For development and maintenance of the reverence of Allah (taqwa) Shaykh Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) advises as follows:
Abandon sinful activities
Be firm on containing your lowly (nafsani) desires. Make a firm determination. Exercise restraint and do not yield to these sinful desires . These desires and shaytaan are our two arch enemies.
Change the thought pattern
The mind is constantly occupied with thoughts. There is no gap or vacuum in this process. These thoughts are either of worldly matters, useless issues or sinful activities. It is essential to intervene and develop a spiritually healthy thought pattern. We have to actively think about the hereafter and the heavens. We have to be actively grateful to Allah Ta’ala for the innumerable bounties and blessings bestowed upon us, as well as ask refuge for anticipated calamities and repent from sinful activities, etc.
Adopt pious company
This is the most effective way to achieve the change of the thought pattern. It leads to absorption, assimilation and implementation of the Divine teachings in our life. Without the company of the the pious, Deen remains limited to a superficial level.
Remembrance of Allah
Set up a daily routine of making Zikr, remembering Allah Ta’ala. There are three categories of Zikr. First is that which is done with the tongue without presence of mind. Second is when the tongue is silent and there is mindfulness. Finally, when both tongue and mind are making the remembrance together. Do not under estimate the first category. It is a stepping stone for the rest of the categories. Moreover, with consistency, it eventually engulfs the mind also.
Make a daily time table for this. The daily activities done in an organised method creates barakah in time. More things are done in the same period of time. Include in it these four things: 1. Recitation of Quraan Shareef, atleast two pages daily; 2. Durood Shareef; 3. Third kalima; 4. Istighfaar. Fix a specific time for them. In other times recite whatever form of Zikr comes to mind.
Zikr is a form of energy and power. It assists in development of determination to fight the lower (nafsani) desires.
Set a specific time for this. Like prior to sleeping, after esha. For few minutes sit and supplicate.
Say, ‘O Allah I want to follow the path You are pleased with. I want to control my thoughts, aspirations and desires as per Your desires. You have repeatedly instructed us in the Holy Quraan to do so. How can I do it? I am weak. My determination and efforts are feeble. Provide from Your benevolence and mercy the determination, power and motivation so I can control my desires and make them totally subservient to Your commands.’
Make this supplication daily without any gap. It is indeed impossible that Allah will reject this supplication.
[Adapted from the writings of Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani]