First, let me tell you how it feels to LIVE your dream. To follow your passion and live a purposeful life you’ve always dreamed of. It’s overwhelming. It’s exhilarating. It’s scary. Yes, you’ll be scared. You’ll be afraid of having a full plate all the time. You’ll even be afraid to fail. But you’ll experience a sense of joy in your heart with all that energy and tiredness and enthusiasm. You’ll feel alive, a different sort of alive. You’ll have a full day, but you can’t wait to fulfill every bit of the tasks that fill your schedule. And you’ll consciously plan your breaks and your free times to recharge yourself. Your heart will pump desire for excellence and nothing less. Your soul will remind you of your priority. Imagine how overwhelmingly wonderful and ideal it feels. And it’s not impossible.
I don’t know if you’d want such a life. Or you’d rather prefer to be on a standstill, taking life as it comes, instead of taking charge of it. Well, a life lived purposefully every single day, is a life lived soulfully.
Nevertheless, I’ve come across 8 out of 10 people who really want to do something in their lives. Their statement and even my own statement, “I want to be a part of something big. Something purposeful” resonates in my ears.
Growing up, I’ve always told my sister, ‘Hussaina!!I want to do something big in life! I just don’t know what!”
And this has been a long term dream for as long as I can remember.
So this is for those, who want to do something great for this world, who want to contribute and bring change. Wisdom from a little 24 year old who feels like she’s living her little dreams Alhamdulillah.
1. ‘Allah doesn’t bring about change until we change ourselves’
Change doesn’t come to us while we sit in that cozy sofa talking about changing the world. Change is something we need to work for, consciously, every single moment of every single day. No, I don’t mean religiously posting up Islamic articles and status updates or even tweets. I’m talking about seeing how much of a change has that brought in you, yourself. Reading the Qur’an every day and watching carefully if there is any change in our habits. Watching our hours consciously, meticulously.
Analyzing what is our purpose in life? What is it that we are passionate about that we would do no matter what the circumstance, dream of it even, think about it at all times, LIVE IT! What is it that we want to strive for? Zoom out from what the world dictates to do – career, family etc. All that will fall in place, but if it’s not part of your passion, I’d say you’re not living your life to the fullest. Passion is something you’d wish you didn’t have the weekends for! And would take your own productive breaks in your own way. Look for it; we all have it in ourselves. As each one of us has been created with a purpose to serve our Lord, and surely we all have this unique signature in ourselves that we have to figure out.
“Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves.” [Surah Ar-Ra`d, 11]
2. Take time to accept where you are now.
We all think we need the perfect study table to learn, we need the perfect place to do things, the perfect institution to study in, we wait for the perfect job or Islamic degree to start with our passion, we wait for a lot of things and do not focus on the million gifts and opportunities we have around us. I find Yusuf’s عليه السلام story so inspiring. We all dream big, we all want to do great things in life. But look at the life of Yusuf عليه السلام. Did he grow up all (apparently) successful in every walk of life, hence becoming the best minister of Misr? No. He went through a lot of different happenings in his life and wouldn’t have even imagined he was growing up to be a legacy. Looking clearly at each stage of his life, we learn that while he was with his brothers who didn’t like him much, he had a quality in him that they envied. While he was thrown at the well, he was actually ‘good news!’ for the ones who took him out of the well. When he was bought/adopted, the Aziz was happy to have someone useful in his hands. He was then sent to prison. Even then, he was a source of goodness for his prison mates; through him, and by Allah’s will, they accepted Islam and accepted guidance. They enjoyed his company and trusted him in what he said and also believed him so much that they entrusted their dreams with him.
What do you see in common here? In every phase of life, no matter how apparently insignificant it seemed, that Yusuf عليه السلام was in, he made the world around him a better place. See a lesson there?
“Between where you are and who you are becoming, you are where exactly you are meant to be. Find comfort in the quiet corners of your dreams. Even if u don’t change the entire world, you would change your part of it.”
3. So, even if you don’t change the entire world, change your part of it!
You may be a fresh jobless graduate, but you can do a lot of community service in the form of teaching, preaching, working online, helping your family at home, organizing small family circle meetings for the sake of Allah, meeting people of the community to discuss Dawah events for your place, even do something simple yet humongous, like teach someone to read the Quran correctly. You may be a busy college student but you might find your passion in art, social service, or public speaking, etc. You might not always need to be teaching or giving alone, but most importantly, read and learn yourself. You might be a busy wife handling toddlers and babies, but reading to them, making them love reading, listening to the Quran together, reciting it, there are a gazillion opportunities in doing things to gain rewards bringing up children! You might be that busy daughter-in-law of a house who needs to fulfill expectations, but then you can steal time to do that which you really desire to- study your dream course, teach what you know and love, spread love for Allah and build a connection with Allah simply with everyone you meet. Oh you are already having a job of your own, a family to take care of and a full time perfect schedule? Perfect! Being busy is an excellent attribute of a Muslim! By being the best of yourself consciously, you are already doing a lot of good to this world! If you really aren’t happy with that job, then perhaps tweaking it to your likes, teaching the students good manners and Islamic ethics, or spreading good words among colleagues in office, bringing everyone to pray in congregation, writing up one or two articles of your reflections to share with the world are some of the things you can easily chip in in within your daily work.
You might be none of the above or simply just graduated from high school wondering what path to choose. You might even be very contented with the job you are at now, so you’re not interested in any of these. But you might be surprised at your own speaking skills such that with just a small description of Islam, someone might accept Islam!
In all these and more possible scenarios, one thing is the most achievable by each and every one of us- making the world around us a better place. By the being the best of ourselves. Giving the best of ourselves. And remember this. No, BELIEVE in this- We all have something to give. We definitely do. Don’t let shaytan convince you otherwise.
4. Ripple effect:
Every action will continue to spread, continue to grow. When you don’t even realize, you’ll hear from someone you never met, maybe even from another part of the world, that they’ve heard something you said or did or they read something you wrote or painted, and it changed their lives! So continue focusing on the here and now, on how to make the present a better place to live. Focusing in self, brings change to family, which in turn brings change to society, then the community and so on. Even brings about a revolution bi idhnillah.
5. Learn, Learn and LEARN
When you keep learning, you keep growing. You might not even realize your passion until you start learning a lot; sometimes even learning is your passion! Be it reading current affairs, or actually studying a course, or simply gaining a lot of knowledge on a field of interest. Contact people who can teach you to become better in it, search online for resources. And by ‘learn’ I never meant those petty little videos on facebook or whatsapp you watch all day and consider knowledge. The only way we can bring change to our ownselves and not remain stagnant is to keep learning. The ocean of knowledge in every field Islamic or not, is vast and staying merely in one spot well immersed will only drown us and not take us far!
6. My fav line always: Little by little one travels far.
I cannot emphasize enough on the significance of focusing on the ‘littles’. Have a huge goal to reach? Break it down to smaller short term goals. Then break them into everyday tasks to accomplish. And find happiness in being able to live that huge dream in the little hours of everyday life! Trust me, when we start wherever we are with whatever we have, in all excellence of it, and sincere intentions of it, we WILL feel that sense of peace and happiness our heart yearns for and we WILL keep going until we reach that goal and we WILL find doors keep opening for us to get there, InshaAllah. When we say “oh but for that, I need this thing which will take years and it’s not possible now”, we are going nowhere. Enjoy the journey to your goal. Because the end doesn’t matter as much as the feeling of narrating your journey to someone of how you reached there! And what if you never reached there? Allah سبحانه و تعالى promises to reward you with it as you’ve been striving for it already.
‘When a slave falls ill or travels, then he will get reward similar to that he gets for good deeds practiced at home when in good health.” [Bukhari]
That’s how much the journey matters. May Allah bless us with humongous dreams to accomplish, with opportunities to grab and bring change to the world. Ameen.
Why are you still here? Go start NOW!
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