Forty Ways towards a Successful and Happy Life
1- Start the day with the Fajr or Morning Prayer after performing the nafilah or supplementary Fajr prayer, which acts as a spiritual preparation and prevent laziness and lethargy. It also compensates for any deficiency in the obligatory prayer.
2- Perform Tasbih al-Zahra' directly after prayer, as well as after each of five prayers. Then recite special supplications like those mentioned in the book Mafateeh Al-Jinan. At least once in his life, the believer should recite the supplication of al-Ahd every day for a period of forty days. It is important, however, to stay awake until sunrise, a deed that might increase one's wealth, and to read at least 100 ayats of the Qur'an during this time.
3- Say the Estia'atha, asking God for protection against the Devil and his evils, at the beginning of the day.
4- Promise yourself, as you are going to work or school, not to commit any disobedience during this day. Then observe yourself carefully throughout day time, and finally evaluate your performance before you go to bed!
5- Remind yourself that you are going to work for the sake of God, aiming to obtain financial independence. A woman should choose a workplace where she can avoid mixing with men. Devils and corrupt men are waiting for any chance to hunt women, especially during work time when no barriers are maintained between the sexes.
6- Try always to be under the purity of Wudhu', or ritual ablution, because outward purification leads to inward purification. Renew wudhu' each time it is broken.
7- Give daily sadaqa, or charity, even if it is something small. If you don't find a poor man near you, you can set the money aside till you find one.
8- Say farewell to your family members, asking them to pray for your success, to forgive you for any mistakes, especially your wife, and advise them to do their daily prayers early at the beginning of the recommended times.
9- Don't waste time on your way to work. Take a useful cassette with you, or a walkman, to keep you away from neglectfulness, especially when you are bored of reading and prefer to listen. Holy Qur’an is recommended if you are comfortable with that. In any case, never listen to forbidden things like singing.
10- Choose a specific Dhikr, a word or words of praise, to fill your time. 'Surat at-Tawhid', 'La Ilaha illa allah', and 'Allahumma salli ala Muhammed wa ali Muhammed' are good examples to repeat again and again. After some time, you will find it ridiculous to say things that don't bring any benefit either in this world or the Hereafter!
11- Keep a useful book at your workplace to read in your free time. In general, the believer should always have a valuable library with a variety of books at all levels, including women and children's books, to encourage himself and others to read.
12- Try not to pleasantly chat with neglectful people, especially of the opposite sex. Unnecessary talking and joking are means to fall into more dangerous problems. It is prudent to consider before opening our mouths whether or not we are saying something which satisfies Almighty God.
13- Carry a schedule of prayer times with you, to perform Salat Ad-Dhuhr, the Noon Prayer, which has a distinctive position amidst the swarm of daily business, at the beginning of its time, no matter how busy you are. You should take general permission from your boss in advance to perform your prayers on time. Make the quality of prayer your chief concern rather than its length!
14- Perform Istighfar, seeking forgiveness, 70 times after Asr or Afternoon Prayer, so that Almighty God might forgive 700 of your faults! Read Surat Al-Qadr 10 times, so that you gain the reward of everyone's good deeds that day! Seeking forgiveness, in fact, is the main and constant concern of the believer, especially after an act of disobedience. Istighfar after Afternoon and Night Prayers are two important points, 12 hours apart, that cause the believer to live in continuous purity.
15- Try to contact some of your brothers in your free time, not just for fun, but to achieve the goal of communication with believers and pleasing their hearts.
16- A major problem of sitting with neglectful people is backbiting and insulting others. Try to avoid starting any conversation regarding other persons. Listening to backbiting, as well, is another form of participating in it! Remember the analogy in the Holy Qur'an which considers this act like eating your dead brother's flesh. What a disgusting act!
17- Enter your home with a smile on your face, leaving work's tension outside, to avoid disappointing your wife who is waiting for you in love from early morning, preparing food and comfort to share with you.
18- Consider lunch a divine table at which you are a guest. Don't forget the manners of the same, like being in a state of purification (ablution), eating Halal food, saying Basmala before starting, thanking God after finishing, and other narrated manners in this regard.
19- Check the important news and useful programs during relaxation time, like after lunch. It is necessary to share in the concerns of Muslims, as the one who spends his day not caring about Muslims’ affairs is not a real Muslim! The supplication of al-Faraj is no doubt one way to hasten this nation's rescue and relief.
20- Taking rest after lunch is recommended to relieve the stomach and help digestion. Meanwhile, keep your mind busy with silent prayers or with what you have to do after waking up. Controlling thoughts and imagination is a great door opened towards success!
21- Try to do your shopping and outside duties in the times when there is less of a crowd and mixing between sexes, like in the afternoon. Avoid the markets that are well known for heavy crowds and the mixing of sexes, especially when you have no necessary duties there. Markets are the most hated places to Almighty God, and the most hatred people to Him are those who go there the earliest and leave the latest!
22- Make a special program for the Maghreb or Sunset Prayer. Do not go to a place where you will miss this prayer at the beginning of its time. That would be an uncompensated loss, no matter how much material profit you otherwise gain!
23- The time before sunset is a blessed time. Take advantage of the last quarter an hour to send Salawat or blessings upon the prophet and his Family, may God's peace and blessings be upon them. In addition, you should say the Istia'adha ten times, and other Tasbeeh recommended for this time.
24- If you don't succeed in performing the daily Nawafil of 34 raka'as, you should at least perform Salat Al-Ghufaila - between Maghrib and Isha'a prayers- a special prayer said to lead to Paradise, and the Watira prayer after Isha'a prayer. Do your best to attend congregational prayers in the mosque, if there is one close to your house.
25- If you find yourself in a good spiritual condition after prayer, try to stay in this condition as long as you can, whether in the mosque or at home. Such Divine gifts might not be easily repeated, being the most precious in the existence. If after some time you get used to living in such conditions, you will be living in a state of spiritual tourism that can never be compared to tourism of the material world.
26- Take your dinner early, and make it light so that it won't prevent you from waking up for the Night prayer.
27- You should have an organized program for useful reading. Read books according to a schedule, to finish a course of study in doctrines, exegesis of the Qur'an, history or Hadith, in addition to your academic or professional books. Random reading will not improve your culture!
28- Spend enough time with your family and children. Guide them to useful narration and warn them about issues of concern, like the bad effects of the Internet and satellite channels. You can gather your family to read some of the Islamic laws according to the scholar who, you believe, is the most knowledgeable one at this time.
29- Schedule one day or more in the week to accompany your family to a garden, a park or the like to entertain them. Try to be happy and gentle, and avoid all kind of disturbances. Never take them to suspicious places where they would be subject to forbidden looking and mixing. Avoid also visiting suspicious restaurants, which might sell you non-Halal food as Halal!
30- So much of our lives are lost in front of TV, watching everything whether it is good or bad! Just as the believer is careful about what he eats, in the same way he should be careful about what he sees! We will be questioned about the useless things we watch, and needless to say the forbidden things! You must be sure that TV is not a source of corruption to your family while you are away from the house, by using protection codes. Keep away from Internet if there is a possibility of falling into forbidden acts, especially when you are alone, in the middle of the night, or when your desires are stirred.
31- Try to make family visits useful, and avoid going to mixed meetings or neglectful people's houses. If you have to, like for some social reason, do it carefully and quickly, so that your good intention won't end with a forbidden deed! Be cautious to isolate women and men during these visits, as per the instructions of Ahlul-Bayt, may God's peace and blessings be upon them. So many prohibited relationships with women, even married women, have started through such mixed visits, with unlimited chatting and joking.
32- Try to go to bed early, unless you are unable to sleep, for otherwise you might be charmed by delusions and bad thoughts. It is possible that some types of thinking may drag you into forbidden acts, whether in bed or after waking up.
33- There are some narrated recommendations before going to bed, like saying Tasbih Az-Zahra'a, saying Surat At-Tawhid three times, the last verse of Surat Al-Kahf to make you wake up for the Night Prayer - along with preparing an alarm to help you in that -, sleeping in a state of wudhu' or ritual purification, asking Almighty God for forgiveness, sleeping on your right side facing the direction of Qibla, and so on.
34- The hours of sleep should be controlled, because people normally sleep more than they really need, especially on weekends and holidays!
35- Night Prayer, a conversation with Almighty God, is one of the most important worshipping stops, especially in the darkness and with emotional communication. Wake your wife and family members for this stop as well. If you cannot perform it completely, don't miss the three raka'as of Shaf'e and Witr directly before Fajr Prayer. If you even missed this, then compensate for it sometime during the day to show Almighty God your persistence in getting closer to Him.
36- Maintaining ties with relatives does not necessarily mean visiting them. If there is any negative religious influence amongst them, it would be best to ask about them through a phone call!
37- Staying in a good health is something that is recommended by the religion. Try to have a suitable athletic program, without going to suspicious places and participating in prohibited acts. It is recommended, rather, to have such program at home, while listening to something reminds you about Almighty God.
38- You should have an exceptional program for the eve and day of each Friday, repeating salawat upon Muhammad(S.A.W.) and his Family, may peace and blessings be upon them, whispered prayers, visiting the sick, visiting the graves of the believers, and other useful programs. The Supplication of Kumail is also a main feature on the eve of Friday, and the Supplication of Nudba and the ghusl or ritual shower of Friday are main features during the day on Friday.
39- Seasons of special devotions should be prepared for in advance, through referring to the related books in this regard. It is also important to perform the prayer of the first day of a Hijri month, to obtain security for the entire month. Its method is to recite Surat al-Hamd one time followed by Surat al-Tawhid thirty times in the first rak'a, then recite Surat al-Hamd once and Surat al-Qadr thirty times in the second rak'a. Follow the prayer with the recommended supplication, and give charity for the month.
40- It is very important for the worshipper to devote time in recollecting the tragedies that befell the Holy Family of the Prophet may God's peace and blessings be upon them. The worshipper should especially recollect the tragedies that occurred to Imam Hussein(A.S.) and his Family, may peace be upon them, even if it is only once per week. If it is not possible for him to participate in public majlises, then these can be obtained through recordings, and perhaps he will be able to gain an understanding of the event and listen to the observance. It is important not to neglect performing the ziyarat of Imam Hussein, may peace be upon him, on Thursday night. It is one of the opportunities for success, even if from a distance.