My conversation with him provided the spark for my next post. How should we as Muslims make decisions in our life?
I remember attending a study skills course before sitting my GCSE examinations. This was one of the most beneficial things I did as a student. Nearly all of us have studied in one capacity or another, but learning how to study is key before embarking upon study.
Whilst studying, it can be very easy to loose morale and for the mind to start meandering, which makes the studying process quite inefficient. One of the main take-home messages from the course was to write down one's goals on some paper prior to commencing study of a particular subject. This piece of paper should then be stuck in a visible place so that it remains a constant reminder. It acts as a focus for the mind, and provides one's study with a sense of direction.
Taking this one level further, we should apply this approach to 'study' for the ultimate examination we are going to face.
Who has created death and life, that He may test you which of you is best in deed. And He is the All-Mighty, the Oft-Forgiving; (Surah Mulk, Verse 2)
The Muslim is well aware that this life is an examination that we are constantly 'studying' for in order to improve our performance, with our 'results day' being the Day of Judgement. Just imagine the panic we felt when approaching the notice board for our final exams. The panic we will face on the Day of Judgement is truly something unimaginable.
Many of us feel at times that, like our studies, our life has no sense of direction. Perhaps part of the reason for this is that we haven't taken the time to establish our goals. What do we want to achieve from this life? What are we doing to achieve those goals?
Whilst we may have many small goals that we wish to achieve, the ultimate goal of the Muslim should be to seek the pleasure of our Creator, the Oft-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.
Continually seeking the pleasure of Allah will certainly give our lives the ultimate sense of direction, and will prevent the problems of meandering and procrastination that we all suffer from. In addition, it will help us to make our major life decisions with Allah's command in mind.
Many times in life we reach a juncture and there are two paths to choose, as in the case of the brother whom I mentioned earlier. One of them is the right path whilst the other is the wrong path. The wrong path will constantly call out to you, and going down it is full of ease, however at the end of the path there is misery. The right path may not be as enticing, and going down it is riddled with obstruction, but at the end of it there is satisfaction. By keeping the pleasure of Allah in our minds at all times, the right path is made more apparent to us and the obstructions are made easier to overcome, thus allowing us to achieve the ultimate satisfaction.
We should apply this to every act our lives. When we eat, when we sleep, when we think about watching that movie, when we think about going out, when we are with the opposite sex either willingly or unwillingly; are we thinking about whether Allah will be pleased with what we are about to do? Are we doing this act in accordance with how Allah wants?
By Allah, if we did this each and every time before we did something, then rarely would we err towards the wrong path.
Let's take just a few minutes from our busy lives and ponder on the following question:
'If Allah were to call upon me today, would He be pleased with me?'
If, like me, your response to this question is 'No', then we should ask ourselves this: 'What can we do to change this answer?'
What steps are we going to take as of today to seek Allah's pleasure? For me, I'm going to try and check every action I do inshAllah, by asking whether Allah with me pleased with what I'm about to do. For those decisions where I'm not so sure what will please Allah, I will pray to Allah to guide me towards what is best.
Allah guides those who are sincere. If we sincerely make a pledge today that our ultimate goal in life is to seek Allah's pleasure, and we make dua for that, then Allah will surely guide us.
I pray Allah makes us from those with whom He is pleased.
I ask forgiveness from Allah for any mistakes I may have made
Wa Allahu Alim.