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Cutting Bad Habits to Become a Better Young Muslim

Questioner

J

Reply Date

Jan 16, 2018

Question

Salam Aleikom. Since I turned 20, lots of things have changed. I got new friends and some bad habits. I like hanging out with boys until late night or even worse until early morning. We don’t take drugs, or drink alcohol, or going to nightclubs. We just hang out, but that is a bad thing also, I know. Lately, I've been decreasing these meetings, but I wish I could be more religious. I just don’t know how. I'm addicted to music; I am too lazy to read books or the Quran. I often chat online which is bad. I don’t like that but I can’t help myself. I need some inspiration. Please help. thank you.

Counselor

Answer


Cutting Bad Habits to Become a Better Young Muslim

In this counseling answer:

“Perhaps organizing your days will help. While I am not sure if you are in school or working, or have free days, organizing the things you want to accomplish will help you stay on track and get things done.”


As-Salamu ‘Alaykum sister,

You have great insight and perspective into your issues. That is an advantage when trying to get back on the right path. May Allah reward you for being so honest and for reaching out for help.

First of all, you have recognized that your friends have influenced you in negative ways. I’m glad that you see this. In seeing this, I can assume that you have completely cut off your friends who are a negative influence. If not, dear sister, I suggest that you do.

I also suggest that you replace those friends with the kind of friends you seek to be more like. For instance, if you want to be more pious, do things with pious sisters. If you want to stop hanging out all hours of the night, do things with sisters who have a curfew or who are disciplined in their activities.

I am proud of you that you have been decreasing these behaviors. While the change is not happening as fast as you would like, it is happening, and you should also be proud of yourself for being able to discipline yourself to this degree. Everything is in steps. It did not suddenly happen that you began to hang out all night, become lazy, not read Qur’an and spend your time on idle things. It probably increased over a period of time until you found yourself in a place in life you did not want to be. Therefore, the steps you are taking towards returning to your true self might take a little time, but aren’t you worth it?

I also disagree when you say “I can’t help myself”. I believe you can. I believe you are a very intelligent young lady who can do whatever you make your mind up to do!

Perhaps organizing your days will help. While I am not sure if you are in school or working, or have free days, organizing the things you want to accomplish will help you stay on track and get things done. For instance, on a time and activity management chart, you can write in the times for: reading Qur’an, reading books, prayer times, meal times, mosque times, social outings, family time, study time and so forth. Please see this link. If you follow your chart, it will help you develop good habits and take you away from bad ones.

According to the Huff Post, it takes 21 days to develop a habit. So, my dear sister, if you can stick to the chart for 21 days of praying, reading Qur’an, going to the mosque, studying and so forth, it will become a habit in less than a month and will be very easy in sha’ Allah to continue on this path.

When you have completed week one, reward yourself with something good; maybe buy a new scarf, or purchase that book you’ve been wanting, or visit that museum you have always wanted to go to. Do the same for weeks 2-4. For each successful week, reward yourself. This will aid in your being successful in developing new habits. Make a list of your rewards. That way, you will know ahead of time that you have something concrete to look forward to!

Lastly and most importantly dear sister, continually turn to Allah in prayer, du’aa’ and repent if you have not already. Our connection to Allah is our lifeline. It is said that “if we take a few steps towards Allah, He takes 100 towards us”. How profound is a love that?

Paradoxically, the most important place to begin when we feel distant from Allah is with Allah. This seeming paradox is part of the profound nature of the relationship Allah has with His slaves. We should turn to Allah, sincerely and humbly, and ask for His help and forgiveness. Allah promises He will guide us, but we have to begin with Him. This turning or returning to Allah is achieved through the process of tawbah (repentance).

So, sister, you have a suggested plan of action, and in sha’ Allah you will complete it and reach the spiritual place you desire to be. I have full confidence in you and believe and trust that this phase you were going through is over, yet it has taught you valuable lessons. I am sure when you reflect upon this later, you will be thankful that you were able to pull yourself up and out of this world (dunya) and back into the folds of Islam because some people are not able to do it and remain there. As Ramadan is at the corner, it is the perfect time to renew your relationship with Allah, The Most High.

Salam,

***

Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, its counselors or employees be held liable for any damages that may arise from your decision in the use of our services.

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About Aisha Mohammad-Swan

Aisha Mohammad-Swan received her PhD in psychology in 2000. Aisha worked as a Counselor/Psychologist for 12 years for Geneva B. Scruggs Community Health Care Center in New York with a focus on PTSD, OCD, depression, anxiety, substance abuse, marriage/relationships issues, as well as community-cultural dynamics. She is certified in Restorative Justice/ Healing Circles, Conflict Resolution, and Mediation, and is also a certified Life Coach. She is currently studying for her certification in Islamic Chaplaincy, and takes Islamic courses at SHC. Aisha works at a Women's Daytime Drop in Center, and has her own part-time practice in which she integrates counseling and holistic health. Aisha also received an MA in Public Health/Community Development in 2009 and plans to open a community counseling/resource center for Muslims and others in the New York area in the future, in sha' Allah.

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