By Amina Edota
Do you always dream of the years ahead when you will hit your first million, memorise the Qur’an, or break some world record? Or perhaps you jump, to a few months ahead – getting published, married or launching an online business.
Whatever your big dream is, you know what I’m talking about, right?
The reality is that tomorrow may never come. And those dreams may remain just as they are – Dreams!!! So while it is OK to dream, you need to wake up and build rewarding habits that will aid you towards your goals.
Seek opportunities with your youthful zeal and energy. And there are many of such opportunities in youth, as our beloved Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) advised: Utilise your Youth before Old Age.
Since new habits take time and consistency, make it a priority so you can capitalize on your youth. Use it for practice upon practice. Don’t take your youth for granted.
Let’s get started with some simple actions…
- Avoid Complaining. This world is far from perfect and you can’t always have what you want. Rather than dwell on what is wrong, focus on the good and be thankful for every blessing of your youth. And remember, this life is a test.
”We test you by good and by evil as a trial” [Q21; V35]
- Shun Ignorance. You can’t worship Allah with incorrect knowledge. If you know Allah, then you can worship Him as He deserves. Seeking knowledge of Allah, the Almighty and Majestic is therefore compulsory on you. Ignorance is not an excuse.
”And know that there is none that is rightfully worshipped except Allah…” [Q47; V19]
- Make the Qur’an your daily manual. Be consistent with reciting a fixed amount of Qur’an daily. Read, reflect and make sure you act upon what you read.Do not be among those who forget to read or reflect.
”This is the Book (the Qur’an) whereof there is no doubt, a guidance to those who are Al-Muttaqun [The pious and righteous persons who fear Allah much]” [Q2.V2]
- Uphold the Sunnah. Learn about Prophet Muhammad ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him); emulate his manners, respect him, obey him and teach others about him. Love his family and companions and stay far away from all that he has prohibited. Do not say – It is ONLY sunnah.
”Say if you love Allah, then follow me: Allah will love you and forgive your sins. Verily, Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Q3.V31]
- Keep good company. Stay with those who remind you of Allah and the Hereafter. Seek companionship of people who bring out the best in you and stay away from toxic individuals – including the haters and complain bags.
”Friends on that day will be enemies of each other, except the righteous” [Q43: V67]
- Focus on the positive. Keep your intention, thoughts and words positive. And leave your affairs to Allah. It reduces negative stress levels and will keep you on the right track towards your goals.
”Certainly, Allah loves those who put their trust (in Him)” [Q3.V159]
- Take a daily step towards your goals. Break down your goals and do one simple action each day so as not to get overwhelmed. Don’t worry about perfecting things. Just make sure you maintain consistency as you progress.
- Set yourself up for some accountability. Get a buddy or a mentor to check up on your milestones as you try to achieve big goals. And let there be some consequence for negligence.
- Follow up a good deed with another good one. Think of the day when you will receive your book of deeds either in the right or left hand, depending on your deeds. Then make that choice with even the tiniest deed.
Abu Dharr relates that the Holy Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “Do not disdain doing the least good, even greeting your brother with a cheerful face” (Muslim).
- Smile. It is Sunnah; it is also charity and makes you look good and feel good. Smile before your teeth fall out.
Listen. Aim to truly listen to others before you open your mouth to speak. Good listening is a gift you can share with others. It fosters understanding and cooperation.
Call someone to Islam. It can be a neighbour, colleague or classmate. Tell others about Tawhid – Oneness of Allah and the Message of His Final Prophet ṣallallāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him).
”Call unto the way of your Lord with wisdom and goodly exhortation” [Q16:V126]
- Show gratitude for even the simplest act. Learn to say ‘thank you’ for every simple act or favour upon you. Be generous with your appreciation for every kind act.
Spread Salaam. Always give greetings of peace or reply when greeted first with what is better.
Give Charity. Give away something you have not used for a while. It is likely you won’t miss it, someone’s life will be changed and you will also get a reward.
Give some charity today even with half a date.
- Forgive. People may hurt you with their words, actions or inactions. Similarly, some ugly memories may linger which pierce through the heart and feel just like yesterday. But still forgive and move on.
”Learn to forgive and forbear. Do you not desire that Allah should forgive you?” [Q24: V22]
- See no evil, hear no evil. Your body and senses are a blessing from your Creator. Use them only for good and for what will be pleasing to Him. Preserve your mind and body.
”The ear, the eye and the heart shall all be called to account” [Q17:V36]
- Volunteer. Share an invaluable part of yourself – whether it’s a skill, knowledge or time. Be among those who bring benefit to others. And remember that sharing is caring.
Never stop learning because life never stops teaching. And be consistent with the supplication;
”My Lord! Increase me in knowledge.” [Q20:V114]
- Accept mistakes and failures. Making mistakes is human. Do not allow this to paralyze your life. Make sure you take lessons from hem.
Check yourself. The mirror does not lie, does it? Use your inner conscience as a mirror and guide to check yourself and bring yourself to account as no other person can.
Stay awake after Fajr and do something beneficial – writing, listening to a lecture, reading the Qur’an or book of Tafsir. Utilise the blessings of the morning time and jumpstart your day with an active brain.
Make sincere du’a for someone in his/her absence. It could be for a friend who is childless or a colleague seeking to know about the purpose of creation or a neighbour who is going through a financial crisis. You will be rewarded with a blessed response, ‘And same to you’.
Keep your tongue moist with the remembrance of Allah. Engage in Dhikr of Allah with your tongue and presence of heart. Sheikh al -Islam Ibn Taimiyyah raḍyAllāhu ‘anhu (may Allāh be pleased with him) said, ”The remembrance of Allah is like water to the fish. What would happen to the fish if it were separated from the water?”
Keep in touch. Call, send an email or SMS to a family member you have not been in touch with for a long time. Be pleasant. You will rekindle a blessed relationship and strengthen the ties of kinship.
Honor your parents. Whatever the generational gap, be patient with your parents. Treat them with excellence and show them love as you would want to be loved by your children. Ask Allah to guide them and to grant them the best station in Paradise.
Make a budget. Take a close look at your earnings and spending; are they in sync? Can you reduce your debt, save more or give more in charity? Draft a plan today and stick with it.
Keep silent. Button those lips if you have nothing good to say. Say NO to backbiting and gossip. Avoid the traps of he said- , she said-.
Apologize when wrong. Saying sorry makes you stronger not weaker.
Watch what you eat. Make sure your diet is healthy and permissible. And do not overeat. Your body is an amanah. You will be questioned about it. Use your diet to fuel your worship.
Go Offline. Stay offline for one day or at least most of one day. Check yourself, renew your intentions and think of ways to boost your faith. Terrified of falling behind on updates? Don’t worry, there will always be newer updates.
Pray Tahajjud. Wake up in the last part of the night and pray at least two units of prayers. It gives you a chance to have your duas answered and sins forgiven. Don’t miss out!
In a Hadith Qudsi, Allah says, ”Is there anyone asking of Me that I may give them? Is there anyone asking forgiveness that I may forgive them?”
- Ask Allah. It is easy to ask close friends and family members for some of our needs without remembering to ask the One who provides for all our families and friends. What do you need right now? Ask Him.
”Your Lord has said: Call on Me: I will respond to you”. [Q40:V61]
- Practice what you preach. Have you ever been asked by a 5 year old, ‘why do you say don’t shout at your little brother, but you are shouting yourself?’ If you can’t live by your words, mind what you demand or expect of others. Be the model you want to see.
Get active. Take a walk or bring that skipping rope out and get moving. Don’t wait to get to a gym for an ultimate fitness plan. Become active and keep your body healthy and fit.
Enjoy good decent jokes. You may have that special uncle or friend who keeps a growing collection of jokes and pulls out some new ones each time you get together or wirelessly. Lol! It’s OK to laugh it off without breaking the roof.
Relax. Take some time off to unwind and put your feet up. Don’t work 24/7 or run the risk of getting low on your physical and mental energy. You deserve some rest; your body has rights over you.
This list is by no means exhaustive.What can you add to it from your own life experiences? Which of the above actions would you recommend to others; And what other simple actions can you start today for a more rewarding youth? Take a moment to add to the list below…
Amina Edota is a Writer and a Mentor. She is passionately committed to inspiring the Muslim Youth to act on the opportunities of their youth. Join her for tips, insights and reminders for the Muslim Youth (@www.youthlyhub.com)