It’s common to associate building our Iman (faith) with acts that take a large investment of time: Reading Quran in stretches of deep contemplation; performing prayers with extended recitation; attending an hour-long class on an Islamic topic.
While these do play a role in bringing us closer to Allah, for most of us, it’s not always possible to carve out a few hours, or even one, regularly. Whether it’s small children, our jobs, illness, or school, something or someone always gets in the way.
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few” (Ibn Majah).
Small and consistent is what truly builds faith in the long-term. It’s what forms our habits, fills our time, and in turn, defines our lives and changes us for the better.
Here are some quick “Iman-builders” that can move us ahead spiritually in daily doses of five minutes or less.
1) Read and/or memorize Quran for just 5 minutes
Set the timer on your phone or watch and go! Whether you read or memorize only Arabic, or Arabic and translation, do no more than five minutes. If possible, set a specific place and time for Quran reading to help keep it consistent.
2) Do an act of kindness that takes 5 minutes or less
Whether it’s pouring water into someone’s glass, helping someone onto the bus, or picking up trash off the street, choose your deed. Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Every act of kindness is a Sadaqa (charity)” (Bukhari, Muslim). There are plenty of things we can do that fit this category.
3) Make one specific Dua for yourself
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, has said that Dua is the essence of worship (Tirmidhi). It is our direct line of communication to Allah. It can be done anytime, in any condition, anywhere. Whether the issue is big or small, Allah sees all and knows all, and He is the One Who can do anything and everything about it. Build your Iman with this vital tool of worship with a sincere, heartfelt Dua for one issue you are struggling with.
4) Make Dua for someone else
“There is no Muslim servant who supplicates for his brother behind his back but that the angel says: And for you the same” (Muslim). So whether it’s a job, a spouse, children, good health, or something else, say a quick Dua for someone else and you’ll be guaranteed the same.
5) Read three paragraphs of a biography of Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him
The Prophet is described as “an excellent example” in the Quran (33:21). Muslims strive to model his character in their daily lives. But we cannot do that until we gain a clear picture of who he was and how he lived. This is why it is critical to read biographies about him. These show the beauty and spirit of who he was beyond the do’s and don’ts of living an Islamic lifestyle. A few paragraphs five minutes daily can help us gain stronger love for him and the inspiration to follow his example.