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Question: Is there an Islamic remedy for procrastination and laziness?
(07/09/2001)
Answer:

The perfect remedy for procrastination is to nurture sound faith in the manner of the salaf al-salih (pious predecessors). Prior to Islam, they were a people without any sense of human achievement or performance, but once they were exposed to the empowering message of the Qur’an, they became energized and utterly transformed; they shook off their complacency and lethargy, and became peak performers and achievers. Whatever they touched was changed anew through their dynamic faith. The Qur’an spoke thus about their faith, “Is he --who was once dead and then We revived him (through the message of Islam) and thus We appointed for him a light whereby he walks among people-- comparable to one who is steeped in darkness, never able to come out of it?” (al-Qur’an: 6: 122)

The remedy for fighting procrastination, therefore, is to nurture such dynamic faith. For a description of the full implications of this faith see the work of Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah entitled Kitab al-Iman (Book of Faith).

Coming to precise tips based on such a vision that one can readily apply in order to empower oneself and shake off the habit of procrastination, let us state the following:

1) Procrastination is a learned habit; habits are formed by repeated acts. So the best way to fight procrastination is to take immediate steps to do the thing one is postponing. So every time one is tempted to procrastinate, one must do whatever it takes to do just the opposite. It may be hard in the beginning, but by repeating it over and over, one learns to break the habit. This process must continue until one has learned the new habit and thus it becomes a second nature.

2) As you rise in the morning put yourself in a positive mind set by counting the blessings of Allah thus emulating the beautiful example of our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him), and praying to Allah to grant you a successful day full of blessings.

3) Try to start your work after Fajr for the Prophet (peace be upon him)prayed to Allah, “O Allah, bless my Ummah in their morning endeavors.”

4) Turn to Allah in supplication and ask His help in fighting sloth, laziness and helplessness through the following prayers (du’as):
Allahumma innee a’dhu bika mina al-‘ajzi wa al-kasal wa al-jubun wa al-bukhl wa ghalabati al-dayni wa qahri al-rrijaal
(O Allah, I seek refuge in You from helplessness, sloth, cowardice, niggardliness, and burden of debts and domineering men.)

Laa ilaaha illa Allaahu al-azeem al-haleem, la ilaaha illa Allaahu rabbu al-‘arshi al-‘azeem, laa ilaaha illa Allaahu rabbu al-ssamaawaati wa al-ardhi wa rabbu al-‘arshi al-kareem
(There is no god but Allah, the Tremendous and Clement; there is no god but Allah, Lord of the Great Throne; there is no god but Allah, Lord of the heavens and earth and the Noble Throne).


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