Over the past few months, every single person’s life has been impacted in one way or another by the pandemic. For most of us, our daily routine involving work, school, family, friends, and dawah has been significantly impacted. How do we maintain the same level of productivity throughout this pandemic? How should we stay motivated when so many of us are confined to do most of our work from home? No one has a perfect formula for staying productive. However, for me personally, I have been applying a lot of the lessons I learned at Camp Sunnah a couple of years ago to my pandemic lifestyle and the results have been quite beneficial, Alhumdulillah.
Here are just a few ways to apply Camp Sunnah lessons to your life to remain productive as a Muslim throughout the pandemic…
- Remember that your time in this world is limited and the ultimate goal destination is Jannah.
As Muslims, and as humans, we are well aware that our time on this earth is limited. The countdown clock for the day we will leave this earth is always ticking and we can never truly know how much time we have left. It is important that we try to maximize our time for the sake of Allah (SWT) to increase our worship and purify our intention in every task we do. At Camp Sunnah, this idea is strongly reinforced as every activity that we do throughout the day has a higher purpose and goal as we try to emulate the Sunnah of the Prophet (SAWS). Whether is be a workout session, attending a lecture, or preparing dinner, everything we do is linked to pleasing Allah (SWT).
- Make a realistic schedule and write it down.
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death.” [Sahih]
Plan out your day, maybe even your week, with specifically timed activities. Do not just write down a checklist with no designated timeslots. With the pandemic, there are less places you are physically expected to be for certain times, so a schedule will help with holding yourself accountable.
At Camp Sunnah, the entire week is planned out with a timed schedule that all of the camp attendees are expected to follow. Creating a schedule like this daily for yourself might feel like you are restricting yourself in some way. However, you will find that you are actually preventing yourself from procrastination, maximizing your time, and you are more likely to complete a task when you have written it down with a specific time. It can be easy to fall behind if your schedule is not realistic or does not account for buffer times, so make sure to schedule in break times and expect the unexpected! Be flexible and adaptable to the world around you but ensure that a moment is not wasted. More importantly, try to schedule your day around salah times, not the other way around. If you really want to take advantage of the time you have in this life as a Muslim, have a plan and have a schedule.
- Wake up for Fajr…and stay awake.
“Establish prayer at the decline of the sun [from its meridian] until the darkness of the night and [also] the Quran [i.e., recitation] of dawn. Indeed, the recitation of dawn is ever witnessed.” [Quran 17:78]
At Camp Sunnah, all the camp attendees wake up at the same time to pray Fajr salah together. Once we finish praying, we all recite Qu’ran together, spending some time working on our tajweed as well as learning Tafsir with one of the Camp Sunnah teachers. Our day does not end here as we stay awake to utilize the morning hours to say productive. As most of us already know, it is Sunnah to wake up early and utilize these morning hours. At Camp Sunnah, it is easier to stay awake after fajr when you are all following a schedule together. However, the sad reality is that most of us struggle to stay awake after fajr, let alone wake up for fajr. This is especially difficult during the pandemic when so many of us are able to work and attend school from home. Still, it is so important that we make that intention the night before that we will wake up for fajr salah the next morning and set those alarms.
Recall the hadith narrated by Abu Huraira:
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “Satan puts three knots at the back of the head of any of you if he is asleep. On every knot he reads and exhales the following words, ‘The night is long, so stay asleep.’ When one wakes up and remembers Allah, one knot is undone; and when one performs ablution, the second knot is undone, and when one prays the third knot is undone and one gets up energetic with a good heart in the morning; otherwise one gets up lazy and with a mischievous heart.” [Sahih al-Bukhari]
If you are someone who often sleeps through their alarms or has trouble waking up for fajr, ask a family member or friend to help you out with a wake-up call! Wake up for fajr, pray, read Qu’ran, and try to stay awake after fajr to truly maximize the blessings of the morning time.
In fact, Sakhr ibn al-Ghamidi reported:
The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “O Allah, bless my nation in their early morning.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 1212]
- It is perfectly okay to take an afternoon nap (Qaylula). In fact, it is Sunnah!
Taking an afternoon nap is something that may be foreign to many of us as it is often viewed in Western society as ‘being lazy.’ However, this is not the case in Islam. It is actually Sunnah to take an afternoon nap, after Duhr. So, if you were feeling a bit weary about staying awake after fajr, do not worry! At Camp Sunnah, all attendees take a scheduled afternoon nap. This allowed us to rest, boost our energy and regain our energy for the rest of the day’s activities. In your regular day at home, a nap is a great way to follow the Sunnah while also rejuvenating to stay productive for the rest of your day.
Recall that we are told in the Qu’ran, “And We have made your sleep as a rest.” [Qur’an 78:9]
- The importance of exercise and good eating habits for staying productive.
It is important to treat the body as an amanah. This includes exercising and good eating habits. As part of the Sunnah, we would engage in activities like horseback riding, swimming and archery. Additionally, we would eat in moderation throughout the day, meals that were healthy and delicious.
Many people have started to exercise at home a lot more since the pandemic started. It is important to engage in exercise to take care of your body, but do not do so for the wrong reasons. Ensure that you purify your intention and schedule some time throughout the week to workout consistently. Keeping your body physically healthy will allow for your mind to also stay alert and energized for other tasks you have to get done throughout the day. More importantly, keeping your body well and alive will allow you to maximize your time for ibadah.
Miqdam ibn Ma’d reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “The son of Adam cannot fill a vessel worse than his stomach, as it is enough for him to take a few bites to straighten his back. If he cannot do it, then he may fill it with a third of his food, a third of his drink, and a third of his breath.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī 2380]
- Make du’a.
“And when My servants ask you, [O Muhammad], concerning Me – indeed I am near. I respond to the invocation of the supplicant when he calls upon Me. So let them respond to Me [by obedience] and believe in Me that they may be [rightly] guided.” [Quran 2:186]
Last, but not least, make du’a. Make du’a that your time will have baraqah in it and that Allah (SWT) allows you to maximize your time His sake. It is important to also engage in daily adkhar, remain consistent with your salah and spend time acquiring ilm of our deen. Ultimately, if we do not make that sincere intention to maximize our time for the sake of Allah (SWT), we will not able to have baraqah in our time. If you are struggling with full utilizing your time, always turn to Allah (SWT) and ask Him for His help.
If you feel like there are days when you haven no motivation, remember that you are not the only one! It happens to all of us, especially during the pandemic where we have this lack of ‘in-person’ Islamic gatherings. That is why it is so important, even in the midst of a pandemic, to try and stay connected with the Jama’a. Alhumdulillah, we have resources that are still available to us online. We should try to stay connected with the brothers and sisters of our Muslim community by engaging in da’wah, attending online halaqat, listening and watching beneficial videos, like the Life Haqq podcast, to remain connected to the Jama’a.
It is natural to have those dips in productivity and motivation, but it is essential to stay connected to Allah (SWT) and the people around us. Always remember that being productive in this dunya is just a means to reach the final destination, inshaAllah – Jannah. By following some of the steps outlined above, make that intention to wake up at fajr tomorrow morning, get dressed for the day, say bismillah and begin your day with a fresh start, inshaAllah.