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 more so 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 teacher who teaches, a caller to Allah who motivates, or an ordinary worshipper who simply wants to get closer to your Lord.
Ibn Al-Qayyim wrote: “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 act 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, du’a, 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 mu’addhin (one making the call).
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