After a person has accepted Islam as their religion they will come to realise that Islam is more than just a religion - it is way of life. Worship is not reserved for special days or special ceremonies; it is a part of our living and our dying, our working and our play, our rest and our study. In short Islam is something that we live with all our actions, thoughts and deeds. Developing good habits to assist us in our everyday lives as a worshipper of the One God is easy. Below you will find a few guidelines to get you started. They are habits that should InshaAllah become as familiar as breathing.
1. Dedicate some part of everyday to reading a translation of the Quran.
2. Pay strict attention to learning how to pray. Try to improve your prayers until you are satisfied that you are praying in the correct manner. Sometimes this takes longer than you might expect, so do not be discouraged.
3. Try to learn some words of remembrance. These can be said at any time of the day or night. If you feel you do not know enough of the prayer ritual but want to spend longer connected to Allah then they can even be repeated at the end of your prayer. Learn to say: SubhanAllah, Alhamdulillah and Allahu Akbar.
"Therefore remember Me (by praying, glorifying), I will remember you, and be grateful to Me (for My countless Favours on you) and never be ungrateful to Me.” (Quran 2:152)
4. Give some form of charity every day. Remember that in Islam giving charity can be as simple as smiling and brightening a person’s day.
The Prophet Muhammad said, "Every Muslim has to give in charity.” The people then asked: "(But what) if someone has nothing to give, what should he do?” The Prophet replied: "He should work with his hands and benefit himself and also give in charity (from what he earns).” The people further asked: "If he cannot find even that?” He replied: "He should help the needy who appeal for help.” Then the people asked: "If he cannot do (even) that?” The Prophet said finally: "Then he should perform good deeds and keep away from evil deeds, and that will be regarded as charity.”
"Every act of kindness is charity.”
5. Avoid wasting your free time. You will discover that there 1001 things to do that are beneficial. Time wasted on video games and idly surfing the internet can be better spent. Once you understand that every single thing can be a way of worshipping Allah then playing video games for hours on end does not seem to be a very wise way to spend time. Having said this however we now come to the next point.
6. Avoid going to extremes. It may be tempting to fast everyday or read all of the Quran in one sitting but Prophet Muhammad warned us against going to extremes. Therefore in a 24 hour day there is time to play and time to learn.
"Religion is very easy and whoever overburdens himself in his religion will not be able to continue in that way. So you should not be extremists…”
7. Islam is a holistic religion; it requires us to pay attention to our spiritual, physical and mental health. Therefore acquire habits that keep you healthy and add to your Islamic character. Getting enough sleep at night allows you to rise early to pray. Eating the right foods in the right quantities keeps you energetic rather than lazy; this allows you to worship without hardship.
8. Try to make friends in the Muslim community. Staying in the company of people who worship Allah in the correct manner is a source of fun and benefit. The best friends are those who talk about Islam more than the latest fashions. Good friends remind each other of their Islamic obligations, such as praying on time or the importance of helping others.
9. Try to read about the life and times of Prophet Muhammad. There are many good books in all languages that teach about the noble life of Allah’s final messenger. As Muslims we should love the Prophet but how do we love someone we do not know.
"Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much.” (Quran 33:21)
10. Acquire virtuous manners and morals. Learn about and try to emulate the morals and manners of the Prophet Muhammad, those who lived around him and all of our righteous predecessors, including all the Prophets of Allah. Allah expects us to behave in the best manner, if we fail sometimes then we should seek forgiveness and try to do better.
Our religion is easy. It is one small step at a time. Slowly but surely acquire the habits that will make life in this world better and a better life in the hereafter secure.