Question: What should one do if they desire to excel in their Deen but find distractions holding them back?
Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
May Allah bless you for your sincerity in seeking guidance.
The feeling or desire to gain nearness to Allah, Most High is one of the greatest blessings anyone can attain. These impulses toward good and to fulfill life’s purpose are from Allah, Most High. Once they come, Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad mentions, in his book, The Etiquettes of the Seeker, that one (1st) should protect that impulse, (2nd) strengthen that impulse, and (3rd) respond to that impulse.
Protecting the Urge to Gain Nearness to Allah
One should seek to protect the urge to come closer to Allah, Most High by trying to keep in a constant state of remembrance of Allah. This should be with both tongue and heart. Included in this is a recitation of the Qur’an, seeking Sacred Islamic Knowledge, learning more about the Beloved Messenger of Allah (may Allah be pleased with him), etc…
Strengthening the Urge to Gain Nearness to Allah
One should make an effort to strengthen this drive by keeping the company of righteous believers. Good companionship is a great way to keep one’s focus and determination to become better servants of Allah. Allah, Most High says, “O’ you who believe, be mindful of Allah, and be with the truthful ones” [Qur’an; 9:119]. At the same time one should try to distance themselves from sinful and/or heedless people, for this will certainly endanger one’s relationship with Allah, Most High.
Responding to the Urge to Gain Nearness to Allah
Allah, Most High says, “O’ you who believe. Respond to the call of Allah and His Messenger, when He calls you to that which will give you life” [َQur’an; 8:24].
Responding to this urge can be done by taking any opportunity to do good deeds and to abandon procrastination. Our lives are short and we must take advantage of the time that we have been allotted.
The ways to Allah, Most High are many. So much that one may become bewildered trying to figure out how to gain the good pleasure of Allah. I would advise seeking Islamic Knowledge from a qualified scholar, who is a person of mindfulness of Allah (taqwa) and Prophetic Character.
The above-mentioned author, Imam Abdullah bin Alawi al-Haddad (may Allah shower him is mercy) has a book called, The Book of Assistance. This is a good book to strive to implement. One should take one chapter at a time and strive to implement its teachings before moving on to the next chapter.
May Allah bless you and assist you in attaining His good pleasure.
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani