Wake up, Fajr salah. Get the kids up, breakfast, uniforms, school bags. Check. Rush to school. Back home, do the dishes, vacuum the living room, prepare lunch and dinner, Dhuhr salah. Check. 3:30pm, pick up the kids, fix a snack, finish making dinner, ‘Asr salah. Help with homework, teach Qur’an, Maghrib salah. Dinner. Get the kids to bed. Isha salah.
Your eyes drift as soon as your head hits the pillow. You promised yourself that you would recite some words in remembrance of Allah , but your slumber overtakes you.
This can be the day to day routine for mothers, with hardly a minute to stop for some ‘me’ time. Many sisters and mothers suffer from stress, increased by the guilt that we don’t manage to do as many extra acts of worship as we would like to do.
Allah explains to us that:
“And whoever turns away from My remembrance, indeed, he will have a depressed life” [Qur’an: Chapter 20, Verse 124] and Allah says, “Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest” [Quran: Chapter 13, Verse 28].
It is clear that remembering Allah and doing adhkaar, can have a profound effect on the busyness of our lives, giving a sense of peace and serenity in midst of a hectic and tiring schedule. The irony of the situation is that in today’s busy life, being a ‘mum on the run’, trying to juggle between different roles, while multi-tasking, we are unable to find an empty slot to dedicate to the remembrance of the Giver of this time.
In this article, we will remind ourselves of the objective of dhikr, types of dhikr and how busy mums can incorporate more dhikr into their daily lives.
Purpose of Dhikr: Soul’s Nutrition
Allah has created us in a combination of body and soul; that is, we are a blend of the physiological and psychological needs. That’s why Allah has provided rizq (provision) for both.
We tend to focus on nurturing the body by catering to its needs while neglecting the requirements of the soul. We allow it to crave and weaken to the extent that our healthy body, aided and nourished by the desires of the nafs (lowly self, prone to sin) tramples the soul and takes over.
The purpose of dhikr is to purify hearts and souls and awaken the human conscience. When the heart is at rest or is composed, we tend to function well. We feel proactive and productive. We also feel satisfied with our internal state of being.
Types of Dhikr and Virtues of Remembrance of Allah :
There are two types of dhikr:
- Qalbi dhikr (Remembrance with the heart)
- Lisani dhikr (Verbal Remembrance)
Out of the many virtues of dhikr mentioned by Ibn al Qayyim in his book Al-Waabilus As Sayyib, here are a few:
- Dhikr keeps away Shaitan and weakens his strength, which makes it easier for one to inculcate positive habits.
- Dhikr relieves the mind from anxieties and worries; as a result one is able to channel him/her towards more beneficial and productive tasks.
- Dhikr produces joy and happiness in the heart resulting in a more energetic and proactive attitude towards life. The desire to aspire for substantial objectives in the given time helps one focus on bigger and lasting goals.
- Dhikr strengthens the body and mind. This serves as an integral part of productivity without a sound and strong body and mind one cannot hope to be productive.
The main reason for a believer to be productive in life is to be able to acquire most khair (goodness) out of this temporary life in order to attain the perpetual bliss. Therefore, dhikr serves as a strong pillar in this respect. It induces love for Allah ; which, in fact, is the spirit of Islam, the pivotal point of deen (religion), and the source of success and salvation in the Hereafter. For mothers, it is important that dhikr is a routine part of the day, as this will enable the children to love and cherish the smalls words of remembrance.
6 Steps to Make Dhikr Part of Your Life – The Ultimate Dhikr List
Here are a few ways of incorporating dhikr in to our busy routine:
1. Make Du’a and Remember Allah’s Favours
Make lots of du’a, especially after every fardh salah to be blessed with barakah in your time. Beseech Allah to help you remember Him at all times, especially in pleasant times. If we prioritize Him during the times of ease He will certainly prioritize us in our times of distress inshaAllah. This can be mental du’a while you are on the run, or reciting du’as from the Qur’an and Sunnah.
Additionally, designate at least fifteen minutes out of 24 hours every day, to contemplate and to consciously remind yourself of His favors upon you. Try to be deeply thankful and grateful in your heart. The best time for this would be around any salah, as one is already tuned into the spiritual mode. Recognize your dependence upon Him and your need to turn to Him every moment of your life, which ultimately leaves a loyal servant with no choice but to evoke His master. This way you would have practiced qalbi dhikr (remembrance with the heart).
2. Salah and Reciting Qur’an
One of best forms of lisani dhikr (verbal remembrance) is salah. Try to be punctual and strict about establishing salah at its prescribed time and with khushoo (humility). You can do this by planning your routine chores around the five salah by dividing your day into chunks of hours assigned for completing various tasks. For example, you can plan to finish cooking and cleaning 15 minutes before Dhuhr Salah so that you are mentally and physically prepared for your prayer before the adhan is called. Salah is one of the most effective ways to get rid of anxiety and depression as by doing so you are conditioning yourself to rely only on the Creator.
Regular Qur’an recitation with understanding and contemplation is yet another virtuous form of lisani dhikr. Allocate a specific time, e.g. before or after Fajr Salah and/or after ‘Asr Salah and/or after ‘Isha Salah are the times that are recommended by most scholars. Begin with reciting an ayah from a Qur’an app from your phone or a small mushaf, after every prayer so that reading Qur’an, however small the amount, becomes a routine part of your day. It is absolutely acceptable to start with keeping your sessions short; once you inculcate a habit of regular Qur’an recitations, increase your sessions to a relatively longer duration.
3. Perform Dhikr While Doing Routine Work
Allow yourself time slots when you are performing chores that do not require your mental presence (e.g. washing dishes, cooking) to perform conscious lisani dhikr that implies absorbing the gravity that these words (adhkaar) hold.
You may choose a specific dhikr to be said while doing a particular chore every day. For instance, you can write “subhanAllahi wa bihamdihi” on a post-it note and paste it on your kitchen cabinet as a reminder to recite it while cooking. Try to avoid monotony and use the different times of day for various adhkaar (plural for dhikr) as prescribed in the Qur’an and Sunnah.
4. Listen to Dhikr Regularly with Your Children and Make Use of Technology
As for qalbi dhikr, you might want to listen to Islamic lectures or tune in to the Qur’an recitations while spending time with your children or while driving or cleaning. There are thousands of beneficial lectures on YouTube that can be downloaded onto CDs, allowing the children to get involved by choosing the lecture for that day.
Make it interesting by listing all the lectures and recitations you have downloaded on a post-it note so you can easily navigate between the different resources depending on your spiritual need at that time, and you can see the progress you have made in listening to them.
Make use of technology by downloading various apps with morning and evening adhkaar and other colorful adhkaar apps for children, on your phone, iPad etc. This way you will be able to recite them with your children on the move or just before going to sleep.
5. Remember Allah in your discussions – have “Coffee Mornings”
Arrange productive coffee mornings with other mothers on a school day when the kids aren’t around and organise halaqaat dhikr. These coffee mornings can be scheduled once every month to serve as short and sweet reminders.Try as much as you can to initiate or participate in a positive discussion about Allah and everything related to Him, which will in sha Allah transform your ordinary chatting into a rewarding, fruitful and productive interaction. The mothers can also exchange tips on managing hectic schedules and can give you some productive time with your friends. As, He says that those who remember Him secretly, He remembers them privately and those who mention Him in a gathering, He makes a mention of them to a much more respectable gathering, which is of the angels [Al-Bukhari and Muslim].
6. Collective Dhikr with the Family
Decide a day of the week when you can indulge your family in an interesting way of collective dhikr. You might want to introduce brief explanation of small surah from the Qur’an or stories of the Prophets and Sahaba to your children. One of these ways could be by doing arts and crafts. You can make small greeting cards for Eid, or make small books out of paper with short adhkaar such as “Alhamdulillah, SubhanAllah, Allahu Akbar” written on them. This will help your children associate dhikr with something fun and verbal recitation will help them memorize the adhkaar.
Being a ‘mum on the run’, you cannot hope to be progressive, proactive and dynamic unless you nurture positivity within yourself by nourishing your soul and responding to its needs. This can only be achieved when you consciously make an effort to take a step further towards self purification which in turn will help you become a better Muslimah and a productive Mommy in sha Allah!
Moreover, what we need to understand is that the excuse of not finding time to amplify and gratify Him will neither help our situation in this life nor will it intercede for us in our afterlife. Therefore, let’s prioritize the remembrance of our Creator in our lives, to have a blessed existence in this life and to acquire perpetual bliss in the akhirah, ameen!
About the Author:
Maria Karim is the founder and Managing Editor of Muslimaat Magazine, a digital magazine for Muslim women across the globe. She is an artist by degree, a freelance writer, a poetess and a teacher by profession. Maria has been teaching Art and Design to teenagers for almost eight years before embarking upon her journey on the path of Allah. She has been studying deen for almost six years now and aspires to remain a student of knowledge for as long as she lives. She has been involved in various dawah activities for quite some time now. Besides her personal blog called My Journal, she regularly writes for the section Almost Adults on Gems of Islam. Her articles have been published in Aailaa Magazine, Muslim Matters, Suhaib Webb and Hiba Magazine. She aspires to keep on writing for as long as she lives, inshaAllah.