The Prophet ﷺ said in a profound Hadith:
إِنَّ مِنْ حُسْنِ إِسْلاَمِ الْمَرْءِ تَرْكَهُ مَا لاَ يَعْنِيهِ
“Surely, of the excellence of a person’s Islam is that he leaves what does not concern him.” [Tirmidhi]
The Arabic words used in the Hadith imply leaving the vain and pointless activities that don’t benefit a person’s Deen or Dunya.
Think about it – how much time do you spend on things that aren’t useful at all to your spirituality or your worldly matters?
Time is the most precious commodity we have, and the one we most take for granted. But a Muslim should always be concerned with self-improvement so they lead meaningful lives.
Below I’ve compiled a list of some irrelevant yet time-consuming, unnecessary and unimportant things that you can begin a conscious effort to stop concerning yourself with today.
Not only will this enhance your mental peace, it will also truly beautify your faith in the context of the aforementioned Hadith.
1. Other people’s highlight reels
Avoid seeing other people’s highlight reels.
While it’s important to take measures to protect yourself and your loved ones from the evil eye, it’s equally important to protect others from your jealousy and envy too.
Limit exposing yourself to the kind of information about others that you know will arise ill feelings in you. Protect your gaze and heart against anything that can corrupt them.
We’re all immensely blessed, just in different ways. When you’re having a bad day, feeling down and lonely, you’re more vulnerable to being sad and envious when you see someone else’s blessings. So protect themselves as well as you.
We’re all human, after all. It’s much easier to prevent your voluntary exposure in the first place, than to have daily reminders of the happiness and blessing you crave so much and to consequently try to control the jealousy which arises when you see someone else has it.
2. Your own past paralyzing you
We’ve all stumbled, made mistakes, and failed. It’s a natural part of being human.
If you never made a mistake, how would you experience Allah’s quality of forgiveness?
So rather than let your past dictate the way you limit and self-sabotage yourself in the present, learn how you can heal and move on. Let go of the beliefs that are holding you back and know that only YOU can shape your life the way you want it, with Allah’s Help and Permission.
Simply strive to be better every single day – that’s all you need to do.
If you’re having trouble moving on and healing from your past, click here to find out how I can help you!
3. Someone else’s private life and sins
What other people say and do behind your back, behind closed doors, is none of your business.
Don’t eavesdrop and don’t try to ferret out information. When there’s a question of intention or motive, try to give people the benefit of the doubt and assume something positive.
Not only does this work wonders for your own peace of mind, it also preserves the trust in your relationships. People are much more relaxed around you when they know you’re not out to get them all the time, that you’re not judging them.
The Prophet ﷺ said: “Do not backbite about the Muslims, and do not seek out their faults. For whoever seeks out their faults, Allah will seek out his faults, and if Allah seeks out a person’s faults, He will expose him even in his own house.” [Sahih Abi Dawud]
4. Other people’s opinions about you
In a similar vein, what other people think about you is none of your business.
Your heart will feel so much lighter once you truly internalize this simple fact. You will be freed from the need for approval or praise.
You will no longer live in fear of their criticism because you know that their opinions have nothing to do with you and everything to do with their own perceptions, judgments, and insecurities.
The truth is that people who are unhappy with themselves judge others constantly.
You’ll find that the most accepting people in life are those who’ve made peace with their own imperfections, and hence have plenty of grace and compassion to extend to others.
What you feel, you project.
5. Mindless habits
We waste so much time on mindless habits, like endlessly scrolling through our phones or flipping through channels on the TV.
If you monitor yourself for just one day, you’ll be amazed at how much time is lost by engaging in these mindless and fruitless activities, where your mind is distracted.
You might fool yourself into thinking that scrolling isn’t having an effect on you, but the truth is that everything the eyes are exposed to is fed directly to the mind and alters your beliefs in subtle ways.
Ultimately, filtering out unnecessary information and avoiding useless activities allows you to focus your mind and efforts on things that are actually important.
So the first step to curbing these time-wasting and mindless habits is to become aware of how toxic they are.
Then, slowly but consistently, try to replace these pockets of time with activities that will actually serve and nourish you. For example, keep a book near your bed or the couch and reach for it when you want to grab your phone instead.
6. Celeb news and gossip
If you think about it, there are few things more useless than concerning yourself with what actors, singers, and models are doing with their lives.
These days, keeping up with influencers also falls in this category. If someone inspires you on a spiritual level, if you genuinely benefit from someone’s content, then following them is great.
But if you feel worse after scrolling through their posts, if you start feeling ungrateful and jealous, then there’s no need to keep putting yourself through the trial of exposing yourself to their curated media persona time and again.
For one, the more you consume information about people living a life solely to feed their Nafs (egos), leading lives far from Allah (swt), leading lives with complete disregard for the Akhirah, the more heedless you will become in your own pursuits.
For another, if no other harm exists, just the fact that reading about the latest actor who got married or viewing pictures from the top runway event is a waste of time, and again – time is the most valuable blessing we have.
7. What you can’t control
These are the only things you can control in life:
- Your thoughts
- Your feelings
- Your behavior
That’s all, and it’s more than enough.
Yet most of us waste a tremendous amount of time complaining and worrying about the things which are beyond our control.
Here’s a little reflection exercise for you – Think about a particular area of your life that isn’t working out so well for you at the moment.
- It could be your relationship with your husband, your children, or your in-laws.
- It could be your connection with Allah (swt).
- It could be your body image or your unhappiness with your current work environment.
- It could be your grades and your tendency to procrastinate.
Now think about how YOU are enabling those things. How are you becoming the CAUSE of your troubles? How are you behaving in a way that is allowing these things to happen to you?
In essence, how are you creating the results that you are getting in life?
- Are you suppressing your emotions, then having anger outbursts instead of rationally communicating with your husband?
- Are you letting your kids’ behavior trigger you into shouting and spanking?
- Are you allowing your in-laws to cross your boundaries again and again without asserting yourself respectfully and firmly?
- Are you putting off prioritizing your relationship with Allah (swt), waiting for when the kids will grow up and you’ll have more “time”?
- How are you failing to discipline yourself by adhering to a workout routine and diet plan?
- Are you wasting your time surfing the internet when you’ve got work to complete, knowing you’ll hate yourself when the deadline gets close?
Are you beginning to understand the unavoidable truth of how YOU may be at the cause of your problems?
Now here’s the important part – this truth doesn’t have to terrify you.
In fact, accepting and assuming responsibility for your life will LIBERATE you from being at the mercy of other people’s attitudes and words.
It will liberate you from being enslaved by their approval and destroyed by their criticism.
Assuming responsibility for yourself will allow you to live a life true to your passions, goals, and values.
Do you want to explore how you can bring balance, meaning, and purpose back into your life? I’m a certified life coach and Islamic counselor dedicated to helping Muslim women live a content life. Find out more about my services here.
I hope you found this article beneficial! Which point resonated with you the most? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts with me!
Khadija Khan is a wife, mommy, certified life coach, and Islamic counselor. She is passionate about helping Muslim women reach their goals in all areas of life. She writes about things like Islamic spirituality, relationships, parenting, and personal development. Continue Reading…