Ramadan Challenge: It’s All About Intentions!

By Umm Ibrahim

Yesterday was not a good day. I had started the day with the intention of spending the whole day in worship – reading the Quran and nawafil (non-obligatory prayers) mostly. Yet, I was interrupted ever so often by a demanding husband, a cranky baby, relatives on the phone, never-ending chores and even the plumber! The day ended with me feeling cranky and upset because of all these distractions which had made me miserably fail in developing that connection with Allah that I had so ardently desired.

But today, it hit me that Allah is well-aware of my situation. Doesn’t He just want me to grow where he has planted me? Today, I decided to go with the flow and take the day as it comes but just to remember to do everything I do with the goal of pleasing Him. My goal today was not 20 nawafil or 3 juzz; it was simply to obtain the Pleasure of Allah.

So I sat down calmly to read the Quran and ponder over it to please Allah.

When my husband called me to iron his shirt, I closed the mushaf (Quran) without a frown, realizing that Allah is pleased with the woman who obeys her husband happily. I ironed his shirt with love and care to please Allah.

I resumed my recitation until the baby woke up. I bathed him and changed his diaper and fed him, all the while seeking to please Allah, realizing that this was a responsibility He had placed on me and I would be answerable for it.

Success

When my aunt called while I was busy in my post-Zuhr prayer tasbih (remembrance of Allah), I responded graciously. I sought Allah’s Pleasure in the act of maintaining the ties of kinship, and speaking nicely.

And when the baby woke up from his afternoon nap for the 3rd time, I groggily picked him up and rocked him to sleep. This child would not let me sleep today, it seemed. But my heart was filled with serenity instead of resentment as I sought the Pleasure of Allah in the simple act of loving my baby and being gentle to him. I rocked him to sleep while making dua for his future in this world and the hereafter.

In the evening, when I entered the kitchen, I was not angry for having to miss out on more recitation. Rather, as much as my heart yearned to be in solitude with the Quran, I focused on seeking Allah’s Pleasure by preparing food for my fasting family and feeding them.

At night, my husband had a severe migraine attack and I decided to skip taraweeh prayer in the masjid to be there for him. Though I love every moment of taraweeh prayer, the desire to do what I thought would please Allah more in this situation won.

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Finally, when I went to bed, I was seeking to be refreshed for suhoor (meal before dawn), all the while seeking the pleasure of Allah even in sleeping.

Today was a good day alhamdulillah. Today I learnt the difference between doing something just for yourself or other people and doing something purely for the sake of Allah, seeking His Pleasure.

I challenge you to try this out for yourself. Whatever you do today, whether it be a formal act of worship or a seemingly mundane chore, do it with the intention of pleasing Allah. Because without this intention, you risk all your deeds going to waste!

May Allah be pleased with us all.

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