Summertime is fun time. It’s not a problem if you engage in fun activities during the summer. The problem occurs when those fun activities distract you from your Lord, from praying and remembrance, and you end up having a hardened heart.
How do you make the best of the holidays whilst preserving your spirituality? Here are some things to keep in mind as you plan ahead.
For many of us, summertime equals to sin time. After all, you worked hard all year. You’ve earned the right to have some fun, haven’t you?
The problem is, Satan deludes us into thinking that all haram things are fun to do.
Think about this: fun is of two types, haram fun and halal fun. These two differ not only in terms of their spiritual consequences (in terms of earning sins vs earning rewards) but also in terms of worldly consequences.
Well, haram fun might feel good while you’re engaging in it, but it always leaves a bitter aftertaste. Not only does it decrease your level of spirituality, but it also leaves you less happy, restless, irritable and less satisfied with life. Think of the aftereffects of drinking, doing drugs, discoing all night, gambling or engaging in illegal relationships.
In terms of spirituality, sins leave black spots on the heart, as the Prophet Muhammad told us. Every time you sin, a new black spot appears on the heart, until the heart is completely covered with the black stuff. But if you repent, the black spot is removed. (Ibn Majah 4244)
But the thing is, how can you be sure that you’ll get time to repent? If we continue to sin in the belief that sometime in future, when we’re done having fun, we’ll repent and mend our ways, we might be heading for disaster. How can we be sure that Allah will allow us the chance to repent? What if Allah takes our souls at the very moment of sinning?
Avoid sins at all costs. Don’t let Satan deceive you into thinking that haram fun is the only enjoyable kind of fun. There are plenty of ways of having fun in a way that’s not displeasing to your Lord.
Do you want a good life? Here’s the recipe for a good life in the Quran:
To whoever, male or female, does good deeds and has faith, We shall give a good life and reward them according to the best of their actions. (16:97)
Most of us really need to wind up during the summer to replenish the energy we lost during a year’s hard work. In fact, if you engage in halal fun activities with the intention of refreshing yourself to be better able to serve Allah, that may be a rewardable action, because actions are based on intentions.
The default in matters of the world is that everything is halal unless there is evidence to the contrary. Allah in His mercy made this world full of beautiful things, and He made only a handful of things haram. Satan tries to incite our desires to seek those few sinful things and ignore the rest, just like he incited our father Adam into eating from that one forbidden tree in a Garden full of billions of other trees.
Besides these, any activity that doesn’t entail disobedience to Allah should be halal.
Nevertheless, when doing fun activities, try to team up with practicing friends who take Islam seriously in their lives. Just being around those who are spiritually high, even if you don’t engage in any direct worship or seeking knowledge, is in itself a spiritual booster.
The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:
The example of a good companion (who sits with you) in comparison with a bad one, is like that of the musk seller and the blacksmith’s bellows (or furnace); from the first you would either buy musk or enjoy its good smell while the bellows would either burn your clothes or your house, or you get a bad nasty smell thereof. (Al-Bukhari 2101)
People’s preferences for fun activities vary a lot. What is refreshing to one person may seem boring to another. Even studying Arabic can be a fun activity for someone if he really loves doing it. Think about what activities you find refreshing, and choose the best among them in terms of benefit in the Hereafter.
Making New Habits
Have you been struggling to form new habits? A long summer break provides you with the perfect opportunity of establishing lifelong good habits.
The process of forming new habits is tedious and takes a lot of will power. As your stress levels tend to be down in the holidays, applying will power and pushing yourself is easier. Once you have the new habit under your belt, you don’t need to remind yourself to do it or put that extra effort. So you can carry on doing it regularly even during dreary weekdays.
Here are a few good habits to consider forming this summer:
- Reciting a fixed amount of Quran every day
- Fasting Mondays and Thursdays
- Saying the morning and evening dhikr
- Drinking eight glasses of water daily
- Exercising regularly
(From Discovering Islam’s archive.)