Just a week ago, I was invited to share some ways on how to strengthen our connection with Allah SWT. I was humbled and honoured to be given this platform to share what little I know. To be honest, when I first agreed I’d thought it was going to be a very small-scale sharing where four to five sisters gather in a circle and have a cosy conversation. But when the lineup came out I was like, okay guys, what am I doing here?? 😂 Who would come and listen to a nobody like me? Hur hur.
Alhamdulillah it went well and I’m grateful for every sister who came down to grace the event. Forgive me for my shortcomings during my sharing and I pray that whatever I’ve shared was of some benefit iA.
On Strengthening our Connection with Allah SWT amidst a Busy Schedule
Just like wifi, our connection with God isn’t always strong. Sometimes it’s four full bars, sometimes, just one – weak and susceptible to disconnection. No one has a solid, stable connection, all the time. And if I could be honest, right now, my connection is at a one. This is one of the reasons why I cannot wait for Ramadhan to come around so that I can get on my discipline mode and further strengthen my relationship with God again.
These practical tips which I’m about to list down are are just some ways I’ve discovered to work for me. They might not all work best for you so it’s good to continue exploring and seeing what helps you most. So let’s break it down into strengthening our relationship with God through connecting & disconnecting.
First, connect. In this modern day and age, as we are perpetually connected, it only makes sense if we could learn to utilise the internet with the intention of doing good, for Allah. We should try to maximize the benefits of our time online. Here are some ways:
1. Make use of apps. Quran Pro is a great app for listening to Qur’an recitations. Just choose your favourite reciter, download your favourite surahs, and listen to it whenever, wherever! When you listen a lot, it is easier for you memorise the ayat. Practice the surah in salah so that we have a variety of surahs to recite and converse with Allah. Another app I use on the daily is iQuran. This is basically the mushaf online. There are many other Quran apps but I liked this most for its user-friendliness. Hisnul Muslim is another one that I like. It’s basically the Fortress of the Muslim book in an app. It’s pretty comprehensive and convenient. Different kinds of du’as are neatly categorised – for travel, for food & drink, for joy & distress, for sickness & death, it’s all there. Yaqeen Institute app is wonderful for articles that talk about contemporary Islamic issues, and discusses deep questions in the deen in academia style. Great brainfood we should consume. They also have videos on it. It’s a great portal for Muslims AND non-Muslims who are interested to find out more about Islam.
2. Watch videos for reminders or catch a class online. Personally for me, bayyinah.tv is my go-to. It kinda balances and alleviates my twitch for Netflix. (it’s all about balance, am I right?)
3. Listen to podcasts that uplift you and make you think (e.g. Qalam Podcast (I think I’ve raved about this enough), SWISScast by Suhaib Webb, The Productive Muslim Podcast, The Mad Mamluks, Sincerely Sumayah, Soulful Latte Podcast, etc. The knowledge and inspiration you will gain through these podcasts is far more meaningful than any background noise or music.
4. Follow accounts that feed your soul. Instagram feed and Facebook feed are called ‘feeds’ for a reason – you consume and feed the content you see on these channels. You’re either malnourished from the lack of soul food, or you’re full and satiated from the accounts that spark joy and peace in you. It’s a choice we consciously have to make.
Moving on to Disconnect. While technology has its benefits, it is not only healthy but necessary for us to take a step back, de-tech, detach and disconnect to find the connection with Allah SWT. We need to be away from the online world to be fully present, to recalibrate ourselves and build on our connection with Him. Here are some ways:
1. Attend a weekly halaqah / class. I find that attending an Islamic lecture or class weekly always keeps me in check. It has to be a routine you plan to fit in your schedule once a week. No doubt, online classes are great but they are only supplements, I feel. It’s a different feeling, to be gathered with like-minded meaning-seekers, listening to the teacher talking, and just being in the presence of knowledge and love for God.
2. Surround yourself with a circle of supportive friends who will remind you of Him. We all know the saying ‘no man is an island’. We have to seek and be with the tribe that will enable us to strive to be better and who never fails to remind us of our purpose in life.
3. Read books that nourish your spirit. Make it a point to read at least five minutes every day; in the morning, before you sleep, or while commuting. It is entirely possible! My soul-nourishing book list is as follows: 1) The Autobiography of Malcolm X. 2) Reclaim Your Heart by Yasmin Mogahed. 3) Revive Your Heart by Nouman Ali Khan. 4) A Temporary Gift by Asmaa Hussein. 5) 50 Reflections on the Qur’an by Sumayah Hasan. 6) Rekindle Your Life by Dr Muhammad Al-‘Arifi. 7) Shades of Islam by Rafey Habib. 8) The Productive Muslim by Muhammad Faris. 9) The Qur’an by M.A.S Abdel Haleem. There are more but these are off the top of my head.
4. Work on a personal passion project with the sole aim of pleasing Allah SWT. Find something you’re good at, work on it, and drive it towards your goal of getting closer to Allah SWT. Harness your creativity skills – painting, calligraphy, drawing, poetry, whatever it is – and use it towards achieving this goal of pleasing Him. My Qur’an journal (@thelightjournal) which I embarked on two Ramadhans ago is an example. Read the story behind why I started it here.
The lists aren’t exhaustive, but they are worth a try, moving forward. Ultimately, we need to first plant the seed before tending our leaves by doing these things for Allah, and this seed is putting in the effort to make a sincere du’a; a du’a asking him to remind you of Him. Think about it. It blows my mind and makes me love Him even more when this realisation sinks in – when you ask Allah to remind you of Him, you are essentially asking Him to think about you first. So whenever you think about Him – guess who thought about you first? ❤
So remember Me, and I will remember you – Qur’an, 2:152
Remember that seeking and strengthening our connection with Allah is a road. A path. A journey. Never give up on this journey to continuously seek Him despite the deluge of responsibilities and worldly matters that at any moment could swallow you. Call upon Him and ask for His help to carry you through these turbulent seas. When we fortify our connection with Him, the trials and tribulations of this life will feel light. We keep seeking to prevent ourselves from sinking. So get on our boats, paddle hard, anchor on…
May Allah ease us in attaining closeness to Him. May we always remember Him, thank Him, and worship Him in the best of manners.
PS: Please continue to check our more events lined up for you at #MillennialMuslimahMarch. Happening Tuesdays & Fridays throughout this month. Do follow @sparkreativ & @myfsg for updates. I think more people should support this wonderful and unique initiative where modern Muslim women can congregate, learn from and empower each other. Spread the good word!