honour of the believer”, because who else would go through what you just did (wake up, wudhu..etc) just to stand up and pray? The beauty of Tahajjud is hard to describe; from the feeling of tranquility in your heart and understanding the Quran better at this time, to feeling closer to Allah at a time of isolation from others and wishing that you would never get up from that prostration, to self-reflection moments that we rarely get a chance to exercise in our busy world… all of them and more come from Tahajjud! Finally, praying Witr after Tahajjud and making sincere dua to Allah is a true booster to your day!
5. Istighfar moments
Don’t forget to use the last 5-10 minutes before Fajr to ask Allah for forgiveness and making lots of istighfar so that you are among those Allah mentioned in the Quran: “And in the hour of early dawn, they (were found) praying for Forgiveness” (Quran, Chapter 51, Verse 18).
5.00AM – 5.05 AM: Fajr Athan
Say as the muaddhin (The person who calls to Prayer) says and don’t forget the Dua after athan. Supplications Related to Athaan can also be found at MakeDua.com
5.05AM – 5.30AM: Between Athan & Iqama
1. Pray the 2 rak’ahs Sunnah of Fajr
Don’t miss this! Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said: “The two rakahs before the dawn (Fajr) prayer are better than this world and all that it contains. (Riyad-us-Saliheen (Hadith # 1102). Just think about this hadeeth for a moment; 5 minutes of your time to pray 2 short rak’ahs are better than this whole wide world with all its’ lands, people, treasures, nature and beyond! SubhanaAllah!
Also, if this is the importance and merit of the Sunnah of Fajr, what about the obligatory Fajr prayer itself? (There is a heartwarming video reminder to those who neglect Fajr Salah called: ‘Are you neglecting the Fajr Prayer?’)
Did you know that the time between the Athan & Iqama is a prime time to make dua? Make the most of it! Narrated Anas ibn Malik: “The supplication made between the athan and the iqamah is not rejected.” (Sunan Abu Dawood, Book #2, Hadith #0521)
3. Lie on your right side
Narrated ‘Aisha (May Allah be pleased with her): “Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) used to pray two light rakahs before the morning (compulsory) prayer after the day dawned and the Mu’addhin had finished his adhan. He then would lie on his right side till the Mu’addhin came to pronounce the Iqama.” (Sahih Bukhari, Book #11, Hadith #599)
4. Brainstorm session
I sometimes use this time to either plan my day, or brainstorm ideas for ProductiveMuslim/articles or just reading and writing. You’ll be surprised how active your brain is at this time! You’re awake, alert and kicking ;)
5. Quran memorization
Speaking of your mind being active, memorizing Quran at this time is incredible as well. I have tried memorizing Quran after Asr/Maghreb when I’m tired and back from work Vs. after Fajr. The difference is overwhelming, SubhanaAllah! After Fajr, your brain is truly like a sponge and it is the best time to memorize verses from the Quran :).
5.30AM – 6.00am: Fajr Salat & Dhikr
If you are a brother, and can get to a mosque no matter how far – go for it! The beauty of praying Fajr in the masjid is hard to describe. I prefer walking to the Masjid Vs. driving (cycling is good as well ;) since you get a chance to breath in the fresh morning air; Allah says in the Quran: “And the Dawn as it breathes away the darkness” (Chapter 81, Verse 18)
6.00 – 6.30am: Recite, Read or Exercise
1. Quran Memorization/Recitation
Recite and/or Memorize Quran as mentioned previously, or if you have a good tafsir book, then reading the meaning of at least one page of the Quran is a great bonus!
Spend this time reading Islamic material. I stress that the reading must be Islamic, because as I mentioned previously, your mind is like a sponge at this time and is highly active. You want whatever you’re reading to be truly embedded into your mind & soul inshaAllah.
Suggested books to read: Hadeeth books, Stories of the Prophets, Seerah, etc…
Another option is a quick 30 minute exercise. This could be jogging around the block, cycling, using a treadmill, some aerobics/cardiovascular exercises and anything that builds your stamina.
6.30AM – 6.45: Plan Your Day
This is where I plan the rest of my day, of course, using the Taskinator ;). Sometimes I check and send e-mails around this time as well to help me plan my day or set out tasks for myself and team members.
6.45AM – 7.00: Get Ready For Work
Shower, get dressed, and gather your paper work, (although organizing your items the night before makes this 15 minute process of getting ready a lot smoother!) Put things where you can find them so that you don’t waste time searching for them.
7.00AM – 7.10: Duha Prayers.
Nothing sets your day straight like Duha prayer, as mentioned in the “Top 7 Spiritual Productivity Habits” to adopt. Nu`aym ibn Hammar (Allah be pleased with him) relates that he heard the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) say: “Allah Most High says: O child of Adam, don’t fail to perform four rakahs in the beginning of your day, and I shall be your sufficiency at its end.” (Abu Dawud (1289) and Tirmidhi (475).
7.15AM – 7.30AM: Breakfast
Reward yourself for a ProductiveMorning with a big FAT hearty (healthy) breakfast! Try to avoid caffeine and have a fibre filled bowl of goodness to set you in good stead.
7.30AM – 8.00AM: Commute to Work
Don’t forget my tips about commuting ProductiveMuslim style! ;)
Imagine if all your mornings were like the above… how much will you gain spiritually? How much knowledge will you acquire? What will your mood be like for the rest of the day? Try the above, just for one day, and let me know how it goes inshaAllah.