Discipline is a way of life

The Concept of Discipline in Islam

The Discipline Policy is based on the principles of Islam derived from the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. As Muslims, we are expected to behave with self-discipline and noble conduct in every situation. Discipline differentiates humans from beasts. It is a sign of Allah’s care when a person tries to change himself and develop. A discipline behaviour had been shown by every Muslim’s role model in life. Allah says:

وَاسْتَعِينُوا بِالصَّبْرِ وَالصَّلَاةِ وَإِنَّهَا لَكَبِيرَةٌ إِلَّا عَلَى الْخَاشِعِينَ

“And seek help through patience and the prayer; and indeed, it (is) surely difficult except on the humble ones,” (Surah Al-Baqarah 2:45)

Every human desires success in life, but success depends on strictly following the path of discipline. To be disciplined means to follow the teachings of a guide, whether that guide is a person, an ethic, a community, a historical tradition or a set of ideas and to organize one’s behaviour and attitude according to those teachings, as per the Encyclopaedia of Religion. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللَّهَ حَقَّ تُقَاتِهِ وَلَا تَمُوتُنَّ إِلَّا وَأَنتُم مُّسْلِمُونَ

“O you who believe[d]! Consciously revere Allah (as is His) right (that) He (should) be revered and (do) not die except [while you] (as) those-who-submit/Muslims.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:102)

Discipline means we set certain rules and limits for ourselves to be followed and not to be stepped on. The spirit and reality of the disciplines of Islam dictate that every individual must take the rules, regulations, and conventions of laws. Not only discipline is a secret of the success of great men, but our universe also stands on the same foundation. Allah says:

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا اصْبِرُوا وَصَابِرُوا وَرَابِطُوا وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ

“O you who believe[d]! Be steadfast and [be] patient and [be] constant and consciously revere Allah so that you may (be) successful.” (Surah Al-Imran 3:200)

Discipline is one of the most important requirements if a nation is to progress. It leads man to the path of success, be it in any field or institution. Without adhering to a strict sense of discipline, achieving success becomes very difficult. Acknowledging your shortcomings is one of the first steps in disciplining yourself.

Being disciplined is a way to gain many advantages and benefits in life:

  1. Discipline helps one stay stress-free raise your self-esteem
  2. Discipline  control your behaviour, thoughts, and emotions
  3. Discipline helps one towards his work, activities or goals
  4. Discipline staying healthy and also avoiding problems
  5. Discipline helps you complete your exam preparation
  6. Discipline in life has many virtues like being focused
  7. Discipline techniques seem essential in life skills
  8. Discipline plays a key role in the way to success
  9. Discipline helps you to keep your family happy
  10. Discipline helps command respect from others
  11. Discipline makes you more emotionally stable
  12. Discipline is a practice for a better life
  13. Discipline can add a lot to your life
  14. Discipline makes you feel good
  15. Discipline is a way of life
  16. Discipline allows you to achieve goals
  17. Discipline helps you avoid temptations
  18. Discipline also get out of possible depression
  19. Discipline is a way of a positive outlook on life
  20. Discipline wins your respect from your colleagues
  21. Discipline is just a personal orientation towards life
  22. Discipline is the factor by which people judge others
  23. Discipline leads to peace of mind and keeps one happier
  24. Discipline helps get things done faster and at the right time
  25. Discipline makes our lives easy and enables us to realize our goals

The value of discipline is the way to do what needs to be done:

  • The discipline of Allah: The discipline of Allah is not merely a set of rewards we desire and punishments we fear, but also a set of God-given practices that purify our souls and enable us to live together in the kind of harmony that promotes spiritual growth for all.
  • Aspects of Allah’s Discipline: Salah is one of the most important forms of the discipline of Allah. Performing Salah five times a day, every day, at the key points of the cycle of the sun, is a very powerful form of discipline.
  • To have the best luck in life: Every man wishes to have the best fortune in life. Islam has shown to Muslims the fastest and shortest way to reach it, by leaving all the worldly matters when Allah SWT calls them for prayer.
  • To create a good habit: Discipline should be a habit for every Muslim in their daily life. That is the way they can gain a successful life both in Dunya and in the afterlife.
  • Seeking knowledge: Knowledge is its reward, Knowledge is another inescapable aspect of the discipline of Allah. The limited aspects of creation that help us satisfy our desires, we should seek knowledge of Allah and knowledge of His creation for its own sake.
  • A human world: A human in this world is like a student in a school. He has to learn lessons of regularity, punctuality, mindfulness. Overall, society becomes caring and law-abiding.
  • Guidance for the Muslims: The figure in talks is surely the one and only Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (SAW). For all of the qualities he has, it makes him the best human ever lived on Earth.
  • Not wasting the time: By being disciplined, we make sure that every time that passed is worth spending, and we left no regret in there.
  • Discipline keeps us on the right track: No one on this Earth is living a terrible life if they practice moral and behavioural discipline. The discipline focuses on long-term goals and makes better choices.
  • To build a better quality of life: Islam teaches us to apply and use the values of the discipline in our daily life. It is important to build a better quality of life, then create a better society to live within.
  • Balancing worldly matter and religious matters: One of the benefits of discipline in Islam is to balance the matters between the material and religion. Be disciplined in work to make a living, but leave it all when it’s time to do a prayer.

How a Muslim can discipline himself are as follows:

  • Reading useful religious books that describe the ways of treating and cleansing the heart
  • Reading the Quran a great deal, pondering its meanings and seeking to understand it
  • Worshipping Allah, keeping in contact with Him and submitting to Him
  • Attending educational programs such as classes and lectures
  • Trying to act on what you learn and put it into practice
  • Checking closely on yourself
  • Having confidence in yourself – whilst relying on Allah
  • Despising yourself for not doing enough for the sake of Allah
  • Not indulging too much in permissible things and not paying too much attention to them
  • We ask Allah to help us and you to discipline ourselves and submit to that which Allah loves and is pleased with

Islamic teachings and self-discipline:

  • Muslims are instructed to pray five times a day, at specific times
  • Perform the pilgrimage, which requires time, physical effort
  • Both men and women are instructed to lower their gaze
  • Pay a part of their wealth every year to the poor
  • Fast for thirty days with very specific rules
  • Be polite and respectful in all interactions
  • Be clean and organized in all affairs
  • Be in constant remembrance of God
  • Remain in a state of ritual purity as much as possible
  • Think before speaking and avoid insults and disrespect
  • Muslims are instructed to avoid anger, which is considered the root of evil

Discipline, of course, does not just consist of rewards and punishments. It also means doing things regularly, on time, and in an orderly manner. It means submitting the self to a kind of harmony whose ordering principle is outside the self, beyond the vain desires of the body and ego. Allah says:

وَأَمَّا مَنْ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهِ وَنَهَى النَّفْسَ عَنِ الْهَوَىٰ 

“But as for he who feared the position of his Lord and prevented the soul from [unlawful] inclination…” (Surah An-Nazi’at 79:40)

As a Muslim, you are expected to be in control of your behaviours, your attitude, of your thoughts at all times. This constant struggle over self-control is a process of self-purification from a spiritual dimension, and of self-discipline. Muslims are expected to control their behaviours, attitude, and thoughts all the time. Allah says:

وَحُشِرَ لِسُلَيْمَانَ جُنُودُهُ مِنَ الْجِنِّ وَالْإِنسِ وَالطَّيْرِ فَهُمْ يُوزَعُونَ

“And were gathered for Sulaiman his hosts of jinn and the men and the birds, and they (were) set in rows.” (Surah An-Naml 27:17)

Allah alone has the power to do this because His power transcends all human power and knowledge. He has created this universe and harnessed its forces for the service of man. If Allah has created all these forces for the benefit of man, whose mental and physical powers are greatly limited, then He is better qualified to plan for him the perfect order for a righteous and happy life on this earth. Allah says:

وَأْمُرْ أَهْلَكَ بِالصَّلَاةِ وَاصْطَبِرْ عَلَيْهَا لَا نَسْأَلُكَ رِزْقًا نَّحْنُ نَرْزُقُكَ وَالْعَاقِبَةُ لِلتَّقْوَىٰ

“And enjoin (on) your family the prayer and be steadfast therein. Not We ask you (for) provision; We provide (for) you, and the outcome (is) for the righteous[ness].” (Surah Ta-Ha 20:132 )

We need knowledge grounded in the basic principles revealed in the Quran, not a random assortment of “facts” without purpose or meaning. In this sense, Islam provides a discipline (in the academic sense of “set of ordering principles” or “methodology”) that could be seen as the meta-discipline that embraces and informs all of the lesser disciplines of knowledge and practice. May Allah SWT help & guide us all (Aameen).