Islam is a religion that calls for activity and action and fights against laziness and procrastination. Laziness is one of the diseases that Islam abhors and the Prophet of Islam sought Allah’s protection and refuge against. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “O Allah, I seek refuge in You from helplessness, laziness, cowardice, niggardliness, and burden of debts and domineering men.”
Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states: “We need to form the will to change this habit and take immediate steps to reach our goals. Once our intentions are sincere and we follow it up with consistent action, trusting in the Lord, success is guaranteed. Allah assures us in the Qur’an: “And those who shall strive for Our Sake, We shall surely guide them unto Our ways.” (Al-`Ankabut: 69).
While combating laziness, the first thing to do is to recognize that like all negative habits we have formed, it is a habit that we have acquired through consistent practice. We persist in it because we find comfort and gain pleasure in it. So we cannot be expected to get rid of it entirely unless and until we learn to link this habit with ugliness, pain and suffering rather than glamorizing it. So, list all the negative aspects and dire consequences associated with laziness. List everything you stand to lose if you were to persist in this habit. Do this as many times as possible until laziness becomes automatically associated with pain and suffering in your consciousness.
Secondly, every time you have a tendency to feel lazy, take whatever steps you can immediately to counter the tendency and nip it in the bud. By doing these things consistently and repeatedly you will be empowered to overcome laziness.
Here are a few more practical steps you can take to fight this all-pervasive habit:
1. Think of and list all the successes you could achieve if you were to shake yourself free of this negative habit.
2. Think of and meditate on the success stories of the great leaders who, through sheer determination, hard work, and trust in Allah, achieved what was thought to be impossible. Think of the success story of the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) who, without hardly any material support, did what no other person has done. Think of those who have been physically challenged and yet accomplished what others could not do through sheer determination and hard work.
3. List all the positive strengths you have which, even the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) or those who have been physically challenged or those who achieved great feats, did not possess.
4. Until such time that you have overcome laziness, it is important for you to associate with those who are successful or hard-working. If you are a student, try to choose a study environment to read or study. Fight the temptation of studying at home until you have succeeded in mastering laziness.
5. Last but not least, start your day by counting the blessings of Allah and thus focusing on your strengths rather than on your weaknesses; and pray to Allah to grant you a day of glory, blessings and success. You may consistently make the following du`a’s:
Allahumma inni asbahtu minka fi ni`matin wa `afiyatin wa sitr fa atimma `alayya ni`mataka wa `afiyataka wa sitraka fi ad-dunya wa al-akhirah (O Allah! I enjoy this morning Your gift of blessings, well being, and protection, all because of Your sheer favor; so consummate these gifts for me in this world and the next).
Allahumma inni a`udhu bika min al-`ajzi wa al-kasal wa al-jubni wa al-bukhl wa a`udhu bika min munkarati al-akhlaqi wa al-ahwa’ (O Allah! I seek refuge in You from feeling of helplessness, laziness, cowardice and niggardliness; I also seek refuge in You from all despicable traits and whims).
Allahumma inni as’aluka khayra hadha al-yawmi nasrahau wa fat-hahu wa barakatahu wa a`udhu bika min sharri hadha al-yawmi wa sharri ma ba`dahu (O Allah! I beg you to grant me the best that this day holds out in terms of success, victory, and blessings; and I seek refuge in You from the worst that this day holds out and the day after).”