As mothers, busy professionals, or those who simply have a lot on their plates, we often feel crestfallen when we don’t achieve as much as we want to on a daily basis. This is often particularly true of our worship of Allah (swt). While we may aim to read more Qur’aan, pray more and fast more, a lot of us are unable to do this. Rather than allow ourselves to become disheartened with a feeling of lack of progress, embrace the place you are in and your current role in life.
Allah (swt) tells us, “Do the people think that they will be left to say: We believe, and they will not be tried? But we have certainly tried those before them, and Allah will surely make evident those who are truthful, and He will surely make evident the liars.” (Surah Al-Ankabut 29:2-3). We often focus on our shortcomings and feel as though our daily lives are stagnant in an ever-repeating routine. This is a test from Allah (swt) and a means for us to strive to embrace our current circumstances and use them to strengthen our relationship with Him. If Allah has given you the ability to be a mother or to help people by putting in long hours at the hospital as a nurse or doctor or to be a means of helping your elderly parents to take care of their daily tasks, embrace this. Make goals for your spiritual development that surround these aspects of your life. How can you be a better mother, professional, daughter, wife, father, husband, etc.? Being the best you can be where you are right now in life is a means of worshipping Allah.
Islam is a comprehensive religion and so is striving to improve ourselves. Incorporate character-building into your goals. Work on your relationships- with Allah, your family and your community. Different roles in our lives require different types of training but working on our character in how we behave towards Allah, others and ourselves is always essential. The Prophet (saw) said, “I have only been sent to perfect righteous behavior.” (Ahmad) Furthermore, consider the emphasis that has been placed on the character of the Prophet (saw) in the Qur’aan and in various ahadith. Allah (swt) says, “And verily, you are on an exalted (standard of) character.” (Surah Al-Qalam 68:4) . We often neglect character-building goals but they are essential for our Islamic development and can allow us to make ourselves the best we can possibly be.
Ask yourself who you want to be and, even more importantly, who you need to be at this moment. As a mother or father, as a husband or wife, as a son or daughter, as an employee, as a student- and first and foremost, as a servant of Allah (swt)- ask yourself, “What do I need to do right now to be the best person I can be?” Do only what is yours to do at this moment and do not overburden yourself with comparing your achievements to others. When you cook a healthy dinner for your children and recite du’aas with them before they sleep at night, you are nurturing their bodies and souls. You may be so drained by the end of the day that you can hardly imagine listening to an Islamic lecture or praying extra sunnah prayers. Realize that Allah (swt) knows what you do for His sake and you will be rewarded for it.
Find fulfillment in the mundane, everyday tasks you do.
Allah (swt) says, “So remember Me; I will remember you. And be grateful to Me and do not deny Me.” Surah Al-Baqarah 2:152
- When you cram for finals, remember Allah.
- When you clean up the mess your children made, remember Allah.
- When your mother asks you to stop by the grocery store for her, remember Allah.
- When you put in extra hours at work to ensure your tasks are done right, remember Allah.
- When you cook your spouse’s favorite meal, remember Allah.
Do everyday tasks for the sake of Allah (swt) and embrace where you are in life. Allah (swt) put you there for a reason so allow yourself to flourish, grow and prosper. Although your roles in life may change, one relationship will always be there and that is your relationship with your Creator. Remember Him everyday and suddenly that feeling of stagnation and failure will disappear and be replaced with a feeling of fulfillment, contentment and joy insha’Allah.