Are you spending precious time in the morning browsing social media, being unfocused and unproductive, or worst of all…sleeping?!
Most of us are guilty of these things every now and then, but in this email, I want to talk about how to design your mornings for maximum productivity and barakah, as a student of knowledge. We will also look at how the salaf (the pious predecessors) spent their mornings.
The Prophet ﷺ made a special dua for his ummah, he said:
اللهم بارك لأمتي في بكورها
O’ Allah, give barakah for my ummah, in the early hours of the morning.
And whenever he ﷺ would send an expedition or an army, he would do so in the early morning. Sakhr was a businessman who would send forth his merchandise early in the morning, and he became successful and wealthy.
(Narrated by Abu Dawud and al-Tirmidhi)
Ibn al Qayyim states that the salaf would not sleep during the time after fajr even if they are tired or have been travelling. In case they had to, they would sleep only after the sunrise. (Al-Madaarij 1, 459)
He also says in Miftah Dar Al-Sa’ada, that the early part of the day, is like one’s youth, and the latter part is like old age. If you are accustomed to something in your youth you will be accustomed to it in your old age. Therefore how you spend your morning determines the state you are in during the rest of the day. If you are lazy in the morning, you will be lazy during the rest of the day, but if you take control of your morning, the rest of the day will be beneficial, and you will find it easy to do khayr, and you will be given barakah. And he says, ‘It is said: Your day is like a camel. If you hold it by its front, the rest (of its body) will follow.’ (Similarly, if you take control of the morning, the rest of the day will follow)
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Mornings
So how do we get the most out of our mornings? Here’s my advice for you based on the sunnah, and the lives of the salaf.
- Start the day with dhirk or remembrance. This is what the Prophet ﷺ and the salaf used to do. Something that kills our productivity in the morning is what a lot of us are guilty of: we check our phones the first thing in the morning. We go through our emails, social media and messages. This is something that is incredibly harmful. You can find videos on youtube by neurologists, and scientists talking about the effects of this on your brain. When you check your phone in the morning this interrupts the natural waking up process of your body. When you go through your social media and alerts, your brain secretes a pleasure chemical known as dopamine — this why you find it hard to take your eyes of your phone sometimes. This is also why you feel like checking your phone all the time. The bottom line is, checking your phone in the morning will make you lazily waste your time the first thing in the morning. And this sets the trend for the rest of the day. What you need to do — and this has been a total game-changer for me — is to not use your phone for at least one hour after you wake up. Try this, and this will insha’Allah change your life.
- Memorise and revise the Quran in the morning. Pro-tip: if you have a busy schedule and find it hard to memorise the Quran, early morning is your answer. Memorising the Quran for 20 minutes early in the morning is equal to doing it for an hour in the evening. By utilizing this time effectively for memorisation, you can save much more time during the rest of the day to do other things. Furthermore, experienced teachers say that students who memorise after fajr, will have a very strong memorisation of the Quran.
- Planning and Mental Alignment: Umar r.a said:
حاسبوا أنفسكم قبل أن تحاسبوا، وزنوها قبل أن توزنوا، فإنه أهون عليكم في الحساب غداً أن تحاسِبوا أنفسكم اليوم
Hold yourself accountable before you are held accountable, and measure yourself before you are measured. For verily it is easier for you to take account of yourself today before being held accountable tomorrow.
Try to track important daily habits like your fajr salah, your Quran memorisation, your Arabic study sessions etc. as this will help you become more consistent.
Also, I like to have a five-year plan, with very few, but important goals written down. I use a great app called notion, to keep track of my progress for these goals, and have a birds-eye view over it.
I hope these tips have been beneficial for you, and that it will help you design a productive morning routine filled with barakah.