niat and hard work

June 6, 2010

I have to admit, I don’t really pay as much attention to my spiritual side as I should.

What I mean is the extra bit; the bit where you make an effort to learn more about your religion. Reading books on religion, reading the translation of the Quran, learning about the history of Islam and the prophets, going to talks etc.

This is why I’m thankful to have my parents, especially my mom. She goes to Islamic classes with her friends, so she’ll come home and feel the need to pour out whatever she learned on us. I was just about to put the spoon of yummy dinner in my mouth, and my Mom will interrupt my wonderful experience of wanting that lusty delicious food in my tummy.

“Dah baca Bismillah ke belum? You know if you don’t say it, bla bla bla bla…”

This is normal daily dialogue in our household. Hehe.

Sometimes we wrongly take it lightly because we think it’s petty. But deep down, we all know that we need these reminders even if we think we already know them. Yes, we all know them, we’ve learned them in school. But do we really practice the Islamic basic lifestyle? Little zikirs like saying “Assalamualaikum” to a fellow Muslim (instead of wassappp), or saying “Alhamdulillah” after we sneeze (instead of ughh), or saying “Inalillah” when something bad happens (instead of goddamnit).

These phrases bring us closer to God and even gives pahala, so as a matter of fact, we should say it as much as we can! But even I go “Heyyyy!” when I see a friend, or “Oh crap” when something bad happens. It’s just reflex, I don’t mean to substitute the Islamic way! But yes, I agree that I should practice these words until it becomes my lifestyle.

I’ve been following my parents to the mosque for these lectures on Islam.

The most recent one was on “Niat” (Intention). Basically, the Ustaz reminded us that everything we do, it has to be ultimately because of God. For instance, we marry with the intention of procreation and taking the next step to love, but ultimately it has to be in our hearts that we are doing this for God. We pray because of God. We fast because of God. We go to work because of God. We do everything good in life ultimately because of God.

Some people not familiar with this concept might think it to be OTT or a bit ridiculous.

But it makes sense.

It’s not like we pause before doing anything to start praying to God and look up to the sky going“I’m doing this for you, ok?!!”. It’s just a feeling in the heart. Just a silent affirmation before doing anything.

When we accept there is a bigger power that is our Creator who’s always watching out for us, we will be more humble. With humbleness, patience follows. When we do things because of God and do it with all our hearts, and yet we get disappointing responses from others, we won’t be bothered because we know that God acknowledges it.

The Ustaz gave a scenario of a woman cooking for her husband. She went to the market early in the morning, cooked throughout the day, tired but excited for her husband to eat, husband eventually eats and doesn’t even say thank you. An average human being would be slightly pissed off and may even vow never to cook again! But if the woman had the intention of feeding her husband because of God, then she’ll be reminded that it’s fine, no need to get mad and make him sleep outside. Her husband’s full and God acknowledges her efforts.

(This is very noble of her, but I would probably give my husband a hug and go “You’re welcome, honey.” And then carry on with life knowing God loves me. Hehe.)

As human beings, we won’t escape challenges, mostly originating from other human beings who may not be as nice or appreciative. If we go through life with the intention of being a good person, doing good deeds and leaving behind good things all the while having the intention of doing them because of God, then we will take challenges in life without being discouraged by unkind words or actions thrown to us. Because the only stamp of approval we seek is God’s!

Think about it. The most patient person is he who knows his life is because of God.

The Ustaz left us with that meaningful line and it has stuck in my brain.

Patience is not something I have. I’m impatient in a lot of things. Sometimes I think it’s a good thing because I don’t like to waste time and I like to get things done, but when that impatience spills over to other things, it becomes a vice. So hopefully when I practise this “niat” concept, it will make me a better and calmer person.

But we’ve got to use our brain also.

If we just say oh, I did it for God, so whatever happens now happens, then we’re just taking the niat concept for granted. We’re just being complacent. So I think the right attitude should be having God in mind all the time when we do something plus the drive to excel.

Niat + Hard Work and Determination = Success

Sorry for the preaching. Just thought I’d share whatever I learned recently. *oh god, I’m turning into my mom* But whatever ok, at least you guys can scroll down or up if you don’t want to read this. I actually have to sit through the whole thing and go, “Yes, Mom. Yes, Mom.”

Anyway, at the mosque, I bumped into a high school senior who also happens to be a blog reader! πŸ™‚ What a nice surprise.

Kak Shera and I channelling the Monochrome!