For anyone who ever thought of growing a full fist-length beard, observing proper hijab and/or niqab, or dressing in an Islamic manner but have not been able to do so, this is a must read for you. Insha Allah, it may serve to be a source of inspiration for those who wish to pursue Islamic education. But most importantly, it serves to be a reminder for me and Insha Allah, a means of earning Allah’s pleasure by getting people to practice the Deen in its entirety.
Unfortunately, just before you take your first step on the righteous journey to pursue your Deen, your nafs and shaytaan be it your own shaytaan or people around you, even the ones who deeply care for you, will give you awful “advice” and sincere “nasihah”. Perhaps it may not be because they have evil intentions. It is because they do not understand the big picture—what your Deen means to you. They do not understand that, to you, the reward is worth the risk. In other words, a life of hell in this world or a jail as the hadith says is worth more than a temporal “paradise” for an unknown amount of torment the actual hellfire.
So they try to protect you by shielding you from the possibility of failure, which, as a result, also shields you from the possibility of making a Deeni life for yourself a reality.
Our time here in this world is limited, so let us not waste it trying to live someone else’s life. Do not be trapped by lack of faith and Iman others have regarding themselves and you. Do not let the noise of other people’s opinions drown out the sound of your soul yearning to live a righteous and pious life.
Here are ten tips (lies) people will likely tell you when you decide to pursue your Deen and the reasons why they are dreadfully mistaken:
1. You can follow your Deen someday, but right now you need to calm down and be responsible.
Someday?! When is “someday”? “Someday” is not a day at all. “Someday” never comes. It is not even on the calendar. It is not on the lunar calendar, the Islamic calendar, and ISNA does not even know when “Someday” is going to be based off calculations because it cannot be calculated! It is a foggy generalization of a time that will likely never come. Today is the only day guaranteed to you. Today is the only day you can begin to make a difference in your life. And pursuing your Deen is what life is all about. So do not be irresponsible. Do not wait until “someday.” Make today the first day of the rest of your new life, and fulfill the purpose of your life.
2. You are totally at a loss if it does not work out.
Wrong! This is a giant, lame load of whispers and snares in the form of wasawis. You are not even close to being at a loss. In fact, the worst case scenario is that things do not work out and you go back to doing exactly what you are doing right now. Well you can always make Tawbah, and return to Allah. If the sun has risen from the west for these pessimists, then let them have their judgment, but in reality, this event has not yet occurred. So make use of the time at hand. The door for returning to Allah is still open and everyone has a free pass to go in, even those who were in and went out can return back in. Remember that the Qur’an says mankind is in loss and those who practice the Deen are an exception to that.
3. It is safer to maintain your job.
Sure, I suppose. But you know what is even safer than that? Going home, locking yourself in your bedroom, and never, ever coming out. And just like that, your entire life and your Deen would go down the drain. Remember, safer doesn’t always mean better. Allah is our Provider, and our Sustainer. Allah provides so much sustenance to those who reject Him, to those who associate partners and ascribe children to Him, and to those who have unusual beliefs about Him. Yet, He never abandons them! Are we worse than those people that Allah will not tend to at least our basic needs?! Is this world not a testing center for us?!
4. Fully practicing Deen is impossible!
It is only impossible if you never do anything about it. The reason certain things seem impossible is simply because these people are not aware of anyone who has achieved them yet. But this does not mean that with your help these things won’t become possible in the future. If you truly dedicate yourself to an end result, almost anything is possible. You just have to want it bad enough. The examples of our pious predecessors and the examples of the righteous people of today are in front of us. Resolutions only become available to people of firm resolve!
5. Only a lucky few “make it.”
That is because those lucky few got off their rear ends and did something about it! They had the drive, determination, and willpower that you have right now. You can be one of them. It is up to you, and only you. Keep in mind the lives of the pious people. They had to deal with the taunts of people also. In fact it was said that the recitation (Qira’ah) of Imam ‘Asim (the teacher of Imam Hafs) and the jurisprudence (Fiqh) of Imam Abu Hanifah would not reach outside Kufa….Look who gets the last laugh now!
6. You might fail and sin. And sinning is bad.
Failures which lead to sinning are simply stepping stones to repentance. No matter how it turns out, it always ends up just the way it should be. Either you succeed or you learn something: win–win. The biggest mistake you can make is doing nothing because you’re too scared to make a mistake. If you can’t handle failure, then you can’t handle success either. In the end, you will have attained the love of Allah. How you ask? Allah mentions in the Qur’an that He loves the pious and the righteous. But Allah also mentions that He loves those who frequently repent. One will only frequently repent when one frequently fails and sins.
7. You do not have access to the right resources.
It is not about having the right resources; it’s about using the resources available to you. Imam Abu Yusuf was a poor person. He did not have the luxury to give everything up and sit and learn. What he did have though, was his eyes on the prize and sincere yearning for learning. That resulted in the great Imam Abu Hanifah noticing this and resolving to look after the financial needs of Imam Abu Yusuf. Get it? Got it? GOOD!
8. You need more money saved before you can take the first step.
You do not need more money. You need a plan. You need a budget. Eliminate ALL the nonessential costs in your life. If pursuing your dream requires you to leave your day job, figure out the absolute minimum amount of income that you realistically require. Studying the lives of those who have succeeded with similar ventures helps a great deal. But above all, take baby steps. Do not be foolish and assume that you must have a certain amount of money saved right now, or that you must quit your day job today in order to pursue your Deen. Instead, ask yourself this question, “What actions can I take right now with the money and resources I have right now that will bring me closer to the desired goal of practicing Deen properly?”
9. You do not need any help. It is smarter and better to learn and practice on your own.
You are the sum of the people you spend the most time with. If you socialize with the wrong people, they will negatively affect you. But if you socialize with the right people, you will be far more capable and powerful than you ever could have been alone. Find pious people who you click with and work together to make a difference in all of your lives.
10. That sounds like a lot of hard work.
You are darn right it does! But that does not mean it is not worth it. I think success in life hinges on one key point: finding work you love doing and knowing that Allah also loves that work. As long as you do not do anything to incur the wrath of Allah, remain true to yourself and follow your own interests, values, and dreams, you can find success through passion. Perhaps most importantly, you won’t wake up a few years from now in a situation you and Allah despise, wondering, “How the heck am I going to be like this for the rest of my life? What is Allah going to do to me if I were to die?” So if you are not breaking the laws of Allah, nor going against the Sunnah, and you catch yourself working hard and loving every minute of it, do not stop. You are onto something big. Deen is not hard when you concentrate on it and make Deen your passion.
Disregard these misguided bits of nonsense and Insha Allah, you will be on your way to fulfilling your Deen. Now get up and go earn Allah’s pleasure!