1. Make prayers the pegs of your day
In the Quran, Muslims are advised to “establish Salah”. The five daily prayers are also one of the first things Allah will hold us responsible for. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“The first thing people will be accountable for on the Day of Judgment is Prayer. Allah will say to His angels (even though He already knows), ‘Look at My servant’s prayers. Were they complete or not?’ If they are complete, they will be written as complete. If they are not complete, Allah will say, ‘See if My servant has voluntary prayers.’ If he has them, Allah will say, ‘Complete his obligatory prayer shortage with his voluntary prayers.’ Then the rest of his deeds will be dealt with in the same manner” (Ahmad, Abu Dawud, and An-Nasa’i).
So when trying to decide what to do when, be it classes, meetings, or other appointments, do your best to plan it around the five daily prayers.
2. Read or listen to a minimum of five minutes of Quran with meaning daily
Not more, not less - unless you have the time. But setting a base minimum of five minutes will ensure that you can connect with Allah’s Book consistently. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him,“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few” (Ibn Majah).
3. Give charity once a week
In line with the Prophetic advice to do good deeds consistently, make a personal and/or family commitment to donate to a good cause once a week. Whether the donation is one dollar or ten, stick to it. You can also set up an auto-pay system with the charity of your choice. Or you can use the old-fashioned way of collecting bills and coins in jar and donating them after a month or two.
4. Eat one “blessed” meal with others
The Prophet said, “Eat together and not separately, for the blessing is associated with the company” (Ibn Majah). Research confirms this. You can choose which meal, but try to eat with others once a day, be they family members, friends, coworkers, or roommates. If that is not possible, then aim for at least once a week.
5. Make time for Friday prayer
Juma or Friday prayer is a weekly opportunity to both learn more about our faith, as well as meet others, even if it is briefly. Given that 47 percent of Americans often feel alone, left out and lacking meaningful connection with others, Juma is an excellent way to offer some relief from harmful social isolation. It also presents the possibility of connecting with others to plan meetings outside of Friday prayers.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said “a strong believer is better than a weak believer” (Muslim). He also advised a Companion who was neglecting his health and other matters in his zeal to worship Allah constantly, “Observe the fast sometimes and also leave (it) at other times. Stand up for prayer at night and also sleep at night. Your body has a right over you, your eyes have a right over you, and your wife has a right over you” (Bukhari).
Our health is not just a blessing from Allah, but it is a trust from Him that requires care and attention. Make time for exercise in small and consistent ways every day.
7. Enroll in a weekly structured Islamic class or program
The Prophet said that Allah will make the path to Paradise easy for a person who pursues a path in search of knowledge (Abu Dawud). This should be an incentive for us to keep learning about our faith even during the busy school year. Whether it’s enrolling kids in an Islamic weekend school or attending a weekly Halaqa on or offline yourself, make time to build your Islamic knowledge this year. If you’re not happy with what is being offered, reach out to a scholar or person of knowledge and set up a program that suits your needs and interests.