My friend and I made a resolution to memorize the whole Quran two years ago. We had memorized a few chapters from the last juz before then, and we wanted to memorize the remaining parts of the Quran in three years.
We got a chart from the internet that broke down how many verses one would need to memorize daily, weekly or monthly, and the average times that it would take to finish the whole Quran.
We found teachers, got our favorite mus’haf and got to work.
Two years later, we realized that we had only managed to finish just the 29th and 30th juz. That meant that we had only memorized about 48 chapters out of 114. This wasn’t what we hoped for, and it led us to have a critical look at ourselves and see where we went wrong.
This may sound familiar to you. You may have spiritual goals that you have set for yourself, maybe waking up for qiyamul layl, but you find that after a few weeks of consistently doing the deed, you find yourself missing some days, or abandoning the deed altogether.
While we know that guidance is with Allah (ta’ala) and only He can make an act of worship easy for us to perform, we also have to admit that sometimes, not achieving an ibaadah goal is much from our own actions.
If you find that this resonates with you, here are three things that I want you to watch out for as impediments to achieving your spiritual growth
A large number of people are self-confessed procrastinators. We don’t find the inspiration to do a task in front of us, and if there is a deadline, many of us wait till the deadline before we push ourselves to do the task.
This habit is very counterproductive to achieving spiritual growth. You can’t leave your daily revision of the Quran till the day when you are inspired to recite, otherwise, you will find yourself missing verses in your recitation. You can’t make a habit of leaving your obligatory salah till the time has almost passed, and expect to spiritually grow to be one of the people who stand up as soon as the adhan is called.
Procrastination is one of the things that prevented us from achieving our hifdh goal as much as we planned. Leaving our daily portions for days when we were less busy at work or the house became a recipe for us to lag behind in the daily memorization, which subsequently affected how much we memorized over two years.
If you want to get over procrastination in spiritual matters, ask yourself what would happen if you were facing death right now. Would you panic that you have a lot of ibaadah that you want to perform? Or would you try to calm yourself that you sincerely did all that you could?
Remember all the people who thought that they had time, but left too soon. Remember that what we will spend in the grave and the hereafter is a lot more than anything we will spend in this world. And this deeds that we do when we grow spiritually, are what we will use in the hereafter.
Right along with procrastination is a chronic misuse of our time. So many things are fighting for our attention these days, and many times, we have a weakened spirit towards them. You install a time tracker on your phone to help you be productive with your time, but you sneak a few minutes on Facebook while working on your laptop.
We work a little and take long breaks doing things that are not beneficial online. We get home after a long day at work, and instead of going to bed to get as much sleep as possible, we stay up for a better part of the night catching up on TV series and engaging trolls on the internet.
You may not be guilty of any of these, but you may have other activities that you do during the day that add little or no value to your life. Time which is better spent spiritually growing yourself through acts of worship.
We realized this in our own lives when we found that once the whole family had gone to bed, we spent time scrolling away on Instagram until we’ve wasted part of the time that we set for sleep, and this, in turn, affected when we would wake up to memorize our daily portion of the Quran. Little by little, we found ourselves sleeping for longer and only waking up when it’s time for Fajr. With that, the time for hifdh has passed and we can only get to make it up by finding random hours to squeeze it in during the day.
If you take a sincere look at the things that you do on a daily basis, I am will to guess that you will find a couple of hours that you can free up to achieve all the spiritual goals that you have set for yourself.
“All the sons of Adam are sinners, but the best of sinners are those who repent often.” (Bulugh al Maram). Yes, we commit sins despite our best intentions. But as striving Muslims, we don’t take this hadith as a pass to then revel in committing sins indiscriminately, because one of the side effects of committing sins is that it distances you from acts of worship.
When you are busy hanging out at that haraam place, you can’t remember to read the Quran, and it certainly can’t be convenient for you to pray your salah on time. When you are backbiting about that sister or brother from your Islamic Society, you can’t remember to recite a few adkhaar. When you stay up all night dancing at the club, you can’t be one of those who remember their Lord in the last third of the night.
Sins distract us from the remembrance of Allah (ta’ala) and His worship, and this affects our spiritual growth.
You may think that these sins mentioned are too extreme for you, but take account of your daily activities and watch out for even the littlest of sins, because they could be preventing you from focusing on your spiritual goals.
Achieving spiritual growth takes a lot of dedication and sacrifice, even more than is required to achieve other growths like the academic and physical. The level of a person’s spiritual growth is determined by the activities that they choose to engage in on a daily basis because it is these activities that will form their scale of deeds in the sight of Allah (ta’ala).
Let’s wake up every day committed to consciously doing those things that will improve our faith, in sha’a Allah.