Healthy Habits Of Contemporary Global Muslimsby Helmy Sa'at
Demands of the contemporary world just keep on compounding. In schools we were taught subjects encompassing various matters from understanding and applying grammatical rules in our writing and speech, solving a particular mathematical problem, the significance of the Great War that ended in early 20th century to a limited level of computer literacy in recent decades. Yet, truthfully, we are not equipped with how to navigate life made much more complex with the onslaught of technology and the rise and ubiquity of social media.
Add to the chaotic equation, our multiple and intersecting identities, which are constantly evolving with time and informed by unique lived experiences and nuanced perspectives as individuals. As we are no longer cocooned in our very own little bubbles of our immediate communities, we are hyper aware of the technological connections and opportunities that enable us to truly embrace the global facet of our collective identities.
More often than not, such fusillade of demands numb us into either blind, weary or even an oscillation of both, at any time, acceptance and being perpetually trapped in the endless (career) cycle largely dictated by global markets. Simply, in this inevitable balancing act we all partake in, compromises are made daily which skew our priorities.
Alas, at times, our compromises could very well turn into sacrifices that are not an accurate reflection of our original or intended commitments.
Praying With A Peaceful Mind
How often have you skipped lunch in an effort to complete a report for your boss in an upcoming meeting? Or grabbing a quick bite at the desk instead of heading out with your colleagues? Time seems to be running out without much getting done. Too often the same goes when it comes to daily prayers. Whether consciously or otherwise, we tend to rush it, especially at work.
It is time to recalibrate the approach and practice to prayer. Sparing that few precious minutes should be an act full of meaning and significance for the continued opportunity to nurture our relationship with Allah and appreciate His abundant blessings.
At the same time, either take the extra minute to reflect on the day thus far, or recite another verse from the Quran. It could be a brief Quranic verse, which you may choose to highlight then play on repeat to help you memorise, as the first step. This could easily be achieved with the Muslim Pro app that features the entire Quran with Arabic scripts, phonetics with over 40 translations and five audio recitations!
In essence, praying, reciting and memorising the Quran daily brings you closer to Allah. As we continue to work on our connection with our Creator, let’s not abandon our worldly relationships with family and friends who we care about.
Your Heart Is Just As Important
Our relationships at work and work itself, at times, tend to eclipse even our own circle of friends and family. Remember that a work performance review is not a true reflection of your nuanced being. A snapshot of certain traits and qualities that are important to the company or organisation you work for, but not a be-all and end-all exercise that spells doom and gloom for the rest of your adult (career) life. It is actually an opportunity to learn and grow from.
Still, there are times when boundaries need to be set. Not only knowing when to walk away, especially in toxic relationships. An opportunistic friend or colleague would only treat you like a stepping stone in their own pursuit of success with no respect to your own needs.
At the very core, we need to take accountability for ourselves. How do you rate yourself as a friend? Fostering forthright friendships is never easy albeit we constantly build friendships throughout our lives. Yet, how many of us could be truly honest with ourselves that we also put in as much effort in retaining those friendships and ensuring they are healthy relationships, for all involved, too?
Simple: Be a champion of others and self. Acknowledge your small wins and big triumphs in daily life. Why not start practising and extending kindness to ourselves first and foremost? We are constantly plagued by feelings of guilt and hesitation in making such decisions. A matter of personal reflection is worth embarking upon in order to grow as mature individuals by reviewing our roles, for example, in the demise of the friendship before walking away. Fundamentally, be a friend to yourself first.
Moreover, a life of righteousness is partly informed by genuine connections that are not reflected by outward tangible portrayal of spiritual piety alone. The pressure to assert our identity markers, for instance, through clothing does not solidify spiritual quotient when we slip into superficial thinking and hypocritical behaviour towards others.
Be In Control; Not Controlled
Illusions and delusions are everywhere on social media. Do they necessarily reflect or capture our everyday lived realities?
Being affected by the number of likes and views could really take a toll on anyone’s psyche. It is a form of distraction that veers our focus on what truly matters in life. Albeit its ubiquity is not in our control, we have the choice to either empower ourselves in dealing with it, or continue to be swallowed by the tide of algorithms that compete for our absolute attention and money to largely our own detriment. A business model anchored in profiting from our addiction. Who is winning here exactly?
One way to manage is to engage in digital minimalism. We decide on what to watch and how much time is spent on scrolling through the feed of any social media platform. Better still, return to reading books, for instance, as reading is fundamental when it comes to the pursuit of knowledge. It is another form of intellectual engagement without constantly relying on smart devices.
Contemporary Global Muslims
Knowledge acquisition and accumulation have been made easier with and amplified by technology. However, with social media there are risks of isolating oneself from engaging and learning from others who might not be in agreement with one’s world views, such as sharing the same religion. Yet, akin to many historical Islamic figures, such differences should not be a threat, instead opportunities to learn about varying opinions, cultures and beliefs. It is very much a facet of Islamic tradition to be open and learn from others, even non-Muslims.
As engaged global Muslims, we do not live in silos. Our habits, healthy or otherwise, have far-reaching repercussions. As such, there are certain global issues that need our input and cooperation with others. The enormity of such a challenge is just too big to shoulder by any particular group – environmental catastrophe that is at our collective doorstep. An existential threat that hangs over our head and growing more menacing with every passing minute. In addition to prayers, we need to take concrete steps to help alleviate the dire situation. There is no time left to postpone or procrastinate.