What About You And Allah?
By Megan Wyatt, Founder of Wives of Jannah
One of the most important relationships you have in your life is the one between you and Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala. Unfortunately, it’s one that often gets neglected once a woman gets married and then shifts a lot of her time and energy to her husband or growing family. Perhaps because I’m such a busy person myself you’ll notice my recommendations to reactive that relationship all take into account being busy and often on the go.
When I’m coaching someone who feels their iman is a bit low, I’m always looking for small and simple ways she can nurture her iman and her relationship with Allah, subhanahu wa ta’ala, that are do-able and don’t leave her feeling guilty because she didn’t do every single prescribed sunnah in the course of a day. (Guilt helps no one!)Islam invites development in us and offers structure in our lives but it also comes with ease and immense flexibility at the same time.
Here are some simple ways to bring that relationship back to the top of your priority list if you feel like your iman has been a little low and your personal dialogues with Allah have been a bit more infrequent.
He is Talking to You Too
There is such a mercy in our five daily prescribed prayers which allows us the opportunity, even the excuse, to stop and pray. Even when the quality of that prayer isn’t its best, there is still that chance to pause. That find that moment where the heart focused on what was being said by the tongue. That little extra pause in sujood where you remember to ask Allah for something you need or thank Him for something you feel blessed by.
It’s bringing the remembrance of Him into your home. This is part of that structure that sets us up to succeed.
One thing that amplifies the salah for me in terms of my own personal experience is remembering that when I recite Surah Al-Fatihah I’m not just reciting verses from The Qur’an.
I am having a direct dialogue with my Lord. How present I am is my personal challenge but I know that my Lord is ever-present with me. Allow your heart to absorb this reminder:
The Prophet (SAW) said; “Allah the exalted said, ‘I have divided the prayer (Surah Al-Fatihah) into two halves between Me and My servant. A half of it is for Me and a half for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.
If he says, ‘All praise and thanks be to Allah, the Lord of existence,' Allah says, ‘My servant has praised Me.’
When the servant says, ‘The Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.’ Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me.
’When he says, ‘Master of the Day of Judgment.’ Allah says, ‘My servant has glorified Me.’
When he says, ‘You (alone) we worship, and You (alone) we ask for help.’ Allah says, ‘This is between Me and My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he sought.’
When he says, ‘Guide us to the straight path. The way of those on whom You have granted Your grace, not (the way) of those who earned Your anger, nor of those who went astray.’ Allah says, ‘This is for My servant, and My servant shall acquire what he asked for.’
(Sahih Muslim and Sunan An-Nisai)
The Gift of Dhikr
One of easiest things to do to awaken your heart is to make dhikr. You can do this anywhere and at anytime. While taking a walk, making breakfast, driving kids to school or an activity, or after you’ve prayed one of the five daily prayers.
Sometimes, people overcomplicate dhikr and feel they have to say specific things for a certain amount of time and they begin to neglect the practice. While there are recommended times of the day or evening to say things and recommended numbers of times to say many things, the most important goal is to just do it!
Anytime and anywhere and in whatever way your heart feels connected to the words I encourage you to make dhikr. Some people love sending blessings to the Prophet Muhammad, by saying, “Allahuma salli ‘ala Muhammad.”
I once heard from a sister about how whenever she cooked food she would say this over and over again. While chopping those carrots or stirring that pot she would remember our beloved Prophet and hoped this also brought more barakah to her time and her food that she was serving. It’s now one of my favorite times to make dhikr.
Others enjoy remembering Allah saying, “la ilala il Allah.” Perhaps because I find the freeway a bit of a stressful place to be I find this one comes more naturally to me at that time. Maybe it’s a bit of my anxiety in worrying I’ll die in a car crash that keeps this on my tongue on the hopes that my shahadah would be on my lips! (May Allah grant us all a good end.)
There are so many easy, simple ways to make dhikr. Every single phrase you might say is rewarding and beneficial for you so begin with a time and a phrase that is meaningful for you on a personal level.
The Power of Audio
Honestly, we are extremely spoiled with the amount of knowledge that’s available online. From Youtube to Facebook to IG and now podcasts there are so many ways to listen, learn, and multi-task. I know when I launched my own Wives of Jannah podcast, I envisioned woman having just twenty minutes available to listen to something. I thought of that short drive back from dropping off kids somewhere or that window of time when the kids were all quietly playing before their next sibling squabble. I imagined a wife doing a 30 minute treadmill walk or finally putting her feet up after a long day.
We are all very busy for one reason or another but audio allows us a chance to dive into a world of reminders without having to stop doing something else. While it may be ideal to sit down and be completely focused on a lecture while having your evening tea it’s not practical for everyone. So listen and multi-task!
Choose speakers you enjoy and topics that get the gears turning in your head.
Things that spark an aliveness in you when you discuss the topic. (Last night I dived into a topic regrading the removal of hijab in Egypt early 1900s and then how it came back, much to the surprise of many people, in the 80s and 90s! It’s one of “my things.”)
I’ve had some clients spend 10 minutes on a Sunday lining up their Youtube lectures or podcast schedule so when they were out and about and busy they already knew what to play! Simply your life by choosing ahead of time if you need a little help getting organized.
Being Vulnerable and Honest with Allah
Many non-Muslims have asked me, “Why can’t you just talk to God whenever you want to? Why just five times a day?” I love this question because it gives me a chance to share with them that we have three ways of praying as Muslims.
1) Salah - the five daily prayers which involve physical movements and some requirements within a specific time frame.
2) Du’a - being able to open our hands and talk to God at anytime about anything we want
3) Munajat - talking to Allah secretly and silently in one’s mind.
We actually have so many ways to connect with our Lord and all of them are very personal even if some of them can be down in a communal setting.
So while the five daily prayers are part of our structure to help us keep our hearts alive with the remembrance of our Lord and the purpose of our lives we have other ways to speak.
The third one is important for many people when they discover that they can silently call out to Allah.
Sometimes, they aren’t in a situation to sit down and raise their hands but it doesn’t mean their conversation with Allah has to be cut off. You could be laying down on your pillow, right next to your husband, and be having a full on dialogue with Allah from your heart. What your lips don’t utter your mind does and Allah knows that which is within your heart and mind.
What I’d like to encourage you to do here is be vulnerable with Allah.
Many of my programs introduce people to a concept I call Fearless Vulnerability. In short, I’m teaching others how to be brutally honest with themselves first, and eventually, their spouses.
But where I didn’t realize people needed this advice was also in how they communicated with Allah. I discovered over the past ten years that many people don’t actually open up to Allah. They say prescribed du’a and do their five daily prayers but they are hiding what’s really in their hearts.
They aren’t speaking to Allah about what pains them, what burdens them, what frightens them, or what they need. They aren’t asking for His guidance, mercy, forgiveness, or love.
Fearless Vulnerability will transform you as a person, your relationships with human beings, and it can most definitely transform how you connect with your Lord.
So open up! Speak unscripted. Let the distance melt between your heart and His mercy and love.
What’s Your First Step?
If you’ve felt inspired from something in this post then think of your next step!
What will you do in the next few hours? What could you do in the next few hours?
And of course if you have any tips you’d like to share with others please comment below and help another sister out who may be struggling a bit.
Jazakum Allahu Khairan!