Assalam Aleykum Warahmatullahy Wabarakatuh
It’s that time of the month. Well, atleast it is for me. I’m talking of that time in Ramadhan when the Ramadhan high starts to go down and there’s not as much excitement as there was in the beginning. It’s the time when we…or rather I, am simply exhausted with the crazy schedule that comes with having school during Ramadhan; Classes, assignments, deadlines, cleaning and laundry, preparing meals, taraweeh, Tahajjud and three hours of sleep.
I feel exhausted and overwhelmed. But it’s Ramadhan and doing my best in this blessed month is important to me. We are already halfway through and I’m grateful to Allah (sw) for all that I have achieved so far. But I don’t want to slow down, I can’t stop now and I don’t want to. On the other hand it’s also my last semester and giving it my best shot is also important to me. I’ve come too far to throw in the towel now; hence why I feel like I’m torn in too many directions to handle all that is currently in my plate. And yet I have to. I just have to find a way. Because Allah (sw) does not burden a soul with that which it cannot handle.And I kind of did, I found tactics that I could use as my anchor to remind myself that this is worthit and I can do this. And so I hope they will help anchor you too, in case you’re going through something similar.
Take a page from the Prophet Salallahu Alayhi Wasallam’s life.
This Ramadhan Alhamdulillah has been a time when I have learnt so much about the Prophet (saw).It dawned on me that if I really wanted to know myself and to discover my Islamic identity, I needed to learn about the epitome of Islamic Identity, and that is Prophet Muhammad (saw). Looking at his (saw) life, I find that he was a teacher, a friend, a husband, a general, a Prophet of Allah (sw), a counselor, an arbitrator, a soldier, a father and so much more. He (saw) had so many responsibilities and yet he never neglected any of them.
Furthermore, in Ramadhan he would increase abundantly in his worship to Allah (sw), more than usual, yet he still had to fulfill all these responsibilities. Never did he allow any part of his life to be neglected, not his family, not his service to the people and certainly not his worship to Allah (sw).When I look at the Prophet (saw)’s life I realize that Allah (sw) is asking so little of me as compared to Rasulullah (saw), yet he was forgiven all his past, present and future sins! The Prophet (saw) loved Allah (sw) so much that even when he was guaranteed Jannah (paradise) he continued to strive for Allah (sw), simply to make Him ( sw) happy.
Do we love Allah (sw) as much?Are we guaranteed that our mountains of sins are forgiven? Hell nah! And so why would I not strive to fulfill my responsibilities in life? Allah (sw) only requires me to strive for Him (sw) in my simple life; my school work and my deen. That’s it, I don’t have battles to fight or a whole nation to teach the ways of Islam. I only have the simple entities that make up my life, and so I realize that I have no excuse to not keep going, to not strive. And unless you are a prophet who’s sins are already forgiven, then neither do you.
Seek Forgiveness (Istighfar)
Sometimes, you find that the only person standing between you and Allah (sw)’s help is yourself. How many sins do we have and keep on committing without even noticing? It is these sins that sometimes block us from reaching our full potential and make various aspects of our lives extremely difficult. Some of the early predecessors would say that when things became difficult for them, they would do istighfar so that Allah (sw) would make it easier and open doors for them. Now I know, we never think of our sins as that big of a deal but if we knew how serious they were we would constantly be seeking Allah (sw)’s forgiveness. So if school or work is stressing you out, assignments are becoming too difficult or you, or you find worshiping and striving for Allah (sw) becoming more of a chore, maybe you should start seeking forgiveness and see how easy Allah (sw) will make things for you.
Be a Grateful Servant of Allah (sw).
I’m sure we’ve all had dark and difficult times in our lives. Remember that time you were so stressed out and you could not see the light at the end of the tunnel? Or that time you were sad, depressed, feeling extremely lost, when you were scared and disappointed, do you realize that it was Allah (sw) who helped you out of those situations? When you were broken and He (sw) fixed you and when you were scared and lonely, He (sw) was there with you; even when you did not deserve it, He was there with you.
You know that child who has the sweetest mum in the world, but is constantly disrespectful, rude and ungrateful to her? Them spoilt brats? We all know of such a child and when we see how ungrateful they are, we simply want to punch them in the face because we know how much the mom loves that child, we know how much they worry for them, strive for them and would essentially do anything for them because their love is just that strong. Now the Prophet (saw) tells us that Allah (sw) loves us more than a mother loves her child.
In this case, we, are the ungrateful children who should be punched in the face. We are the spoilt brats. Because Allah (sw) spoils us Subhanallah, He (sw) is our caretaker, our supporter, our friend, our Protector, our provider, the One who is always giving us presents even when we’re being bad. He is our everything yet we cannot even push ourselves to strive for Him. So anytime you get lazy, remind yourself that you don’t want to be that kid who everyone hates and wants to punch in the face. And by everyone I mean the Angels, the Prophets and the Companions of the Prophet (saw), imagine all of these amazing beings hating you because you’ve been a bad kid. Whoa, no thanks.
Believe that Allah’s promise is true.
One day we won’t be on this earth, Allah (sw) tells us in the Qur’an that this life is but a brief enjoyment; a few years and then that’s it. He also tells us that only our deeds will suffice for us once we are gone, but it’s like we don’t really believe this, we don’t really believe that we will die yet death is the only reality in this life. Allah (sw) tells us that every single deed that we do, He will keep it with Him and we will see it in the hereafter, nothing is lost with Him. So all that hustling that you have to do in school and at work, all those chores you do to take care of your family, all that sleep that you sacrifice to wake up in the night and pray to Allah (sw), He sees all of that and He appreciates every little thing you do,because He is As-Shakur, The Appreciative. He acknowledges and notices your sacrifice and He promises us a great reward, not just any reward but a great reward. Don’t we want this?
Imagine, at the beginning of the semester, your lecturer tells you that you will have a surprise exam. And it’s not simply an exam, it’s the exam. You don’t really know when exactly it is but you assume that it’ll probably not be anytime soon, maybe at the end of the semester. Either way, you decide to study bit by bit everyday, when everyone else is out partying, wasting time and simply not bothered about the exam. Suddenly in your next class, there’s the exam! Everyone is startled and you can see the fear in their faces;but not you. The bit by bit that you had been studying actually adds up to a lot and you’re completely elated, because you know you’ve done so well in an exam that so many took for granted and thus failed miserably. And because it’s the exam, there’s simply no turning back, no makeups no re-dos, its over.Gurrl, this could be you in your grave or standing before Allah (sw), glad that you struggled even though you were so tired and stressed, but then you playing.
Lastly, Ask for help.
I know it's hard, if it was easy, everyone would do it right?But i also know that you can’t do it alone, you just can’t.You need Allah (sw)’s help, but guess what?It is so easy to get that, all you have to do is ask , put in a little bit of effort and believe.Then watch your whole world unfold right before your eyes.It‘s like magic, only that it’s not, it’s Allah (sw), that’s just how magical and amazing He is. So don't give up, keep going, you can do it.