These are a collection of tips from the retreat attendees of tazkiyah tun Nafs with Shaykh Mokhtaar Maghraoui, collected and added to by the author:
Tip #1: Keep a tazkiyah journal.
Record your thoughts, state of the heart, what happened and how you reacted, ibaddah quantity and quality. It helps track progress (or lack thereof) and aids with muraqabah.
Tip #2: Review Notes
This will help us remember those moments spend at retreat and remind us to be steadfast on our Path to Allah subhan wata ‘ala.
Tip #3: Daily Taubah.
Tip #4: Don’t try to change too fast! Choose one or two items to focus on at a time. Once you have mastered those then you can move on to the next one.
Tip #5: Do further readings on Tazkiyatun Nafs.
A really good book that I just read is by Khurram Murad ” In the Early
Hours: Reflections on Spiritual and Self-Development”.
Tip #6: Buy a few CD sets from Shaykh Mokhtar Use it as your diet of’ilm… It really helps to reflect and take notes. A good one to get started on which I find absolutely amazing is “Orientation”.
Tip #7: Ask Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala to make your renewal process easy and smooth.
Tip #8: Make time for quiet. I sat outside after fajr this past week one morning and really found the khalwah refreshing; nice to not HAVE to say anything, and more importantly I think just actively feeding the heart quiet instead of noise is very peaceful.
Tip #9 (from reviewing some old notes from sh mokhtar classes)
“Don’t rejoice at obedience because it has come from you; rejoice in it because it has come from Allah to you. A point of humility, deeper awareness and realism. When we do something righteous, whether in our relationship to the creatures or to Allah, we should remember the goodness we were blessed to commit is a gift from Allah; should learn to be aware that only Allah is the source of goodness; we often fail to see that, as well us what means from Allah led us to good, and to being successful at it. If we fail to do this we may go to Allah expecting to see ‘fruits’ of “our” deeds, and it may cause darkness in our lives. We SHOULD be happy if we do something good because it’s a sign that Allah made me do it, strengthened me to do it, led me to it, graced me with it– He is the one who makes good easy for those that find it easy.
And when one sins, it SHOULD lead one to feel very remorseful, because Allah did not shield me from committing it. He left me to me. It’s a punishment – see it as justice.
And when Allah truly envelopes His servants seeking Him, He makes them unaware entirely of their good deeds- they do good but feel they haven’t done anything. They see only Allah concealing and pardoning them.”
Tip #10: pray for each other and especially for sh mokhtar.
Tip #11: Speak less.
Tip #12: make a notecard of things to remind yourself with before entering into salah.
Sometimes when you’re coming from another task to salah it can be nice to have all the things you should do be all in one place, take a second to read it, and then start.
Example (I just made mine)
Have an attentive heart
Recite surah an-nas before
Have adab with Allah – no yawning or burping
Keep your limbs still and head down
Feel internally “alhamdulillah” before you even say it – that Allah
calls you to His presence 5x a day
Miss the retreat environment?? — treat salah as your 5x a day
Allah sees you ALL day. Salah is when you specifically come with your heart to Allah not just your body. Actively push out any thoughts that come in and remember that Allah is greater – will have to KEEP doing this through salah. And when you return your heart to Allah 5x a day and actively block out other things from it, it should help block out other attachments from accumulating in the heart. Should feel different before and after salaah! If not, missed the point.
Tip 13: Share your notes with a friend
Type and organize your notes and then discuss them with a friend who could not be there. Teaching is the best way to learn and retain.
Tip #14: Practice regular physical mujahaddah through exercise
Remember the learnings of our out door days? Keep it alive with regular exercise. Recite Dhikr as you struggle. Use it as a way to discipline your nafs who may not feel like working out.Use it to carefor the trust of your healthy body. Use it with the niyyah of being energetic and strong for ibadah. But most of all do it to teach yourself self restraint and willing yourself to do what is against your nafs.
Tip Number 15: Thank Him (Subhanawataala)
Thank Him swt for your health. Your hair. (read this article in the NY Times about Alopecia:
Your sight. Your hearing. Your memory. Your forgotten memories.
Your touch. Your ability to thank.
Tip Number 16: Don’t ask Him (Subhanawataala) to take the pain away.
Ask Him swt to allow you to serve Him. To take you towards His grace and shower
you with mercy.