Inner Peace

5 ways to experience daily peace

Inner Peace

5 ways to experience daily peace

Inner peace – its almost a cliche how much people want this and talk about this. Yet we often avoid doing the simple things that can help us achieve it. Inner peace isn’t some strange fantasy that only the pious experience. Sure, they experience much more often and deeper than we do. But there are many tiny things we can do daily to experience inner peace on a daily basis.

However, before we discuss these, I need to clarify something. Experiencing inner peace doesn’t mean you never feel sad or pain again. No! Rather, inner peace is like every other feeling something that comes and goes in waves. These tips will just help you increase how often you experience it on a daily basis.

1. Wake Up Early

The first step is to start your day early. This may seem very obvious. Two of the main Islamic sources of inner peace are early in the morning (Tahajjud and Fajr), so obviously the early morning is linked to inner peace.

But it is not only the prayer that brings peace. It is the quiet, the light humming of the morning birds, the beauty of the sunrise. It is also the feeling that you can wake up, relax and then start work without rushing or stressing out. All of this leads to a beautiful glorious blast of inner peace before your day even begins.

2. Make time for productive alone time

Even if it is just for an hour or thirty minutes. Grab a cup of coffee (or tea, or hot chocolate), take a break from the busy stressful world, and do something meaningful to you. For it, it means making time daily to write. I find it relaxing, motivating and fulfilling all at the same time. You need to find something that brings the same feelings to you, and make time daily for it.

It could be anything from extra acts of worship to reading a book, to drawing some art. Find what you enjoy doing alone and make time for it daily. That time spent doing what you love may be the most peaceful you will feel all day.

3. Talk a walk in nature

I am lucky that my home is surrounded by a forest, and I live two blocks away from a beautiful park. So I always have nature to look at when I want to feel at peace. If you haven’t made time for nature in a while, you may be surprised at how much peace it fills you with.

No matter how busy your day is, pull away during your lunch break, after work or early in the morning and just talk a slow, relaxing walk in nature. Breathe the fresh air, feel the wind, hear the birds and experience the inner peace that comes with all of that. You will need it to tackle the rest of your day.

4. Establish the prayers

Our inner peace is fundamentally linked to one thing: our relationship with our Creator. The stronger this relationship, the more often we experience inner peace. The very foundation of this relationship is to pray five times a day. Make it a habit and stick with it for life.

In the beginning it will be hard. But over time, you will learn to appreciate it, seek sanctuary in it, treasure it and enjoy it. The Islamic method of prayer (Salah) is one of the most powerful ways to experience inner peace, if done properly and with sincere intentions. Get it right and it becomes your daily treasure.

5. Make a list of things you are grateful for

Finally, make sure you begin each day from a place of gratitude. I have a daily habit of starting each day by writing down three things I am grateful for, and thanking God for each of these things. It doesn’t matter how bad a day I had, I still make sure I begin the next day by finding three things to be grateful for. This way each day begins in a state of peace and gratitude that supercharges the rest of the day.

Make it a habit to find things to be grateful for daily. It can be big stuff like your life, family and job or little things like a beautiful tree near your home or a nice gift your friend sent you. The point is that most of us always can find something to be grateful for. And that should be our focus, not the things we want to complain about. There will always be good and bad in our lives, but if we stay grateful for the good, we will have more energy for overcoming the bad.

Want to learn more about gratitude? Read our list of 25 ways to show gratitude or our detailed explanation of the art of gratitude.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, 2 comments

Introvert is not a bad word

This is an introduction to a book I am currently writing about introverts and hope to publish later this year. I will shape the book according to the reactions to this article, so please feel free to comment.

A confusing childhood

“You don’t want to be an introvert when you grow up,” my teacher told me, while driving me home from classes. He was lecturing me on the fact that I was too quiet and did not talk much. It was the first time I heard the word ‘introvert’ and based on the context, it sounded like something really bad.

Growing up as an introvert in a culture that values extroversion was not easy. On one hand, teachers would praise me for paying attention, working hard and having really creative ideas. On the other hand, people assumed I was immature because I didn’t talk much, and would consistently lecture me on being more social.

I grew up very confused and hating the fact that I was naturally a quite thinker who enjoyed alone time. I thought I was strange and abnormal, and wished I could be more like everybody else. This really dampened my self-confidence and forced me to behave in unnatural ways in order to fit in.

But ‘introvert’ is not a bad word

It would only be in my late twenties that I would discover that ‘introvert’ was not a bad word at all. I began to study psychology and learned that one-third of humanity is introverted, including many successful people throughout history. (Elon Musk, Bill Gates, Nelson Mandela, Ghandi to name a few.)

This completely changed my perspective. I discovered that the word ‘introvert’ didn’t refer to anything bad. It simply defined one thing: how do you recharge and energize yourself.

You see, people are of three types. One third of people are extroverts i.e. they gain energy from being around people, and get drained when they are alone. One third of people are introverts i.e. they gain energy from alone time and get drained in social settings. And in between are the ambiverts, who thrive in both settings.

That’s all it is. A word that defines what energizes you. So why does society treat introversion as a bad thing? It simply a matter of people not understanding that humans have different natures, and that they can’t force everybody to be the same.

Embracing one’s introversion

Once I discovered that being an introvert is not a bad thing, my confidence grew. I understood myself better, and I began to live a happier life.

One book that really made a difference in helping me understand this topic is ‘Quiet: The Power Of Introverts in a world that can’t stop talking‘ by Susan Cain. If you are struggling in understanding this topic, I highly recommend buying and reading this amazing book.

Over the next few years, I learned that the reason I often feel so drained is because I need alone time to recharge, and that I thrive best in situations that involve few people or being alone. I learned to embrace this and shape my careers accordingly.

This has led to me excelling as an author (which requires me being alone for many hours) and finding balance in my social life (by taking some alone time whenever I feel drained). Which led to me living a happier healthier life.

These days I enjoy my mornings alone with a cup of coffee typing away on my PC. I excel at various jobs and businesses that allow me to work from home on my own.

While at the same time, I meet up with a friend or two for coffee once a week to enjoy some quality conversation. (Hint: Introverts don’t hate socializing, they prefer smaller crowds and deeper conversations.)

All in all, studying this aspect of psychology has helped me tremendously, but also led to some regrets.

What I Regret

I often look back and wish I had learned all this earlier. I wish when I was a child someone had told me there is nothing wrong with being a quiet person. I wish people showed me how introverts like Ghandi, Mandela, and many others excelled in life because they were introverts.

This is why I decided I need to help younger people have a better experience than me. If I knew all of these things when I was younger, I would been happier, found my calling earlier, and would have been able to excel at a younger age.

For this reason, I want to make this the topic of my next book. I want to help a younger generation of Muslim introverts find balance in their lives. To help them deal with the unique challenges that introverted Muslims face, and to help them embrace the unique advantages that Muslim introverts have.

Challenges of being a Muslim introvert

I’ll summarize this in list form for now, and explain it in more details in the book in shaa Allah, as well as suggest ways to overcome these obstacles:

  1. Social anxiety getting in the way of Dawah
  2. Difficulty enjoying congregational activities
  3. Cultural expectations from elders that make one feel bad about oneself
  4. Being overly sensitive to what others say about us

Unique advantages of being a Muslim introvert

Same as above, I’ll summarize this in list form for now, and explain it in more details in the book in shaa Allah:

  1. Acts of worship done alone are easier to concentrate on (like Zikr, Qiyam Al-Layl, and reciting Quran)
  2. Tend to excel at writing and creativity
  3. Tend to read more, so usually consume more books
  4. Very easy to avoid social sins because we hate parties and clubs by nature
  5. Easier to avoid gossip, backbiting, etc. because we talk less

Your turn to talk

This short article was just an introduction so that I can get my idea out there and observe the feedback. Based on that feedback, I will shape the content of my upcoming book.

So please let me know your thoughts on this topic. Is it one worth pursuing in details? Do you think I am focusing on something not important at all? Would you read a book on this topic and find it beneficial? Let me know in the comments below.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, 22 comments

Disconnect: How to be happier

Disconnect

We need to disconnect

He sits all day on social media, agitated, aggravated, depressed. He needs to disconnect.

She scrolls through Facebook for hours, and begins to feel jealousy and malcontent deep inside. She needs to disconnect.

The family gathers around the table for a meal. Each with their head buried in their phones. Eating in silence, unaware of each other’s existence. They need to disconnect.

Society has a problem

We consume too much information. We share too much information. And we entertain our brains to death. Society has a problem of too much, and so we need to disconnect.

I do not mean to throw away your phone, or deactivated your Facebook account. I do not mean to give up the internet and live in a cave in the mountains. All that I simply mean we need time every day to disconnect.

Your brain, heart and soul need some space

Your brain is overcrowded from reading information all day across various social media platforms. It needs time to digest, analyze and process what it has read. It needs time to disconnect.

Your heart is overflowing with emotions from all the distressing and enraging news you read all day long. It needs time to process, heal and settle. It needs time to disconnect.

Your soul is agitated by the lack of remembrance of God, the lack of reflection on your deeds, and the overconsumption of entertainment. It needs time to disconnect.

Make the time

Take time every day for thinking and reflection. Disconnect your phone, your social media and your email. Be alone with your thoughts and learn to face them.

Yes, some of those thoughts may scare you. Some of those thoughts may make you worry about yourself. But you need to disconnect, be alone, face them and work through them. Your soul needs this, so make it a priority.

All about balance

Social media has its place in our lives. We can use it to stay in touch with family across the globe, reconnect with old friends, and spread great ideas.

But as with anything else, we need balance. We need time with those physically around us, time alone with our thoughts, and we need time to remember God.

Sometimes we need to disconnect from social media in order to connect with those around us. So take the time to disconnect.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, 0 comments

Never Lose Hope in Allah’s Mercy

The Verse Of Hope

Note: This article is an extract from our latest publication: The Book Of Hope For Sinners.

O My slaves who have transgressed against their own souls!  Do not despair of the Mercy of Allah: Indeed, Allah forgives all sins. Truly He is Most-Forgiving, Most Merciful. (The Noble Qur’an, 39:53)

This is one of the most important verses of the Qur’an related to sin: the Verse of Hope. In this verse, Allah reminds all His sinful slaves that no matter what sins they have fallen into, Allah can still forgive them.

The Qur’an was sent as a book of hope for humanity. Allah created each of us as weak sinners. He knows every human will make mistakes. Some will make bigger mistakes than others.

Some may even fall into major sins. But Allah does not want any of us to ever lose hope in His Mercy, no matter what sins we have committed.

Paradise awaits

My friend, understand that Allah created both Paradise and Hell for sinners. The only difference is that Paradise is for those sinners whom Allah has forgiven.

He may forgive them because of their repentance, a good deed they did, or the intercession of Prophet Muhammad (salallahu alahi wasalam). It is also possible that Allah may just forgive them out of His Divine and Infinite Mercy.

Hell is for those sinners whom Allah decrees punishment or purification. Just as gold is heated to separate the dirt from the pure gold, Allah may decide to send some believers into Hell to purify them from the filth of their sins before eventually entering them into Paradise.

Ultimately, all sinners who believed in Allah and worshipped Him alone (or repented from worshipping others) will enter Paradise. So, Paradise will be full of those who had been sinners in this life. This should make you hopeful that you, too, can make it to Paradise.

The Purpose Of Good Deeds

You may wonder what the point of good deeds and repentance is if even the biggest sinners eventually make it to Paradise. This is a good question.

Good deeds and repentance may prevent punishment altogether. They can lead to entrance into Paradise without any punishment in the grave or Hereafter. Avoiding punishment alone makes good deeds and repentance valuable and worth pursuing, but there are even greater reasons for doing good deeds, and I will discuss those at the end of this book.

A Short Tafseer

But now, let’s examine this beautiful verse and be inspired towards hope and repentance.

O My slaves

Allah begins by addressing us sinners with the personal pronoun ‘my’ indicating that we belong to Him and that He still loves and cares for His sinful slaves despite their wrongdoings.

Who have transgressed against their own souls

Sin harms our own souls in both worlds. In this world, sin causes inner turmoil and guilt. After death, it is the reason for severe punishment. This is why Allah describes sin as a transgression against our own souls.

Do not despair of the Mercy of Allah

The devil wants us to despair of Allah’s Mercy as this will cause us to plunge deeper into sin and eventually disbelief.

Remember that the devil’s goal isn’t to cause you to sin. His goal is to cause you to leave Islam. Encouraging sinful habits is a means towards achieving that goal. 

Allah never wants us to despair, because hope is the path that keeps bringing us back to Allah.

Indeed, Allah forgives all sins

Any sin can be forgiven with repentance, including the greatest sin – shirk, worshipping other than Allah.

When an idol worshipper converts to Islam, his conversion is accepted as his repentance and becomes a means of him being forgiven for any previous acts of shirk.

If Allah can forgive the greatest sin, He can forgive your sins too.

Truly He is Most-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

From the beauty of the Qur’an is that Allah ends verses by mentioning His names that are relevant to the topic of that verse. As this verse is about hope and forgiveness, Allah reminds us that He is Most Merciful, Most Forgiving. (I discuss these names and their implications in more detail in the book.)

Reflecting on this beautiful verse, we learn that the devil wants us to lose hope, but Allah wants us to repent and hope for His Mercy. He is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful and He forgives any sin when you sincerely repent. So, never hesitate to raise your hands in repentance and experience Allah’s Mercy.

A Transformative Book

This article is an extract from The Book Of Hope For Sinners. If you want to read more on this topic, you can purchase the full eBook by clicking here.

Book Of Hope
Click the image to purchase the eBook.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Books, Inner Peace, 1 comment

Unedited Thoughts #4: Being A Muslim is more than you think

Being a Muslim

Being A Muslim is more than you think

One think that really bothers me is the different attitudes Muslims have towards being a Muslim. For some it is just a culture. For others a scary set of rules. And for others a means to feel superior to people and for some it isn’t even something they think about.

Islam is something so beautiful, so pure, and so deep that it really hurts to see how people misunderstand and misapply it in their lives.

Sometimes I wonder: Do Muslims not know what Islam is all about? 

Regarding Aqeedah: Do Muslims not know that Islam is about loving and trusting Allah, and obeying Him out of love and respect? Or do they think Aqeedah is just a means to declare others as deviant and feel superior about themselves?

Regarding Shariah: Do Muslims not know that Allah revealed the Shariah to protect us from harm and open the doors of goodness for us? Or do they just assume it is a harsh set of rules to impose upon others without mercy?

Regarding the Quran: Do Muslims not know that the Quran is guidance from Allah for every aspect of our lives? Or do they just think it was revealed to be recited without understanding?

Regarding the Hadith: Do Muslims not know that the Hadith is a preservation of the best way of life through the words and actions of the beloved Prophet (peace be upon him)? Or do they just assume it is “just Sunnah” and not important.

Being a Muslim is so much more

Being a Muslim is so much more than just having a Muslim name. It is so much more than just practicing personal acts of worship or studying ancient texts.

Being a Muslim means to develop a close relationship with your Creator. To Love Allah, His religion, His Prophets, His Laws, and His Will.

Being a Muslim means caring for the ummah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). It means caring for their worldly needs, but even more caring for their souls and salvation. It means praying to Allah to guide and forgive the ummah of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

Being a Muslim means living this life knowing it is going to end. It means living this life knowing that an eternal life awaits us and we must prepare for it. Knowing that this life will end means learning to move through our problems and to stay focused on obeying Allah and preparing for the real life that will come later.

Being a Muslim means hating sin, even our own. It means seeking forgiveness for our sins, not seeking justification for them. It means realizing we are sinners, and then using that realization to become repenters, not repeat offenders.

Being a Muslim means recognizing that Allah alone knows what is truly morally right and wrong, and submitting to His Laws, trusting His Wisdom. A Muslim does not dispute when Allah declares something right or wrong.

So don’t just be a Muslim for cultural or ego-centric reasons. Being a Muslim means being submissive to Allah.

So be, oh servants of Allah, true servants of Allah!

Posted by Ismail Kamdar in Inner Peace, 3 comments