BY HALIMAH EL KURGHALI
Inspiration is powerful! It brings a breath of fresh air into our lives; helping us think more creatively in order for us to give birth to great new ideas, it can help us generate a positive energy in order for us get things done, as well help create a shift in our mindset that can help us experience more breakthroughs and better solve our problems.
The truth about inspiration is that it isn’t something we have to simply wait around for or which we accidentally stumble upon finding one day. Neither is it something you are going to find in its full glory and power by simply scrolling through social media feeds looking at some pretty pictures.
This powerful force is actually something we can generate on a consistent basis when we consciously and consistently place things in our lives that can help us achieve it.
In this video I share 4 Quranic ideas on inspiration that are part of my life and that have positively transformed it as a result Alhamdullah, and I know they can do the same for you too inshAllah.
[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The QuranLifestyle Show by Halimah El-kurghali]
Asalamu Alaykum everyone, Hali
It’s important we ask ourselves how we can get more inspired because when we human beings feel inspired it brings about this breath of fresh air into our lives- it can help us think more creatively in order for us to give birth to great new ideas, it helps us generate this positive energy to get things done, and can help create this mindset shift that helps us experience more breakthroughs and better solve our problems. And the truth about inspiration is that it isn’t something we have to simply wait around for or which we accidentally stumble upon finding one day. And neither is it something you are going to find in its full glory and power by simply scrolling through social media feeds looking at some pretty pictures either. This powerful force is actually something we can generate on a consistent basis when we consciously and consistently place things in our lives that can help us achieve it. I wanted to share with you 4 Quranic ideas on inspiration that are part of my life and that have that have positively transformed it as a result alhamdullah and I know they can do the same for you too inshAllah.
For those new to Quran Rehab its important I share with you the reason why I am sharing Quranic tips and advice on this subject, like I do in all my videos. And that’s because here at Quran rehab it’s our belief that just like the Quran when it was revealed revolutionised the world in ways that seemed impossible, every time you and I open the Quran Allah is providing you and I with the opportunity to revolutionise our personal lives in similarly unimaginable ways. There is no better way to have more, to do more and be more, than to turn to Him who created us and knows best how we can achieve everything we want and tells us how we can do so in the Quran. So when people ask me how I stay inspired to continue making videos, create online courses, to write and coach people from all around the world, how I stay inspired to home school my children and be the best mother I can to them, to be the best wife and leader I can, these are the four things I think of from the Quran for setting up my life for more inspiration:
1. Travel/ seek new experiences
As much as it’s great to have a routine and schedule for your life- to help you get things done, it’s equally important from time to time to break them and do something adventurous. When you travel somewhere new or have new experiences you change things like your physiology for example- so the way you move, you breathe, what your exposing your senses to etc. You also change your environment so you expose yourself to different languages, cultures, ideas and people. What all these things are essentially doing are opening up your brain to make new connections so that you gain new ideas, new perspectives, new learnings and thinking. And all these things help you draw new inspiration.
You know the arabic word ‘saiyr’ – which means to travel or move, it appears in the Quran in all its variations a total of 27 times. And many of its usages are in the forms of commands or questions like “Tell them to travel’, or ‘Do they not travel?’ Etc. Of the many benefits Allah mentions in the Quran for travelling is “so that he may show you some of his wonders, divine signs”.
إِنَّ فِي ذَلِكَ لَآيَاتٍ لِّكُلِّ صَبَّارٍ شَكُورٍ…
“..so that He might show you some of His wonders.. “(Quran 31:31)
What does a wonder or divine sign do exactly? - they inspire us right? By nature, a divine sign, a wonder, they are something that’s often beyond our ability of properly understanding or our ability to create. They are something attributed to god that move us at our very core and inspires us. And so, you will find the Quran on multiple occasions calling us to discover his ayaht that are around us everywhere by searching for new information and experience-based knowledge; one of the most obvious ways being through travel. So, I would suggest we schedule a short trip or even just a new and different experience for yourself ideally every 90 days or so, or at least every 6 months and you will see the major impact this has on your levels of inspiration inshallah.
2. Seek inspirational role models
Now when I speak about inspirational role models there are two aspects to this and there is some depth to it too which I will explain inshallah. When I said there are two aspects what I mean is that we should seek inspiring role models from both the past, from our history, as well as from the present, from people around us in the world today. You know having role models is a huge part of our human psyche and our genetic makeup, it’s something we need and desire because they inspire us to become better versions of ourselves. And this is why in Allah’s hikma and immense love for us you will find that when you look into the Quran you will discover that almost half of the entire Quran just consists of stories of the past, and they are primarily made up of stories about the lives of the greatest and most inspiring of all role models the prophets (peace be upon them). Allah says about their stories in the Quran that they are “..the best of stories”
….نَحْنُ نَقُصُّ عَلَيْكَ أَحْسَنَ الْقَصَصِ
“We relate to you, [O Muhammad], the best of stories…” (Quran 12:3)
and that’s because they deal with the ‘best’ of creation!
And you know we are even more blessed because it’s not like we have to whip a fat biography of the shelf and shift through all the information about their lives to distinguish what’s relevant and irrelevant to our lives, and find what is applicable to our own personal lives and what isn’t- Allah swt already did that for us! . Of the many prophets that graced this earth Allah selected 25 for us and selected for us a variety of specific incidents from their lives that we can all relate to in some way. So, I would suggest carving out some time in your weekly schedule to revisit history to study the lives of great and inspiring role models, starting with the stories of the prophets of Allah and righteous souls mentioned in the Quran too like Maryam, asiyah, and the mother of Musa for example. And of course, we have a rich Islamic history full of inspirational role models after the time of prophet Mohammed (pbuh) too, again men and women alike such as Hasan al Basri or Fatima Asumurqandi
Now when I said there was some depth to this point what I meant was that we should not restrict ourselves to seeking out inspiring role models only in our own particular areas of interest and expertise but that it should include people who are the best in different areas of life because getting around people who are great and passionate at what they do can help us access different areas of inspiration for ourselves. Because there are actually more ways for us to be inspired by people than just their knowledge and actions; so, for example we can be inspired by their way of thinking, their character, their mannerisms, their presence etc.
It might sound basic but it’s actually transformational! We are not always traveling or spending time in the company of inspiring individuals where its often fairly easy to get inspired. Journaling is an action you can make into a daily habit, that you can do multiple times a day in fact, whenever you want to create an amazing source of inspiration for yourself. This is where you spend time with yourself- with your own thoughts, your feelings, your observations and aspirations. So you can journal things like what you really want to achieve in life, key lessons you can learn from daily experiences Allah swt gifted to you, realisations you have come to from your observations of the world around you, engaging with how you really feel about things and your personal thoughts about things- I promise when you make journaling a habit, you will start feeling way more inspired more often inshAllah. You know any time I have ever had a major breakthrough in my personal life, or had amazing ideas or felt high levels of clarity authenticity or inspiration it has always involved the practice of journaling in that process. By the will of Allah, the person I am today and lifestyle I have is inspired by specific incidents I have experienced in my life where I have sat down afterwards and journaled about it.
As Muslims we should know the power of the pen and of the actions directly associated with it; the acts of secluding oneself, the act of reflection, the internal dialogue we have with ourselves, and the act of writing itself etc -particularly when it comes to inspiration because we have been told within Islam about the circumstances that lead to the prophet (pbuh) first receiving the greatest of inspiration, the Quran. We are told that when the prophet pbuh first receiving wahi he would seclude himself in the cave of hira right?, he would consistently reflect on the things he saw around him, the way he truly felt inside and his own thoughts on things etc and subhanallah when the first ayaht of the noble Quran were revealed to the prophet what did Allah swt first say, what was the most important lessons to give us? it was “iqra”. Subhanallah there are so many profound lessons we can learn from these beautiful ayaht- but I will point out just a few basic things that relate to our discussion as food for thought that’s worth noting inshAllah:
So, let us utilise this heavenly gift of the pen and lets hold sacred the knowledge and insight we can gain through writing in order to inspire ourselves by scheduling into our daily lives at least just 5mins of journaling every morning and evening inshallah.
4. Quran study
Ok so far, I have shared with you 3 powerful ideas from the Quran to help set up your life for more inspiration inshAllah and now I want to end by sharing the last most important idea which actually relates to the Quran itself. And that is to set aside a small portion of your day to engage in the study of the Quran in whatever capacity best suits you. I’m sure this makes sense because the previous tips came from the Quran itself but there is actually another reason that makes this last suggestion the most important and powerful. Points 1-3 spoke of ways you can become more inspired via the creation. But there is a profound difference between the inspiration you gain through creation and that which comes directly from Allah swt himself- as the creator.
I want to share with you two Quran verses that show cases this difference and they are verse 52 of Surah Ali Imran and verse 111 of Surah maida. Although they essentially deal with the same subject were Isa’s disciples declare their faith in Allah- there are some subtle differences. In the first verse for example Isa was speaking to his disciples and their response was to the call of the messenger whereas in the second verse Allah swt himself intervened with the hearts of the disciples and their reaction was to what Allah swt had directly inspired inside of them, their hearts became overwhelmed them and they declared their faith as a result of that.
In Arabic there is a difference too. In the first verse it reads
فَلَمَّا أَحَسَّ عِيسَى مِنْهُمُ الْكُفْرَ قَالَ مَنْ أَنصَارِي إِلَى اللّهِ قَالَ الْحَوَارِيُّونَ نَحْنُ أَنصَارُ اللّهِ آمَنَّا بِاللّهِ وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ
“But when Jesus felt [persistence in] disbelief from them, he said, "Who are my supporters for [the cause of] Allah ?" The disciples said," We are supporters for Allah . We have believed in Allah and testify that we are Muslims [submitting to Him].” (Quran 3:52)
“bi ana muslimoon” and in the second ayah it reads: ‘bi annana muslimoon’.
وَإِذْ أَوْحَيْتُ إِلَى الْحَوَارِيِّينَ أَنْ آمِنُواْ بِي وَبِرَسُولِي قَالُوَاْ آمَنَّا وَاشْهَدْ بِأَنَّنَا مُسْلِمُونَ
“And [remember] when I inspired to the disciples, "Believe in Me and in My messenger Jesus." They said, "We have believed, so bear witness that indeed we are Muslims [in submission to Allah ]." (Quran 5:111)
Now when you translate them into English you don’t notice a difference -but there is actually an extra noon letter, and although the extra letter typically wouldn’t make any difference, rhetorically speaking the principle in Arabic is that if you use more verbiage, if your words are spelled with more letters, then your being more emphatic. So, when the disciples responded to the call of the messenger, they declared that they are Muslims, but when their hearts were directly inspired by Allah their declaration became even more emphatic. And that difference indicates that when Allah intervenes with His inspiration something happens that otherwise can’t. And the other amazing thing in these verses is that when isa called them they said ‘we believe in Allah' whereas when Allah inspired inside of them, they simply said 'we believe’. And that inclusively encapsulated their belief in every truth. So, what Allah highlights by this is that when Allah as oppose to creation inspires your heart, particularly in faith, every dimension of your being is inspired and empowered subhanAllah.
So, if we’re seeking inspiration in its most absolute and beautiful of forms then let us seek it from our creator. And the best way of achieving that is through His very words the Quran.
I hope you enjoyed and benefited from what I shared and it serves you well inshAllah!