Reflections: Struggle and grow
Over the last couple of weeks I have been reflecting on my life and all that I have going on. I am Muslim, Nigerian, a mother, a wife, a sister, a friend, a business owner and much more. I like to think that I am pious, kind, helpful, loving and creative. While being all of these things, I realize that I have a lot going on and I have been neglecting certain important areas of my life, with the biggest being my deen.
Yes I pray, yes I still try to be a good person and practice Islam, yes I still observe hijab but I’ve seriously been slacking. Gone are the days where I spent time before and after each salah reading pages of the Qur’an in Arabic and English. Gone are the days where I regularly listened to a new lecture everyday and pondered about how I could incorporate what I was learning into my life. Islam is definitely still very important to me and I’m always striving to be better. However, part of striving for clarity is the realization that I am failing in some areas and that I need to do better.
I’ve noticed that often, when people mention that they are struggling with their deen, they generally also say that their iman needs work. For me though, that’s not my problem. My faith in Islam- in the Prophets and Messengers(Peace and Blessings be upon them), in the oneness of Allah, in the holy books, my belief and understanding of the day of judgement, the angels and that our destiny is already written- has not changed. My faith is just as strong as it was a few months ago. I am still proud to be Muslim and I am constantly striving to do better. What has changed however, is my commitment and prioritization.
On one hand, I wish there were more hours in the day for me to get all of my work done, take care of my home, take care of my family, volunteer within my community and engage in studies for the deen. On the other hand, I am fully aware that all things are possible through Allah(SWT) and that by taking the time to worship Him, anything good that I want, will happen for me.
I have realized that my problem stems from properly prioritizing. I have become very caught up in reaching these dunya goals that I’ve set for myself that I’ve placed my akhira aside. There have been many times where I’ve stopped during the day and thought “How will my afterlife be? I’m I doing what I need to do to make it to Jannah?” and frankly, the answer has been “No”. Then I tell myself, “ok, I need start doing xyz”, but a few hours later and I’ve completely forgotten about those thoughts. Overall, I am not as focused as I used to be.
Let me clarify and say that the goals that I’ve set for myself aren’t necessarily bad, it’s just my balancing that needs work. It is pretty common among those who want to present this “I’m more pious than you” persona to go on and on about how people are consumed with the dunya, how it’s not good for you and how we should only care about the akhira. I do not subscribe to that ideology. There is absolutely nothing wrong with enjoying this world and all that it has to offer(excluding things that are haram) while still striving for jannah. However, it is all about balance. You should not be neglecting your prayers because you are so busy working for that next promotion at work. You shouldn’t be withholding your zakat because you’re spending that money on a purse. There is nothing wrong with working hard for that promotion. In fact, you should work hard. You should be making dua for that promotion. If you can afford to buy that purse after you’ve paid your zakat and given even more to charity, then do so. The important thing is having balance.
With that said, when it comes to improving, I can keep the goals that I have now but incorporate and prioritize those specific goals that relate to Islam more. I’d really like to get back to memorizing more of the Qur’an and engaging in more charity work. I’m also very aware that I’ve been slipping when it comes to tabaruj again(will go into more detail on another post)
Like most Muslims, I dream of having a pleasant afterlife. Since the birth of my son though, that desire has gotten stronger. I want to ensure that I am setting a good example for him. In the afterlife, I want to be in Jannah thinking about the pleasant times that I had with him. I do not want to be sad and tormented in Jahannam. I know that might sound morbid but this is honestly a concern and fear of mine. I don’t let this concern get me down though, instead I try to focus on what I can do to ensure that Jannah happens.
It is very easy to say, “ok, starting tomorrow, I’m going to read two pages of the Qur’an before and after each salah, listen to two lectures every week, pray qiyaam every night and memorize 10 ayat a day”. The reality though is that in the long term, this plan is not realistic. It’s too much being thrown in at once. You can’t go from 0-100 overnight. Yes it might work for a week, maybe a couple of months but chances are, the changes won’t stick. Instead, I plan to gradually change things and eventually work up to this.
I am going to start by dedicating one hour a day(aside from regular salah of course) to Islam. That hour will consist of Qur’an reading as well as other Islamic text and occasionally a lecture. After successfully doing this for 1 month, I plan on adding 1 lecture twice a week and then building off of that. inshaAllah, taking this slow but steady approach will get me back to where I want to be.
Please keep me in your dua and for all those who are also struggling, remember that Islam is not an all or nothing faith. You have to start from somewhere and build up to where you’d ideally like to be.
Is there an aspect of the deen that you've been struggling with lately? How are you working to fix it?
1/1/2018 05:40:32 am
Al hamdulilah you have witen my words sisy. I have planned somethin g like this to work on my bonding with almighty. In shaa allah our goals may be aheived. Aameen
We can't be perfect sis. We can strive but we will fail on some front. That is why Allah mentions in the Quran so many times that He is oft forgiving and the Most Merciful :)
You have written this beautifully. I think many of us struggle with achieving a balance with our priorities. I find that often in Ramadan, I have more time to focus on the Quran and to listen to lectures, which I aim to do. But after a few weeks, my consistency isn't what it should be. Inshallah prayers for you to reach your goals.
1/3/2018 02:26:32 am
Omg you know I also feel weakness & like you say, it's not our imaan as we believe, it's trying to work around everything and fit it all in AstaghfurIllah we should be the opposite & fit things around our worship, but sadly isn't the case!
I love this reflective post- you are right balance and prioritising is important in order to feel we have the time - I find I need to slow down in what I do in life and take things one step at a time iA - knowing I'm not and cannot be perfect is the first step for me.
1/3/2018 06:29:42 am
Balance! Aren't we all always running behind that? to find that balance. Somedays are better than others. Some not so much. But we will get there someday.
1/8/2018 02:03:19 am
Hi, it was a good article. Thanks for sharing. Keep up the good work.
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About "Life Gems"
Welcome to another addition to "Lady_Meansie's Corner". This portion of my corner is essentially my blog. The posts will be short but packed with important reminders for fellow Muslimahs. Remember to leave your thoughts in the comments. I love engaging in dialogue with my fellow Muslimahs.