Five ways to anchor your daily life

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At the dawn of the new year 2022, let’s tether ourselves to a strong anchor, let’s hold firmly to the ‘Urwatul wusqa’, a strong handhold.

An anchor is a heavy iron device that is used to secure a boat or a ship to the bed of sea to prevent it from drifting away. This heavy device is a symbol of hope. Figuratively it indicates the reliability of Allah’s promise of success, paradise and eternal life for the faithful. We also use anchor metaphorically to identify someone we feel comfortable with, someone we want to share our experience with, someone to confide in. Closeness is what characterises an anchor relationship. It’s relying on them. When you say that someone is your anchor you mean that you feel confident about them and have hope in their abilities to support you. Since you have experienced their truthfulness and honesty first-hand. The Majestic Quran calls it ‘a strong handhold’, “Whoever submits himself to Allah is righteous and has grasped a strong handhold. The outcome of all things is with Allah” (Luqman: 22).

In another verse, Allah says “The believers are those whose hearts tremble with fear at the mention of Allah, whose faith grows stronger whenever His verses are recited to them and who put trust in their Lord. Those that perform the prayer and spend from what We have provided them: they are true believers; for them are reserved lofty ranks with their Lord, and forgiveness and a generous provision” (Anfal: 2-4).

Can you identify the five ways of anchoring your life stated in these verses?

  1. Remembering Allah with each breath:
    Your breath gives life, as you inhale richly oxygenated air in you, you revive the body and every time you exhale you remove carbon dioxide, you purify the blood. We breathe in and out about a dozen times per minute. With each breath, you take in say ‘Allah’ and with each breath out say ‘hoo’ (He). By doing Zikrullah (remembrance of Allah) you become aware of your breath. You are now connecting not only to life-giving oxygen but the creator of oxygen. This alerts you to the existence of the body and the mind now, as you hear, see and smell the breath.
  2. Studying the moral and spiritual values of the Quran:
    The Majestic Quran teaches moral and spiritual values, it insists you embrace them and live by them. You have always valued them! Since they’re effective and life-changing. These moral values connect you to your inner-self and your soul. By remembering them you will live by them, you will honour these values, you embody them. This is anchoring to the essence of life. It’s these values that will mould your attitude, way of thinking and mindset. Now you will behave to enact them. Your life will be transformed as you witness truth, as you experience kindness, as you smell the fragrance of forgiving someone, as you experience the sweetness of waiting patiently. You are now experiencing life in its fullness.
  3. Putting your trust in Allah:
    For Muslims, Allah is their biggest anchor. It’s Tawakul, reliance and trust in the Mighty Lord. It connects you with the source of life, Al-Samad, the Eternal, independent and cause of all causes. The Quran praises those who are aware and reliant on Allah, who trust Him. Since we only experience life in the present moment and never in the past nor the future, it is very useful to have anchors that can bring us into the present moment when our minds have been excessively wandering or getting lost in the past or future.
  4. Praying the daily prayers:
    The Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “the key to paradise is the five daily prayers…” (Tirmidhi). So, make this your favourite happiness formula and the key to prayer is cleanliness, so stay in wudu too. Salah (prayer) can bring you back to who you are when you’re feeling lost. Make this hadith visible to yourself, put it in a prominent place, pin it to your fridge, write it on a mirror, make it your desktop background on your PC or phone or put it anywhere you can see and remember its meaning during the day.
  5. Spending generously in Allah’s way:
    The Messenger (peace be upon him) said “Give charity without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity” (Tirmidhi). Give for the love of Allah and good of humanity, because “you will never achieve goodness until you spend in charity what you dearly love, and whatever you spend, Allah knows it” (Ale-Imran: 92). In another verse, Allah reminds us “Those who spend their wealth seeking Allah’s pleasure, are like the orchard on a hilltop; when heavy rain comes, it produces a double yield, but when there is no rainfall the dew is enough. Allah sees all that you do” (Baqarah: 265).

Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is quite arguably one of the most well-known humans on the planet. For those of you who aren’t familiar with his content and to clarify why I’m bringing him up is because he talks a lot about having ‘anchors’ within your day in order to achieve greatness. We don’t need to take it from him because our beloved master (peace be upon him) taught this 1400 years ago. However, in the Rock’s example, he has the gym/working out as one of his anchors, which helps him stay grounded and focused especially in the transition between film roles.

An anchor isn’t something extra to add to your life to beat yourself up about later for skipping a day or not achieving your goal as fast as you intended. This is merely a way for you to stay disciplined and gain closeness to Allah.