The Benefits of Reading

So I recently shared my love for reading but many people just see it as something to do for enjoyment. But there are so many benefits from reading regularly. I will go through some of them here and maybe it will inspire some of you to read regularly inshaAllah.

So some of the many benefits are:

1) Mental stimulation

Studies have shown that reading slows the progress of alzheimer’s and dementia and can even prevent them from developing. This is because keeping the brain active prevents it from losing power and enables the brain to stay strong and healthy.

Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body. – Joseph Addison

2) Reduces stress

No matter how stressed you are, you can lose yourself in a great story which will distract you for a short time, letting you ease your tension. Even if you spend 10-15 minutes reading in the evening or before you go to bed, will mean you are much more relaxed when you go to sleep. This will allow you to have a more restful sleep leaving you refreshed for the next day.

3) Knowledge

Every time you read, you learn something new. It could be a new word or a literary technique or a new piece of information or even how people react to a situation. The more knowledge you have, the better equipped you will be to tackle the different situations you will face in your life. Gaining knowledge is very important to be able to progress in life and reading is one of the most effective ways to do it. Even the First word revealed in the Quran was ‘read’ this alone should indicate how important and beneficial reading is for us.

The book to read is not the one that thinks for you but the one that makes you think. – Harper Lee

4) Increased vocabulary

So carrying on from the last point, reading vastly improved your vocabulary. The more you read, the more words you’re exposed to which will give you a wider vocabulary to use for yourself. It will help you to become more articulate in your speech, which will be especially useful in a professional setting. Being able to speak more clearly and better explain yourself will help to increase your confidence and self esteem too.

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. – Mark Twain

5) Memory improvement

When you read, you have to remember a number of things to understand the story. From the characters backgrounds to subplots, so your brain creates new synapses for each new memory and will strengthen old ones.

A library is a hospital for the mind – Anonymous

6) Focus and concentration

We live in such a busy society that we often try to divide our attention between several things which increases stress levels and lowers our productivity. Reading is an activity that requires your full concentration so focusing on that one thing even for 10-15 minutes can improve your focus for the rest of the day.

7) Better writing skills

The more exposure you have to well written work, the better your own writing will be. One of the things authors say when trying to write is to read as much as you can. When you read you will pick up lots of literary techniques which will improve your own writing.

Libraries were full of ideas perhaps the most dangerous and powerful of all weapons. – Sarah J. Maas

8) Tranquility

Depending on what you read, it can help you find inner peace. So for us reading the Quran helps us to be more tranquil and calm. Reading self help books can help to improve certain areas in your life which help to also bring a sense of peace.

9) Improves empathy

Books can provide life changing perspective, reading the lives of characters can strengthen your ability to understand other people’s feelings and what others may be going through. For example many of us don’t really understand what someone who suffers from abuse goes through unless we experience it ourselves. But reading through the eyes of a character who may be suffering from abuse can help us to understand what real life victims may go through.

A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies. The man who never reads lives only one. – George R.R. Martin

So these are just SOME of the many benefits of reading! I hope these inspire some of you to pick up a book! If any of you think of any more please do comment below!

If you don’t like to read you just haven’t found the right book – J.K Rowling

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I Hear Whispers…

I hear whispers telling me that it’s okay to pray later that what I’m doing is far too important to leave halfway through. I hear whispers saying not to worry that I have loads of time to pray before the next salah time begins. He tells me to sit down and relax for a while longer. Then before I realise salah time is ending and I’m rushing to pray. 

I hear whispers even while I’m praying reminding me of all the things I need to do. He reminds me of things I had long forgotten. He tries to distract me, constantly making me lose focus on my salah. 

I hear whispers telling me that I shouldn’t give so much in charity because then how will I pay for the things I need? He tells me to give only a little or to give next time because I have bills to pay and things to buy. He reminds me of poverty and causes me to forget that Allah is the one who provides.

 I hear whispers reminding me of my insecurities and self doubts. He makes me feel as though I can’t achieve anything, that my success is limited. He makes me doubt my own abilities and tries to stop me from reaching higher.

I hear whispers telling me my mistakes are so big that there’s no hope for me. He tells me that I have no hope for forgiveness that I may as well not even bother trying. He tries to make me despair in the mercy of Allah.

I hear whispers telling me that my husband didn’t do it by accident. He did it on purpose because he doesn’t care about me. He tells me I should hurt him too. He tells me it will make me feel better if I argue with him. He tells me to scream at him. He tells me to say hurtful things to him. He makes me feel this is the only way to make my husband see that I’m hurt.

I hear whispers telling me that this person spread lies about me so I should do the same. I hear whispers telling me how unfair it is that others have what I want and that its okay to be jealous. I hear whispers telling me to treat others badly because they were mean to me. That this is the only way, that revenge is the best thing. I hear whispers that remind me of the hurt and betrayal by others. He tells me not to forgive them, that they don’t deserve it. He tells me that I should remain angry with them and break ties with them. That’s the only way to get them back. 

These whispers are so dangerous I don’t know how to stop it from affecting me. But I have to fight it. I can’t let it control me. I can’t let it ruin my chances of Jannah. This is the true jihad. Because these whispers come from none other than Shaytan and my own nafs (desires). They whisper so sweetly that they convince me that this is the right thing to do. But I have to keep fighting. I have to keep my defences strong. I have to pray and make dua and keep my dhikr consistent. Without these I am defenceless. I won’t be able to fight their whispers. Because even though it’s a whisper, it’s one of the greatest battles I will have to fight.