Raudat e Hidaayat Vol 01-1
“The deed which is dearest to Allah is that which is most consistent, even if small.”
It’s not what we do once in a while that shapes our lives. It’s what we do consistently. This is precisely what RasulullahSA is emphasising here. It’s not the quantity of an action insomuch as the frequency with which it is done. Rather than reciting the entire hafti once a month, it is better to dedicate a few minutes to praying Dua e Kamil on a daily basis. Even fitness gurus and dieticians highlight that consistency is a crucial aspect of maintaining a healthy body. Working out for two hours straight only to be too exhausted to take another step for the next few weeks will do nothing, whereas even 15-20 minutes of moderate exercise on a daily basis is far more beneficial. Same goes for binge dieting. It is pointless unless you stick to a diet which can be maintained. The benefits of consistency are so apparent when it comes to diet and exercise that it doesn’t need further justification.
So why not for our minds and souls? Just as our bodies need time to adjust to a new workload, so do our minds and souls. Many aspects of Moula’s directives revolve round establishing a solid work ethic, whether it is making mohabbat ni roti or hifz al-Quran. Consistency is about forming a habit which becomes part and parcel of who you are. When Burhanuddin Moula RA first initiated the 40 day Ta’abudaat program, the idea behind it was not too overburden mumineen with endless activities, but rather that by doing little things consistently over a 40 day period, they form a habit. That action or activity becomes an intrinsic part of our daily routines. The ocean was not formed in a day, but by one drop after another.
The story of how RasulullahSA once showed his disciples how seemingly small actions can eventually lead to a successful outcome comes to mind. Whilst travelling, Rasulullah SA instructed them to gather sticks of firewood. Initially they were sceptical as large bits of firewood were almost impossible to come by. But RasulullahSA suggested that they turn their focus to gathering smaller bits. In doing so, soon a large pile of firewood had been amassed. Rasulullah then said that this was how hasanaat (good deeds) and saye’aat (sins) come to be accumulated. Instead of doing lakhs of tasbih once in a blue moon, doing Tasbih e Fatema once after every namaaz is far more beneficial.
The most important aspect of this hadeeth is that the reason why consistency is so richly rewarded and so preferred by Allah, is that it represents dedication and commitment. At any given time, we possess a certain and measurable degree of capability. That capability does not change overnight. It takes time to expand our limits and redefine the boundaries of what we can do. Big change can only come about through small change. When we are committed to an action, we are actually voicing our loyalty to the cause which underpins that action. Our consistency then becomes not just a habit, but a constant declaration of perseverance, dedication and unfaltering resolve.