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Go Slow and Easy

Go slow and easy in your worship or you will not last. The Prophet peace be upon him warned us about trying to do too much at once. Those who jump into the practice of Islam full throttle by trying to study and do everything all at the same time, thereby altering their lifestyles completely, “come out of the end of the target." I personally had never understood this hadith until I met with Imam Dawud Yasin recently. He explained it like this; if you are too close to a deer while hunting, your arrow doesn’t just penetrate the animal's body, but it actually passes through the deer's body entirely and comes out of the other side. If you try to do everything, you may eventually end up not doing anything. There are many cases of individuals young and old giving up on the practice of Islam because of how unsustainable their schedules become. These people face burnout because of the stress they endure from trying to do too much at once.

The question is, how can we avoid burnout?

The answer is simple but difficult to actualize for many. Consistency.

The best feature of a person's religion is consistency. And consistency can only occur through balance. Life, work, deen (worship and seeking knowledge), and even leisure and entertainment are all necessary parts of staying “balanced” in order to unload the build up of the minor stresses caused by daily life. Abu al-Darda' used to say, "I engage in something of the batil so as to return to my ibada (worship) fresh."

We see many examples of all of these aspects in the life of the Prophet . He is the greatest worshiper of all yet we are commanded by him to be consistent in our actions, even if those actions are small or seem insignificant to us. Although we will never be able to reach his level of practice, we learn how to be consistent and maintain balance in our lives relative to our conditions.

Another important aspect of building consistency in worship that must not be overlooked is sociability. This religion is a social one. Oftentimes, those that face the issue of burnout in religion start by isolating themselves from others as they focus on trying to do everything at once. Yes, there is a time and place for being alone and staying away from people. However, as a general rule, the religion is social. And if we are going to have long-lasting relationships with the Creator and the creation, then we must learn social skills such as respect and restraint. Nobody is born with these things; we have to go out and learn to develop these skills. In the spirit of consistency, I love this African saying: "If you need to go fast, go alone. If you need to go far, go together."

Unfortunately in our day and age, a lot of people struggle being social. How can I improve my social skills and develop long-lasting relationships? The answer to this question can be found in more detail in my article titled "Practical Advice on Overcoming Awkwardness".

In conclusion dear reader, you have to go slow and easy in your worship so that you can build up your spirituality, otherwise you may end up giving up your worship altogether.


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