I’m an avid book reader. I have around 1,000 books in my library (some in Saudi and some in the U.K.). I love all sorts of books from health to personal development.
Recently, I stumbled across this book called ‘The 5 Second Rule’ by Mel Robbins (not affiliated) and it has changed my life alhamdulillah (All Praises be to Allah)! It can change your life, worship and health too insha’Allah (if Allah Wills).
What is the 5 Second Rule
Ever wanted to change your habits, but always put it off until tomorrow? Have you intended to start eating healthy, but again you told yourself tomorrow?
The 5 second rule changes that. Our brains are on 2 modes; autopilot and emergency brake. Throughout our lives, we are on autopilot.
We wake up, shower, eat, go to work/school, check Facebook, pretend to do some work, check Facebook again, go home, eat, check Facebook again and sleep.
No wonder our minds are so comfortable. We are ALWAYS doing the same thing!
So when you decide to make a change your brain switches on the emergency brakes and the dialogue goes something like this;
You: “I need to stop eating these biscuits when I’m stressed. Maybe I should look up that cookie recipe…”
Brain: “Woah..woah… just hold on there Missy. You always eat these biscuits, why do you need to change now? I mean, 1 biscuit never harmed anyone, it’s just 1. Anyways, it’s not like you’re going to get diabetes from eating 1 measly biscuit. You have your whole life ahead of you, why stop now. Just one more biscuit and I promise we’ll stop… tomorrow…”
and the conversation goes on and on until you’ve eaten your way through a pack of custard creams.
Sound familiar? It’s not your brain’s fault. It’s been used to eating these biscuits every time it feels stressed. That’s how it’s been programmed since, well forever.
What the 5 second rule teaches us, is that our brains switch from autopilot to emergency brake in 5 seconds (in my case it’s 3 seconds). So you have a 5 second window to act upon something.
And when you use the 5 second rule, the pre-frontal cortex (where action happens) is activated and the back of your brain (where the autopilot button is and all the worries happen), is switched off.
How this coincides with Islam
We all know the infamous hadith; actions are judged by their intentions. Intention is so important when it comes to doing a good deed. When we look at the lives of the Sahabahs (May Allah be Pleased with them All) we notice them always rushing to do good. If someone was in need, the Sahabahs (RA) would race to gain the reward.
A story that illustrates this perfectly, and one that I love dearly, is between Abu Bakr (RA) and Umar (RA).
Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ ordered us to give charity and at the time I possessed some wealth. I said to myself, “If there is a day I can do better than Abu Bakr, then this is the one.” So I went with half of my wealth to the Messenger of Allah and he said, “What have you left for your family?” I said, “The same amount.” Then Abu Bakr came with everything he had. The Prophet said, “O Abu Bakr, what have you left for your family?” He said, “Allah and His messenger.” I said, “By Allah, I will never do better than Abu Bakr.” (Sunan At-Tirmidhi 3675)
SubhanAllah (Glory Be to Allah)! Just look at Abu Bakr’s (RA) confidence. His certainty that no matter what, Allah will always provide for him and his family.
Now, let’s put ourselves in this situation. How would we react? Would we rush to gain some reward or would we ponder about what we need that money for? We’d sit there thinking of all the bills that need paying, the dress you wanted to buy etc. until what happens? You just forget about ever wanting to do that good deed.
Shaytaan (Satan), always wants to place doubt in our eemaan (faith); he always wants us to live in fear; that if we rush to good deeds we may lose out. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Allah says in the Qu’ran;
And every one has a direction to which he should turn, therefore hasten to (do) good works; wherever you are, Allah will bring you all together; surely Allah has power over all things. (Surah Al Baqarah: 148)
Scholars have noted that the words hasten to in fact mean to rush without delay, or without second thought.
Now, normally we are advised to always look at those who are poorer than us, so that we become more grateful and in turn less greedy. But this is not the case for good deeds. Allah encourages us to race (sprint, like you can see the finish line). Why? So that your abode can be Jannah Al Firdaws (Highest level in Paradise)!
How it can improve your health and ibadaah (worship)
In light of the above ayah and the 5 second rule; you have 2 invaluable tools that can give you the health/body you want which in turn will improve your ibadaah.
Let’s say, you’ve just come back from school/work extremely stressed. You have so much work to do, and only a few hours before it’s bedtime to complete it.
Your mind is all over the place and it just wants to relax. You see those packets of biscuits on the table over there, but next to it you also see that delicious red apple that you promised yourself, to eat.
As you remind yourself that you were going to eat that apple count backwards 5-4-3-2-1 and then walk towards that apple. Grab it. Look at it and eat it.
What happens is, when you count backwards, you make the pre-frontal cortex (remember the action part of the brain), to kick in to gear and focus. Your brain, concentrates heavily on that red apple while your counting. This in turns makes you want to act, so your brain sends signals to your nerves to walk towards that apple and eat it.
Our bodies are amazing right subhan’Allah (Glory be to Allah). Just by doing this simple thing, it can help you really stay on top of your health insha’Allah (Allah Willing).
How the 5 Second Rule helped me
Alhamdulilah (All Praises be to Allah), Allah has blessed me with the opportunity of living in a country where I hear the athaan (call to prayer) five times a day. I’m constantly reminded of my purpose in life; which is to worship Allah Swt (The Most Glorified).
Pondering over the ayahs (verses) regarding good deeds and applying the 5 second rule in my life has proven to be so invaluable. Whenever I think of doing something (halal and good of course), I rush to do it.
I count backwards; 3-2-1 GO ROSY! I shout it if I have to, because for me that’s the only way to break the habit of procrastinating and wondering what if.
Remember this; Allah always wants good for you. All you have to do is place your FULL trust in Him Swt.
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