One of the beautiful names Allah uses to describe himself is al-Muta’ali, the Exalted, the Most High. This name means that not only is Allah exalted over all of His creation, but His greatness is even beyond the imagination of His creation. Allah is absolutely limitless.
We are blessed as Muslims to have the opportunity to worship Allah knowing He is complete in His power, might, mercy, and comprehension. He is truly the source of all our resources. We often say it with our tongues, but simply acknowledging it is not enough.
Allah says, “Do the people think that they will be left to say, "We believe" and they will not be tried?” [Quran 29:2]
In order to truly recognize Allah as al-Muta’ali and worship Him in accordance with this beautiful name, we first need to learn to make Allah a priority in our daily lives.
So often we run from one task to another, checking to-dos off the list, squeezing activities into every spare second of our day, and worship ends up becoming secondary. We fit in a prayer or two if we have time. We make time for dua only when we are in need. We remember Allah only for the brief seconds that it takes us to scroll past an inspirational post on social media.
Today I’d like to share some simple ways that you can begin to prioritize Allah and your faith in your everyday life:
Schedule your prayer.
Grab a sheet of paper and a pencil (or your daily planner!). List out your ‘scheduled’ activities, for example, work 9 am to 5 pm or drop off kids to school 8:50 am. Then the unscheduled activities, for example, cook dinner or help with kids’ homework.
Now grab a new piece of paper and title it “Ideal Day” and fill out the hours. This exercise is for transitioning prayer from the unscheduled list to a scheduled list. Write in your prayer next to the time slots first. Then fill in your scheduled and unscheduled activities.
If another activity overlaps with a prayer time, then fit it in in a way that is realistic. We have a little flexibility with accomplishing prayers, but simply taking the time to do the exercise of scheduling your prayers IS a way to give priority to Allah.
When you take the time to do this, you are essentially building your day around your prayer. How much more barakah will your tasks and actions have in them when they were scheduled mindfully with prayer at the forefront?
Share with Allah.
Many of us have been raised to have a formal relationship with Allah; He is the Exalted after all!
However, Allah also says, “And We have already created man and know what his soul whispers to him, and We are closer to him than [his] jugular vein.” [Quran 50:16]
Allah is the closest to us.
In times of joy and grief, we look for someone to talk to and share our thoughts, observations, experiences, and emotions. When you get that feeling of wanting to talk to someone, take that as a trigger to first talk to Allah. Speak to Him first. Share with Him first. Then call someone up.
If you find you are better at expressing yourself in writing, The Dua Journal - Dear Allah has plenty of space for writing out all your duas and conversations with Allah.
Seek help from Allah.
How often do we worry about something, but don’t take a minute to ask Allah to show us the way. We have a tendency to think of things or people who could help us out, but not Allah, the One who is the best of helpers and the source of everything in this life.
In times of worry, remind yourself Allah is one who is capable of easing your affairs. He has all the insight. He has all the power. Use the resources available to you, ask for help.
“And your Lord says, ‘Call upon Me; I will respond to you.’” [Qur’an 40:60]
“And know that if the nation were to gather together to benefit you with anything, they would not benefit you except with what Allah had already prescribed for you. And if they were to gather together to harm you with anything, they would not harm you except with what Allah had already prescribed against you. The pens have been lifted and the pages have dried.” [Hadith 19 of 40 Hadith Nawawi]
Next time you are facing a difficult task or feel as if you’ve hit a roadblock, take a couple of minutes to make dua before continuing or starting to work. Ask Allah for His help, and try to involve Him in every step you take.
Pay sadaqah/zakat first.
In personal finance, we are taught, save first then pay the bills. In your journey of prioritizing Allah, give your sadaqah first, then save, then pay your expenses. It doesn’t have to be a large amount as long as you are consistent.
Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take on only as much as you can do of good deeds, for the best of deeds is that which is done consistently, even if it is little.” [Sunan Ibn Mājah 4240]
If you have consistent pay days, then set an automated payment system through your bank for whatever you can afford for your favorite charity organization or your local masjid.
Consume your faith first.
What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning? A big percentage of people will answer that they check notifications and social media on their phones.
Even if you reach out for your phone, provide yourself with content you can consume that is related to your faith first. Save a faith-related video on your phone to watch first thing in the morning while you are going through your morning routine. Choose a faith-related background on your phone.
Frame a print with your favorite quote or verse next to your bed so when you get up, that will be the first thing you see and read. Learn the duas that the Prophet, peace and blessings upon him, used to say upon waking up, and make those your first words of the day.
Little cues like these make a big difference, and they remind you of who you are first and foremost: a slave of Allah.
And when going to bed, ask yourself every night how you made Allah a priority.
Bonus: Set reminders on your phone to go off every few hours to take a second and be mindful of Allah.
Acting upon our knowledge can be a long and difficult process, but we can take small steps towards an Allah-conscious life. No matter the constraints and inconveniences, our actions should reflect our priorities. Allah, the Most High, should also be the most high on our priorities list. Remember, your role as a slave of Allah comes before any other role we are blessed with.