Set Up Morning Rituals That Will Fuel Your Day: “Taking Advantage of Your Time, Before You Become Busy”
Set up Morning Rituals that will Fuel Your Day: Taking Advantage of “Our Free Time Before We Become Busy”
In a hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam), we are urged to take advantage of, and not waste 5 precious blessings:
“Take advantage of five matters before five other matters: your youth, before you become old; your health, before you fall sick; your wealth, before you become poor; your free time before you become busy; and your life, before your death.” – Al-Hakim
Subhanallah, diligence in each of these areas is critical to our success, however in this post, I’d like to focus on ”your free time before you become busy”, and discuss setting up a morning routine that not only takes advantage of free time, but also reduces stress, increases spiritual connection and makes for a smoother day overall.
“The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) said: ‘O Allah, bless my Ummah in the mornings.”
[Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, Ibn Majah]
MashaAllah, this hadith is one that I have heard repeated by my father since I was very young. He rarely let us sleep after Salatul Fajr, and instead we would have Tafsir classes, deep clean the house, or get an early start to the farmer’s market. While we may have grumbled a bit about it back then, mashaAllah we usually accomplished more by 9am than most people do in a day. And now as an adult with a large family (5 children), people often ask how I am able to do so much in a day. This is because I treasure my mornings. This hadith is one of the main reasons, Alhamdulillah.
We all know that once the day officially starts, you will have all manner of obligations, distractions and emergencies. The only time that you truly have to yourself is the early morning. Aside from waking to pray Tahajud (which we’ll cover in a future article, inshaAllah), the early morning is the most productive time of the day – from both a personal productivity and a spiritual perspective. And as the hadith states, actions done at this time are more blessed.
Keys to a Productive Morning
1. Athkar & Dua – after Fajr, resist the urge to go back to sleep, check social media, or jump up and immediately start your day. Instead, use this time to thikr Allah and to supplicate to Him regarding your problems and challenges, as well as thank Him for His many blessings.
There is a small book of dua that I keep with me constantly and it contains the authentic recommended ad’iyah for both the morning and the evening. The morning routine consists of about 24 different ad’iyah (some of which are said multiple times, i.e. 3, 4, 7, 10, etc.).
Once you get into the habit of completing these, it will take you about 20 minutes each morning, and the ad’iyah for the evening take slightly less time. This may seem like a lot of time in our low attention span world, but it is so worth it. The few times I miss this routine, I can literally feel the difference as I go about the day.
2. Quran/Study- take some time and do review of a surah you are trying to learn, study an Arabic lesson (you’ll retain info better in the morning), or read part of a beneficial Islamic book. I personally also like to open the Quran to random sections and read – and I’ve always found that I am led to an ayah or ayaat that I really needed at the time.
3. Cup of tea/coffee/lemon water & planning for the day ahead- once I finish my thikr, reading or studies, I’ll usually have a cup of tea and check correspondence and plan the rest of my day. I make a list of three critical things to accomplish that day (I have a dry erase board near my desk), and also jot down any other small errands or obligations. This saves me the frustration of wondering if I forgot something important, and allows me to greet the day without anxiety or haste.
4. Exercise – I personally save exercise for later in the day, but I will make time to stretch and get my body moving and my lymphatic system flowing in the morning. Dry brushing is also beneficial at this time.
5. If possible, I try to prep breakfast and take out or prep dinner, while the children are still asleep. This way when they wake, everything is already prepared. This doesn’t always happen, but at least having an idea of what you will make and getting your ingredients ready, helps tremendously.
6. Once the children are up and in the bath, I load the laundry, make lunches or iron while they’re occupied with bubbles.
7. I always try to straighten up before leaving the house or settling into my home office for a day of work. There is nothing worse than returning to a messy environment at the end of a long day, and it helps your evening routine run more smoothly.
At first glance, this may seem like a chore, or something that you cannot sustain (this is my routine, find what works for YOU), but believe me – if you stick with it, it will become the most precious time of your day.
From a spiritual standpoint, you will have more blessing upon your day, and are more likely to have your dua answered. InshaAllah, you will have also gained beneficial knowledge through your studies, and are in the perfect mind frame to go about your day with the adab becoming of a Muslimah. Can you imagine doing all of this in the morning, then adorning your face with makeup, or dressing in revealing clothes before leaving the house – or going into work and gossiping? Not if Allah is Merciful.
And from a personal productivity and mental perspective, you mind is clearer and more focused, you have a clear objective for your day and you have accomplished many of the small tasks that usually linger undone – but cause major headaches later in the day. You may have even mapped out a beneficial new project or completed an important assignment – all while the rest of the world was sleeping.
Additional Tips & modifications.
— I prefer to do heavy cleaning or chores at night, so that the mornings are dedicated to simpler chores, which I can often do at the same time I am competing my morning athkar. I like to keep the energy of my mornings light, soothing and expansive, as much as possible.
— If you work outside of the home, have early classes, or have young children, you may not be able to get to all of these items every day – and that’s ok. The key is to so something … make a commitment to use your mornings (whatever amount you have available) to do something to center yourself spiritually, emotionally and physically.
–If you’re very rushed during the week, try to have a longer routine on the weekends or your day off. If you have to leave out very early for work, or are on a shift where you are already at work at this time, carry a small dua book with you and recite the supplications while you are prepping for- or winding down from your workday.
— Keep a pad or notebook nearby in the early mornings. You’ll often find that Allah blesses you with an abundance of creativity, solutions to problems you’ve been facing, and ideas for new ventures or projects in the early morning.
Do you have a morning routine? Is so, share with us what your morning looks like? If not, what are some small morning rituals that you can begin implementing as early as tomorrow?
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