The Best Thing to Do

One problem many of us face is that we want to do so much at once, and thus become overwhelmed in our thoughts trying to establish exactly what we should be doing and what our obligations are at a given point in time. This leads us to focus on what we can’t accomplish moreso than what we can accomplish. This can be well and good, and as Ibn al-Jawzi said, a person can be rewarded for his intentions more than for his actions. However, the point of intending is to be productive and extract something physical from that intention.

Part of being productive is to have a methodical approach as to when to focus on what. For example, if your worship and intentions for specific efforts are organized and you properly place your focus where and when it should be, you’ll find yourself accomplishing much more as a Muslim, no matter if you’re a scholar who teaches, a caller to Allah who motivates, or a general worshipper who simply wants to get closer to your Lord.

Without wanting to get into immense detail, I thought it sufficient to present a few words to to illustrate this that Ibn al-Qayyim had written in ‘Madarij as-Salikin’ (1/188):

“…They say that the best worship is to do what will please the Lord at every time in accordance with what that particular time calls for.

So, the best acts of worship during the time of Jihad is Jihad, even if this leads to abandoning certain rituals such as night prayer, fasting, etc. In fact, this applies even if you are to not pray a complete obligatory prayer as you would in times of safety and calm.

And the best thing to do when you have a guest, for example, is to see to his rights as a guest and to preoccupy yourself with that instead of the recommended rituals you would usually engage in at the time.

Such is also the case in fulfilling the rights of your wife and family.

The best thing to do during the early morning hours is to be preoccupied with prayer, Qur’an, supplication, remembrance of Allah, and asking His Forgiveness.

The best thing to do when teaching a student or ignorant person is to completely turn your attention towards teaching him.

The best thing to do during the call to prayer is to leave whatever rituals you are engaged in and to occupy yourself with repeating after the one making the call.

The best thing to do during the five prayers is to try your best in carrying them out in the best possible manner and to rush to perform them right away, and to go out to the mosque – even if it is far – is better.

The best thing to do when someone needs help physically or financially is to busy yourself with helping that person, relieving his distress, and to place this as a priority over your private worship that you’d usually be engaged in.

The best thing to do when reciting the Qur’an is to have your heart and mind present in order to reflect over and understand it as if Allah is personally addressing you with it. So, to have your heart present to understand and reflect over it and to have the zeal to implement its commands is greater than the attentiveness of the heart of one who has received a message from the ruler to that message.

The best thing to do when standing at ‘Arafah is to exert yourself in being humble before Allah, supplicating, and remembering Him instead of fasting.

The best thing to do during the first ten days of Dhu al-Hijjah is to increase in worship, especially saying ‘Allahu Akbar,’ ‘La ilaha illa Allah,’ and ‘al-hamdu lil-Lah.’ This is better here than the Jihad that is not an individual obligation.

The best thing to do during the last ten nights of Ramadan is to stay in the mosque and to seclude yourself in it without mixing with others and being distracted by them. This is to the point that it is better than teaching them and practicing the Qur’an with them according to many of the scholars.

The best thing to do when you have a brother who is sick or dying is to visit him, attend his funeral, and to prefer this over your private worship or social activities.

And the best thing to do when a disaster befalls you or people hurt you is to fulfill the obligation of having patience while continuing to interact with them and not running from them, since the believer who mixes with people and is patient despite their harm to him is better than the believer who doesn’t mix with them and isn’t harmed by them.

And the best thing you can interact with them in is whatever is good, and this is better than to seclude yourself from them in such a case. As for bad things, it is better to seclude yourself from them in such a case. However, if you know that mixing with in this case will help remove or reduce the bad, it is better to mix with them than to abandon them.

So, the best thing to do in every time and situation is whatever will please Allah at that particular time and situation and to focus on the foremost obligation at that particular time and whatever it necessitates and requires…”

So, while Ibn al-Qayyim’s words above mention specific actions, you hopefully get the point. The attitude he is promoting here is to focus on what’s in front of you and needs to be done then and there, as this is the best way to please Allah in that particular situation. If you employ this attitude in your day to day activities in general and your service to Allah and Islam in particular, you’ll find that you’ll get much more out of yourself.

و بالله التوفيق

17 Responses to “The Best Thing to Do”

  1. Arshada Says:

    Excellent

  2. ibnmuadh Says:

    Jazakallahu khayran

  3. Umm Ishaaq Says:

    I needed this:

    And the best thing to do when a disaster befalls you or people hurt you is to fulfill the obligation of having patience while continuing to interact with them and not running from them, since the believer who mixes with people and is patient despite their harm to him is better than the believer who doesn’t mix with them and isn’t harmed by them.

    And the best thing you can interact with them in is whatever is good, and this is better than to seclude yourself from them in such a case. As for bad things, it is better to seclude yourself from them in such a case. However, if you know that mixing with in this case will help remove or reduce the bad, it is better to mix with them than to abandon them.

    Jazaakum Allaah khayr!!!

  4. emirzad Says:

    jazakumullah kheir for the article; excellence is not an act its habit, said someone. but what can override this particular approach to live life, one thing at a time in the best possible way we could, and not what they think we could. subahan Allaah.

  5. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh,

    May Allaah reward you immensley for your efforts especially the last 5-6 articles. I have really benefitted from them.

    Assalaamu alaykum

  6. abu muhamed as somaal Says:

    asalamu alykum warahmatulah wabarakatu
    akhi jazakalah khairan kharu jazaa
    i love the short articles you translate , i ask allah the most high to reward you generously for your work to benefit the ummah , may allah give sincerety, make you steadfast, and place in you al firdaws
    i love you for the sake of allah

  7. abu muslim Says:

    assalaamu alaykum
    brother is it possible i can join the dawah on ur site by sending you some translated articles.

  8. Jazaakum Allaah khayr!!!

  9. Assallamu wa’Alakykum wa’Rahmathullah,

    If one were to ponder from the words of our beloved Scholar [ibn Qiayum (ra)], whom speaks eloquently and places words with sweetness. One would conclude there is no contradiction in performing the Worships, whether obligations or recommended [i.e. the Shari’ah].

    If Muslims prioritise their worship from the most important to the most important, and placed them in the right places, they are able to fulfil their all their worship that needs to be fulfilled in that time thet needs to be performed.

    Whether they are daily worship in a day [i.e. reciting the Qur’an, Adhkar after Fajr, praying Salaah in Jama’ah, working, spending time with family, seeking knowledge, Qiyamul layle], yearly worship in a year [i.e. Ramadan] and worship which needs to be performed once in their life [Hajj and Jihad fisabillah].

    To conclude:

    There is no contradiction in the Shari’ah if one were to just to reflect, understand, follow and implement the Qur’an and Sunnah, upon our hearts, tongues and limbs, Insha’Allah will able to attain the main purpose of our creation, which is to Worship Allah (SWT).

    Jazakhumullah khaiyrun for your article.

  10. Hayyaakumullaah

  11. abu muslim Says:

    salaam

  12. barakallahu fik

  13. JazakAllah Khair for translating that wonderful article! Please keep up the good work because we are all benefiting from it tremendously.

  14. Gracious Creation Says:

    Jazakallah for the treatise! This is a very good example of how Islam talks about focus and productivity. May Allaah swt reward you for this and help you in bringing out more articles to light :)

  15. Masha Allah. Jazakum Allahu Khair. I also needed to read this. BarakAllahu feek.

  16. Umm Turaab Says:

    asSalaamu ‘alaykum,

    Great articles, I also read the information and knowledge that is spread here. May Allaah reward you with the best reward, Djennatul Firdauws.
    So keep on writing and may Allaah give us a good memory and knowledge that will benefit us in dunya and the Hereafter. Ameen

    A sister from Holland.

  17. The best thing to do during the five prayers is to try your best in carrying them out in the best possible manner and to rush to perform them right away, and to go out to the mosque – even if it is far – is better.

    I planned to pray at home since i had an headache but after reading the above point, i immediately left my laptop and head for the mosque.

    Jazakumullah khair

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