Don't Wait - Live Productively While Young
Author: Amina Edota
Life often gets very busy for many young Muslims as they try to balance deen with studies, work,
community projects and other commitments. But being ‘busy’ does not always translate into productivity.
Have you ever heard the story of the people of the cave?
In the narration [Qur'an: Chapter 18, Verses 9-26], some young men were described as having their hearts filled with faith and belief in their Lord Almighty. Hence, they sought refuge in a cave away from their disbelieving folks and loved ones, so as to protect themselves against disbelief.
They simply did not keep the faith in their hearts, but took action as well. This motivated them to remain steadfast. This shows the practical way Muslims can balance belief with their actions.
As a young Muslim, life should be more than just about praying, fasting and engaging in other spiritual acts of worship. From daily thoughts to speech and ultimately action or inaction, your character and activities should always be guided by inner faith.
Your youth is a unique period marked by zeal, energy and many opportunities, but it is a passing phase. If you think otherwise, visit your grandparents or an elderly neighbour to find out how their lives are different now as compared to when they were still in their teens, 20s or 30s.
Here is a quick list of productive opportunities that you can utilise to set you on the right track towards having a more productive youth.
1. Boost Your Knowledge
Seeking knowledge brings many benefits to the learner. So whether it is Islamic knowledge or personal development programmes such as those offered by Productive Muslim, there is no end to the opportunities you have to create change. Change happens when you take steps to act on your knowledge.
Nowadays, knowledge can be accessed through various means, online or offline. Before you begin any programme, general or personalised self study, understand your goals and map them out so that they will guide your learning journey. Where available, discuss your needs and present knowledge level with a tutor or mentor. This will enable you to carve out a progressive learning path.
With knowledge comes the responsibility of taking action. So strive to put into practice what you learn and spread the knowledge so that others can benefit. You can do this through writing and sharing your study notes, giving talks and lectures, teaching and mentoring others; and also through recordings – audio, video and PowerPoint presentations.
The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said: “When a person dies, his deeds are cut off except through three: continual flowing charity, knowledge which others benefit, and a pious offspring that supplicates for him.” [Sahih at-Tirmidhi]
And what better time is there to begin traversing the wide sea of knowledge, but at a young age!
2. Nurture Your Faith
From your daily obligatory prayers to the recommended ones, from Ramadan fasting to the nawafil fasts, from compulsory zakat to daily charity, whatever action you do, do it with excellence and for the Pleasure of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) alone. Also do it according to the authentic sunnah of His Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him). It is an opportunity to help you build consciousness of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) in your heart.
The Prophet ṣallallāhu 'alayhi wa sallam (peace and blessings of Allāh be upon him) said, “Ihsan is to worship Allah as though you are seeing Him, and if you cannot see Him, then know for sure that He sees you.” [Sahih Bukhari]
In addition to submitting to Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He), you are able to develop better discipline when you engage in these prescribed acts of worship. While with the congregational ones, the spirit of unity and tolerance is fostered. So guard all of your daily acts of worship with excellence and consistency.
What better investment can be made in this period of life, but of cultivating such rewarding practices.
3. Move Your Body
You can stay active by performing exercises regularly and taking part in sporting activities. Staying fit and healthy will make it easier to perform some rewarding acts of worship as well such as walking to the local masjid and performing the Hajj.
Good health and general wellness will also make it easier for the youth to work hard to earn a halal income, which is another form of worship. When you maintain a physically active life, your brain becomes active and productivity also increases in other areas of life.
Take action today by starting an exercise routine and/or getting a fitness buddy. Use the ProductiveMuslim Habitator to help build up a fitness routine.
Why not walk away your excuses or skip them away. And who says you need a gym, designer gears or a fat wallet to stay fit. You can get started on a new active lifestyle today.
4. Get Social
This period in your life with fewer responsibilities and energy will allow for networking and contributing to the community in many productive ways. You can contribute ideas, knowledge, skills and wealth. It should be about making sincere contributions rather than just hanging around with friends or passing time or even being a copy cat.
Life only gets busier as responsibilities increase, whether at home or with studies. It is best to commit to beneficial work while life permits. You can turn social interactions into worship and productive actions.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Volunteer at the local Islamic centre.
Visit the sick.
Start a charity drive.
Get to know your neighbours - Muslims or non-Muslims – and be an exemplary Muslim.
Collaborate with an Islamic organisation so that you can manage their website or social media accounts from home.
Give it a try today, but remember to start with a sincere intention. Do it for the pleasure of Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He).
5. Mind Those Feelings
From music and friends to porn and gambling, temptations surround the Muslim youth in all directions. Suppressing negative inclinations of the heart as well as pressures of the society, can bring you eternal success and save you from immense regret.
“But as for him who feared standing before his Lord, and restrained himself from impure evil desires and lusts. Verily, Paradise will be his abode.” [Qur'an: Chapter 79, Verses 40-41]
Use your free time for productive deeds such seeking beneficial knowledge, giving dawah and keeping good company. In whatever situation you find yourself, always reflect and question yourself, “Will Allah subḥānahu wa ta'āla (glorified and exalted be He) be pleased with me in this situation? Am I striving for worldly and eternal success with these thoughts or act?”
It will not always be easy for you as a young Muslim, but taking one step at a time towards change helps. Combine this inner struggle with an understanding of the purpose of your creation. When you understand yourself and your feelings, you can strive to become better and learn to seek help when you need it.
Try to keep your mind busy with pure and positive thoughts in anticipation of a unique reward, an everlasting kind.
The message is that every young Muslim can have a productive life.
First, by realising the opportunities that youth offers and then taking action. And secondly, through striving for balance and excellence in every area of life.
“… And whatever good you send before you for yourselves, (i.e. nawafil non-obligatory acts of worship), you will certainly find it with Allah, better and greater in reward. And seek Forgiveness of Allah. Verily, Allah is Most-Forgiving, Most-Merciful.” [Qur'an: Chapter 73, Verse 20]