How do we progressively move from Islam 101, to 201, and maybe even 301? Start with submission:
كَلَّا لَا تُطِعْهُ وَاسْجُدْ وَاقْتَرِبْ
No indeed! Do not obey him, but prostrate and draw nearer to Allah.
After you make the intention to submit, start to draw closer through what is made obligatory on you, not just through what is optional. Then, know that what will give you assistance in this is good character:
وَإِنَّكَ لَعَلَىٰ خُلُقٍ عَظِيمٍ
And you Muhammad are of an enormous character.
From here, you must learn to deal with tension, learn to deal with those who disagree or conflict with you and begin to acquire the attributes of belief:
قَدْ أَفْلَحَ الْمُؤْمِنُونَ
الَّذِينَ هُمْ فِي صَلَاتِهِمْ خَاشِعُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ عَنِ اللَّغْوِ مُعْرِضُونَ
وَالَّذِينَ هُمْ لِلزَّكَاةِ فَاعِلُونَ
For a complete reading, see Surah al-Mu’minun (23), roughly the first 15 ayat.
“If you want to change the people outside during the day, change your relationship with Allah at night.” – thanks to @HamidTS for the Twitter love.
Here are few tips of taking one’s practice to the next level:
- Operationalize your Islam. Personalize your Islam. Deepen your relationship with Allah.
- You want to change the world that you see in the daytime? Then change your relationship with God in the Night Time.
- Distinguishes that not everything is an intellectual effort. Standing for tahajjud is not an intellectual endeavor.
يَا أَيُّهَا الْمُزَّمِّلُ
قُمِ اللَّيْلَ إِلَّا قَلِيلًا
نِّصْفَهُ أَوِ انقُصْ مِنْهُ قَلِيلًا
أَوْ زِدْ عَلَيْهِ وَرَتِّلِ الْقُرْآنَ تَرْتِيلًا
O you wrapped up in your mantle!, Stand vigil through the night, except a little, a half, or reduce a little from that or add to it, and recite the Qurʾān in a measured tone.
And lastly, some encouragement from a hadith related by A’isha, may God be pleased with her, that she heard the Prophet say:
إِنَّ الْمُؤْمِنَ لَيُدْرِكُ بِحُسْنِ خُلُقِهِ دَرَجَةَ الصَّائِمِ الْقَائِمِ
By his good character a believer may attain the degree of one who prays during the night and fasts during the day.