I turned thirty today. I know I may seem much older to many people, but that is because I started living my life much younger than most people do. Alhamdulillah, my twenties have been very productive, and I have set goals to make my thirties ten times more productive with Allah’s Help.
As part of reflecting on the passage of time, I decided to list thirty important lessons I learned during my thirty years on planet earth. Enjoy!
Four Reflections on life
- Starting young gives you a head-start in life. I started studying Islam at age thirteen, started doing Dawah at age sixteen, got married when I was twenty, became a father when I was twenty-one, and published my first book when I was twenty five. The younger you start, the more you can get done in your life.
- The pain of being an orphan never goes away. Twenty-one years ago, my father was murdered. He was twenty nine year old. It still hurts even today, and I still miss him every day. Treasure your parents if they are still alive. Make due for them if they have passed on.
- Bad times are just as much a part of life as the good times. Don’t be obsessed with one or the other. During good times, thank Allah and during bad times, seek His Assistance through patience and Salah. Neither will last forever. Maturity is getting used to that and accepting it as a part of life.
- Life really is short, so make use of whatever time Allah has blessed you with. My father passed away when he was twenty-nine. During the past two decades, I have seen many other loved ones leave this world. Don’t waste your youth in mindless entertainment. Be productive and make a difference in this world.
Six Reflections on Relationships
- Your family should be a priority. Your spouse, children, parents, and siblings are gifts from Allah. Value them and treat them all with honor and love.
- But also make time for yourself. Don’t lose yourself in work and taking care of the family. Take care of yourself too. Make time for personal hobbies and personal development, because you need it more than you realize.
- However, your relationship with Allah is most crucial. Be regular with your Salah and live your life in obedience to Allah.
- Temptations never end. Marriage does not mean the end of tests. Become a parent does not mean the end of tests. Getting older does not mean the end of tests. This world is a testing ground until we leave it, so never become complacent about sources of temptation.
- Nobody is perfect and that is okay. What matters is that you are sincerely trying your best and seeking forgiveness for your lapses along the way. Treat your mistakes as learning experiences and grow through them.
- So forgive others. Life is too short to hold grudges, and nobody is perfect. Overlook genuine mistakes and help people grow.
Ten Reflections on Personal Growth
- Invest in yourself. Make time to grow intellectually every day. Whether it is through books, courses or personal training. You need to grow in order to be able to do well in this ever changing world.
- Books are your friends. Whether they are eBooks, audiobooks and physical books. Invest in them and always have a never-ending book list to read through.
- Set goals and work towards them. Without goals, life will just pass you by without you really living up to your potential.
- Make those goals really really high. You only have one life in this world, so why aim low? Squeeze the most out of life with ridiculously high goals.
- Self-Confidence is necessary to accomplish your goals. Build it up and don’t allow others to break it down.
- Time Management is just as necessary. You must know how you are spending your time and find ways to spend it productively.
- Keep it Halal. Whatever goals you set or paths you take to accomplish those goals, make sure they are Halal. Because no goal is worth displeasing Allah for.
- Be picky about your close friends. Surround yourself with people who encourage you to be the best you can be. Avoid negative company, toxic company and especially company that encourages sin.
- Remember that each year that passes is a year that you can’t get back, so don’t waste any year of your life.
- You should be able to look back each year and say, “Wow, I can’t believe I was like that!” because of how much you have grown in a person within that year.
Ten Reflections on Religion
- Islam is a gift from our Creator. Study it, love it, live it, grow deeper into it, and never abandon it or take it for granted.
- Over the past fifteen years, I have, at different times, been a part of many sects, and I have seen faults in all of them. Now I just focus on being Muslim and obeying Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him) without getting involved in sectarianism.
- Sectarianism is time consuming and a never ending debate. Seriously, how much of your life will you waste in the Facebook comments sections debating that one guy?
- Our purpose in life is to worship Allah, not refute every individual we disagree with. Pick your fights carefully. Not every disagreement has to turn into a fifty page PDF refutation.
- After a decade of studying, you realize there will always be things you don’t know and opinions you are unsure about. You realize that Fiqh issues are not worth fighting people over, except when its clear deviation. There will always be differences of opinion in Fiqh, so learn to live them.
- Good character and good manners are essential parts of our religion. Over the past decade, I met too many ‘practicing Muslims’ who have forgotten that.
- We need thick skins to practice and preach Islam. Islam is never going to be politically correct, as long as those politics are governed by Nafs (desires) and secularism. We must get used to being politically incorrect. Allah’s pleasure is worth far more than any person’s opinion of you.
- The path of Dawah is lonely and full of tests. You will make more enemies than friends, and will be misunderstand even when you speak clearly. It seems many people want to misunderstand you, and there isn’t anything you can do about it.
- Everything on this earth is a test. Often, the test of success, wealth, fame and popularity are harder than their opposites. Remain steadfast on the truth in every situation.
- In the end, we will all leave this world. What matters is not whether people liked us or not. It is Allah’s acceptance of our deeds that truly matters. So live your life focused on that.
I know. These points are a lot, and each require an article-long explanation. However, I’ll leave them as they are for you to ponder over. I end by asking Allah to grant us all productive lives that are pleasing to Him.