بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
By Ruhaifa Adil
Jannah. It’s a glorious land where wishes are fulfilled and where there is no fear or grief. It’s a place where we all crave to be one day. As children, we are told of the wonders of Jannah and the amazing rewards in store for us if we prove to be worthy of entering Allah’s Paradise. Yet, for each one of us, Jannah holds a different meaning. We all have a different ‘wish list’ for Jannah. From limitless chocolates and race cars to meeting Allah, each age and gender has a different concept of what their Jannah will be like.
The way to Jannah is not easy. Amidst the tests and trials from Allah to test our perseverance, Shaytan’s promise to attack us from all sides and our weakness in fulfilling the commands of Allah, the task is an uphill struggle, though not an impossible one. Added to this is the fact that Jannah is a very abstract concept – no one has ever seen it with their own eyes. In such a case, where there is no visual image of the destination, it is easy to get off track.
The Art of Mind Mapping
Whether we are children or adults, all of us need visual images of our goals to keep us focused. Mind mapping – a concept developed by Tony Buzan – is a highly effective tool that literally helps you to ‘map out’ what is in your mind to create a visual representation of your ideas, goals or concepts. Mind maps are a great way to convert a list of information in your mind into a colourful, memorable and highly organized diagram that works in line with your brain’s natural way of doing things.
A basic mind map is very easy to make and has the following elements:
- Main idea: This is placed in the centre, preferably using an image and at least three colours.
- Main themes: The main themes radiate from the central image as branches. The branches have a key image or a key word drawn or printed on its radiating line.
- Sub-themes: The sub-themes are represented as ‘twigs’ of the relevant branches. Multiple colours should be used for visual stimulation, and also for grouping or categorization.
Research on the effectiveness of mind maps has revealed greater understanding of ideas, positive impact on memory recall, and clarity of concepts. One can produce mind maps using online software or just coloured pens and paper.
Mind Mapping Our Way to Jannah
Though we will only be able to see the real Jannah on the Day of Judgement, we can use the tool of mind mapping to make the concept of striving for Jannah clearer and more concrete for us through a detailed visual depiction of the path to Paradise. This tool is especially useful for children who understand concrete information better than abstract ideas. So get a large-sized paper and your coloured pencils and get set to map!
Step 1: Mark a space in the centre for the main idea – Jannah
Place your paper in landscape orientation and get creative. Use your mind’s eye to imagine what your Jannah might look like and draw it in the centre, using lots of colours. The more detailed an image of Jannah you create, the better.
Step 2: Radiate the main branches from the central theme
Think of all the possible branches or ideas that can radiate from this theme. Write out these words in CAPITALS and accompany them with images. Make each branch a different colour and draw with thick lines.
Here are some ideas and images to help you along:
1. TO DO (what I need to do to get to Jannah) – an image of a ‘to-do’ list
2. TO AVOID (what I need to avoid to get to Jannah) – an image of a big ‘X’
3. MY JANNAH COMPANIONS (who I want in Jannah with me) – an image of people holding hands
4. FUN IN JANNAH (what I want to do in Jannah) – an image of a ‘Fun Ahead’ sign
5. JANNAH WISHLIST (what I wish to get in Jannah) – an image of a wish bubble
Step 3: Start branching out
Start to add the second, third, and fourth level of thoughts by making twigs and sub-twigs for each main branch. The connecting lines should get thinner with each level. Continue the twigs in the same colours as the main branches and write the text in the lower case. Don’t forget to personalize your mind map with various visual images, codes or symbols: either hand-drawn or printed[i].
An example of a branched-out TO-DO list for Jannah could be:
∟Special fasts – Ashoorah, Arafah, 13th-15th of every lunar month
∟ Reading the Qur’an
∟Following the Prophet (sa)
∟Masnoon duas (duas from the Sunnah)
∟Making dua for them
∟Doing at least one daily act of kindness for them
Here’s a sample of a mind map to Jannah. This mind map has been created using the iMindMap software:
Keep branching off into as much detail as you wish. The more you personalize your mind map, the more meaning it will hold for you.
For more ideas and help, you can take a look at some sample mind maps here.
Once you are done with mapping out all your ideas, step back and take a look at your handiwork. You will realize that everything you could possibly imagine about Jannah, from action steps to the actual reward, will be visible to you in one look. Stick your chart where you can see it every day to remind you of what needs to be done and what you will be getting. Remember to keep updating your mind map as you encounter new ideas and new knowledge.
And as you mind map your way to Jannah, pray to Allah as Aasiya did:
“…My Lord! Build for me a home with You in Jannah…” (Surah at-Tahreem 66:11)
Ruhaifa Adil is a mother of four, a practising Muslimah, an avid reader and a passionate writer. She works primarily as a trainer for mothers and teachers, advocating a multi- sensorial, learner-centred approach, which she has learnt through her work as a remedial specialist for children with dyslexia. She is also an author of English textbooks based on the teachings of the Qur’an (currently under editing), and creative director of a tafseer application for kids (soon to be launched insha’ Allah).
[i] If you are going to include images of people and/or animals, stick to Islamic guidelines in drawing them in such a way as to not have the head/face complete. Stick figures are best. (Editor)
© IIPH 2014