Sacred Monotony - Part 3 - The Sunnah of Everyday Things

Sacred Monotony - Part 3 - The Sunnah of Everyday Things

In Part2 - we looked at presence with Allah, being thankful and making dua (prayer) in all situations. In ease or hardship in sickness or health. One can always rely on Allah, being thankful for what one already has and also continuing to seek help and support from Him.

This mindset of gratitude and mindfulness of Allah runs deeper than just prayer however. It permeates all aspects of Islam and is the impetus for so many rulings and practices of the religion. Things that initially may seem burdensome, when viewed through this lens, take on a new light when considered as a form of mindfulness, taqwa.

Presence in all things

Ultimately every every teaching of Islam, every practice & every trait of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) is about presence with Allah. This life is about building taqwa and being mindful of God, through whatever we do.

Be that in our rest, our relaxation, our enjoyment, our work, when we’re helping others, or even by ourselves. Everything we are encouraged to do, is good for our soul and is to bring us back to Allah.

Even simple practices of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) have meaning. For example always drinking with his glass in his right hand. It may seem trivial, it may even seem burdensome, to always aim to lift one’s cup with one’s right hand, but it’s not just the act of picking up a cup. It’s the significance of following the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and his beautiful message and trying to draw closer to Allah through following the most perfect example set out for us.

كان رسول الله ﷺ يعجبه التيمن في شأنه كله: في طهوره، وترجله، وتنعله
Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) liked to use his right hand in all matters: in combing his hair and putting on his shoes. — [Sahih]

Sometimes when we try to remember all the various recommended acts in the religion and try to think of all the extra voluntary sunnah acts it can feel overwhelming. These acts are all intended to help us though, not to burden us. Through his beautiful message, the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) brought us the best way of life, the path to blessings, peace and happiness:

ٱلْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِى وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ ٱلْإِسْلَـٰمَ دِينًا

"Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and have completed My blessing upon you, and chosen Islam as Deen (religion and a way of life) for you" — Qur’an 5:3

Abundance in blessings

إِنَّآ أَعْطَيْنَـٰكَ ٱلْكَوْثَرَ فَصَلِّ لِرَبِّكَ وَٱنْحَرْ

"Indeed, We have granted you abundant goodness. So pray and sacrifice to your Lord ˹alone˺." — Qur’an 108:1-2

Surah Al-Kawthar is one of the most succinct surahs in the Qur’an. Often recited in prayers, when reciting this Surah, we can reflect on how blessed we are. That Allah has granted us such abundant goodness.

At any point in our lives, even when we are tested, we have so many things to be thankful for. Even things that may seem simple to us such as having food and sustenance, fresh air to breathe, clean clothes and somewhere to sleep. These aren’t all universal and we are blessed to have been given what we have.

The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) taught us to say:
"All praise is due to Allah in every circumstance."
" الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ"

"Alhamdulillah 'ala kulli Haal"

One way we can foster a positive mindset and be grateful for everything we have is through dhikr and more active remembrance. We can sit down and say "alhumdulilah" 100 times, counting this out on a tasbeeh (prayer beads 📿), or on our fingers or even on an app! We can do this while walking or on our commute, or we can even take some time to sit quietly down and do it. Each time we say alhumdulillah we reflect and think of something else we are thankful for in our lives.

"وَإِن تَعُدُّوا۟ نِعْمَةَ ٱللَّهِ لَا تُحْصُوهَآ ۗ إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَغَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ"

"And if you tried to count God’s blessings, you could never enumerate them all in. Truly he is most forgiving and most merciful." — Qur’an 16:18

Through doing this, and practicing regular gratitude we not only thank Allah and reflect on his favour upon us, but we make ourselves happier and more content. We regularly remind ourselves of how lucky we are. We have so many things around us that sometimes we may take them for granted. Things such as food, clothes, shelter, family & friends — in reality these are all enormous blessings that many people have to go without every day.

Comfort, Rest, Joy & Love

In all things we should seek to have greater presence with Allah. Being more mindful of him, and grateful of His blessings. That’s ultimately where we find comfort, rest, joy and love.

Everything in this world is ultimately temporary and fleeting, it will be gone one day. However our good deeds, our service to others, our worship of Allah will remain for us on the day of Judgement.

يَـٰقَوْمِ إِنَّمَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلْحَيَوٰةُ ٱلدُّنْيَا مَتَـٰعٌ وَإِنَّ ٱلْـَٔاخِرَةَ هِىَ دَارُ ٱلْقَرَارِ

"O my people! This worldly life is only ˹a fleeting˺ enjoyment, whereas the Hereafter is truly the home of settlement." — Quran 40:39

Our hearts and souls yearn for something greater, constantly seeking a return. All the meanings that are hearts, our mind and our soul yearn for — we will find through nearness to Allah. That is the sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ). Every moment of his life (ﷺ) was a moment with the Beloved, Allah.

When we look at all the different actions and mannerisms of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) they were all ways of drawing closer to Allah. He perfected his actions and performed them in the way that was most pleasing to Allah. We should likewise try and inculcate this mindset and practice into our own lives to live a life that is pleasing to Allah.

"إِنَّا لِلَّهِ وَإِنَّآ إِلَيْهِ رَٰجِعُونَ"

“Surely to Allah we belong and to Him we will ˹all˺ return.” — Quran 2:156

Whether we are able to be cognisant of Allah a few times a day, or constantly throughout our day, we will find that when we are on the Prophetic path — when we have presence with Allah — then we are in a state of "good return". We are fulfilling our purpose — attaining that love and tranquility that we were made to find therein.

Insha’Allah then we will find the tranquility from Allah that will permeate our being in this life and the next:

إِنَّ ٱلْمُتَّقِينَ فِى ظِلَـٰلٍ وَعُيُونٍ وَفَوَٰكِهَ مِمَّا يَشْتَهُونَ كُلُوا۟ وَٱشْرَبُوا۟ هَنِيٓـًٔۢا بِمَا كُنتُمْ تَعْمَلُونَ إِنَّا كَذَٰلِكَ نَجْزِى ٱلْمُحْسِنِينَ

Indeed, the righteous will be amid ˹cool˺ shade and springs and any fruit they desire. ˹They will be told,˺ “Eat and drink to your hearts’ content as a reward for your deeds”. Surely this is how We reward those who do good. — Quran 77:41-441

Further reading & references:

الْحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ عَلَى كُلِّ حَالٍ