Trying to balance our spiritual lives with our careers, family commitments and other responsibilities is a lifelong struggle, but as long as we are struggling, Allah’s Help is always near. Our fear is that we become complacent and unaware of our complacency! As long as we are remembering Allah, we keep our nafs and shaytaan at bay. Here are some tips to help us be engaged in zikr throughout our day.
1) Have a fixed schedule
Just like we don’t forget to take a bath in the morning, we should also slot in a dedicated zikr routine in our day. For some, it could be right before they sleep as that’s when they are most relaxed. For others, lunchtime + zuhur prayers at work may prove to be too rushing so they prefer their morning commute to engage in zikr. Whatever your schedule looks like, slotting in a mere 5 minutes to read the Qur’an on your phone, or to do a hizb will calm your soul. Once you have internalised the habit, you will feel weird when you miss that routine. The key is to do consistently at the beginning so that it becomes a part of you.
2) Find a zikr buddy
One of the hardest things about starting and keeping a new habit or routine is our own discipline. And especially when it comes to something good, the shaytaan will try doubly, triply hard to steer you off course. What has helped me greatly is to make a pact with a close friend to be your buddy. Make the pact as easy as possible so it doesn’t become a burden for either of you, and is too easy to miss. For example, I have a friend who I will report to every 24 hours on whether I have read the Qur’an for that day or not. If I don’t message her by the time she’s going to bed, she will remind me to do so and I will read the Qur’an, even if it’s one line.
Remember, it’s all about consistency (istiqomah) and not quantity.
3) Install the Solat App
For many of us, a significant portion of our day is spent on Facebook or other social media websites. The Solat App posts the prayer timings for the day every morning on your wall. Not only do you get to refer to it when you are on Facebook, every time someone likes or comments on it, you are continuously reminded of the content of the message: to solat, or remember Allah. You can install the free Solat Timings App here: http://www.islamicevents.sg/sgprayertime/
4) Use your phone for reminders
During the recent Grand Mawlid event on 13 January 2014 with Shaykh Hisham Kabbani, he said that while we fill our phones with all kinds of apps and games, we should also use it to remind us of Allah. He suggested such an easy way to engage in zikr which is to put a reminder or an alarm every hour (or as often as you’d like) with a message. So at a certain time, our phone will ring and a notification will show “Say Astaghfirullah” and since we are already looking at our phone, we would say “Astaghfirullah”.
Do this for a few times throughout the day with different zikr and we will be ‘forced’ to remember Allah. InshaAllah in time, it will come naturally for us.