In the Name of God, the Subtle, the Loving
Beliefnet has published this gallery of mine about 21 ways we can all be better Muslims. Here is an excerpt:
Islam is more than just a private religious faith, although it is precisely that. It is, as has been said many times before, a way of life. It is a pathway which has been laid by God throughout the ages of human history. It is a road upon which scores of Prophets have tread, from our father Adam, to his sons Noah, Abraham, Moses, and Jesus, and finally the Prophet Muhammad. It is a path of active work, and thus, its shine on the heart of the believer can wane with the vicissitudes of time and the hypocrisies of the human condition. Thus, it behooves us to step back and see how we can improve ourselves as we walk on the path back to the Lord our God.
Affirm In Your Heart That God Loves You
This is one of the most important things a Muslim must know: that the Precious Beloved Lord on High loves him or her. That love is unending and is manifested each and every day in His endless mercy which He showers upon His servants. It is a light that shines upon you day or night, and it is a light that will guide your way through the darkness of earthly existence.
Rejoice in the Light of God’s Love
Once you know that God loves you, then rejoice in that beautiful fact. Be relieved that you worship a God who is Beautiful, Loving, Subtle, Merciful, and Compassionate. Rejoice in the fact that you have a God that “has got your back,” Who will never abandon you. Rejoice in the fact that you have a God who will always be there, even if you perceive He has forsaken you.
Love God Back
Once you have been enriched with the knowledge and comfort of the fact that God loves you, then it is incumbent upon you to love God back. This is more than just lip service: love is fully manifested in action. The full manifestation of God’s love is His infinite Mercy shown to us. Our love should be manifested by doing the things that God has asked of us, and avoiding the things that God has advised us to avoid.
Talk to God
One of the essences of the Islamic path is to re-kindle – or, establish – a deep-seated bond and relationship with God. One of the best ways to strengthen this bond is by talking daily to the Lord. Although He knows everything within you, still talk to Him and tell Him your fears, hopes, and dreams. He will still listen, and it will be enormously satisfying.
Establish the Daily Prayer
The Quran says, “set up Regular prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.” (4:103) The daily prayers are one of the most important ritual practices of Islam. It is one of the best ways to manifest “loving God back.” Five times daily, we stop what we are doing and focus our attention upon the Divine. It is a constant reminder of where we came from and to where we are going.
Read the rest of the gallery here.