Day Seven: Checking My Niyaa (Intentions)

What are you doing?

Why?

For whom?

The answer to those three questions could change your whole life. The entire course of human history has been altered numerous time because somebody with vision and charisma was bold enough to ask those three questions. What am I doing? Why? For whom?

I imagine that such questions drove many spiritual seekers into solitude. They continue to give pause to angry souls locked in prisons, some physical and others of their own design.  

As we move closer and closer to Ramadan I am reminded of the (mostly) boys I knew who would put on their best “Muslim face” for Ramadan and then go back to their humdrum existence as soon as Eid prayers were finished. They weren’t BAD people or completely irreligious in everyday life. It was just that the pressure to “perform” during Ramadan, to show up for all of the prayers at the masjid and participate in all of the fundraisers and events, won out over any sincere sense of working for the betterment of your own soul. As I became a parent I began to feel this pressure keenly.

The pressure to be the perfect mom is severe. Why can’t I homeschool, grow an organic garden, sew all of my overgarments, lose weight, recite Quran all day, and have a clean house waiting for my husband when he gets home? And you know what? For a month or two I might just try it. It would be easy to get caught up in doing all the “right” things instead of checking my intentions and finding what’s right for me.

Nothing is harder to maintain than your intentions. You have to constantly ask yourself if you are doing things because you want to please Allah and attain the barakah of doing good deeds, or are you showing off? Do you want others to see that you are a “good Muslim”? Do you want some great Ramadan shots for your Instagram feed? Or maybe you are just assuaging your guilt for not practicingyour religion the other eleven months of the year? 

Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with being seen as a good person or even promoting your charitable works via social media. But, what is the end game? Likes and followers or spreading dawah and inspiring others to lend a hand? Do you want the blessings of Allah swta or a husband? If actions are judged and rewarded according to your intentions then what reward will you get? We know Allah swta doesn’t share credit. You can’t obey two masters (your ego & your Lord), and obeying him is ultimately for the benefit of our own souls. So then how will He reward you? Did you already get the credit you sought in this life?

I used to balk at the idea of setting my intention to fast every single day. In my mind, I thought “it’s Ramadan, of course, I will fast”. Now that I am a little older I get it. The things that we intend for God in the morning can become boosts for our own egos by noon. The only way forward is to renew your intention every day, several times a day, being conscious that every good deed is done to improve your deen.

I’m not one of those social media haters who wants to tell you everything that’s wrong with your online profile. I have learned a great deal via social media. I met some great people and was able to participate in a lot of great events due to social media. But, as we begin the march to Ramadan, it’s time to get into the habit of checking my intention. 

What am I doing?

Why?

For whom?

It’s enough to keep a girl awake at night!

As always, the reminder is for me first. If you find any benefit in what I have written then don’t forget to like, comment, share and subscribe!

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