Thirty-Six Lessons For Thirty Six Years

I turn 36 years old tomorrow. I took some time today to reflect on my blessings, vision for the future, and lessons I have learned over the past three decades. Here are thirty-six life lessons, I learned by age thirty-six.

  1. Life is a test, but it is also a blessing. Be in a state of gratitude for every blessing in your life.
  2. Focusing too much on the future makes you forget to enjoy the present. Aim high but enjoy the journey too.
  3. Gratitude and contentment are two of the most beautiful internal gifts that make life worth living.
  4. A righteous traditional spouse is one of the greatest gifts that Allah can bless a person with. I am grateful for my wife and my children, and the role they play in my beautiful life.
  5. Success takes time and effort. Work every day towards long-term goals and avoid any temptation to take shady shortcuts in life.
  6. Every gift is a responsibility. Your knowledge, intellect, influence, and skills are all gifts that must be used to benefit the ummah.
  7. Most tests in life are temporary and will sort themselves out over time. Be patience and focus on changing what is within your control to change.
  8. Knowledge really is power. A knowledge of consistent knowledge seeking can help you grow in ways you never imagined.
  9. Nobody regrets the time they spent doing good deeds, serving the community, and bonding with family. Make time for all of these.
  10. Spiritual struggles are part of life. If we could attain spiritual perfection easily, then life would not be a test. It is crucial to be aware of one’s own faults and work towards rectifying these faults gradually.
  11. “Wealth and children are the beauty of this world.” – with each passing year, it becomes clearer and clearer how these two blessings make life beautiful, but good deeds of lasting benefit should be our priority.
  12. When you live each day like it is your last, then you will have no regrets when you are older. The best way to avoid a midlife crisis is to live a beneficial youth.
  13. No matter what trials you are going through, always find a reason to be grateful. Gratitude fuels positive thinking, optimism, and hope.
  14. Build good habits at a young age, and they will power you from strength to strength.
  15. Humans are capable of so much more than we can imagine. We hold ourselves back from accomplishing amazing goals through negative self-talk and bad company.
  16. Sectarianism is a young man’s distraction. As you age, you care more about the broader ummah, and less about a specific sect.
  17. Halal income is crucial for a blessed life. Never give in to the temptation to earn haram, even if it feels easier and quicker.
  18. Success at any task takes time and effort. Go slow, stay focused, and be committed to the long run.
  19. Build sources of continuous reward. This should be a primary goal of every believer.
  20. It does not matter if you live a long life or a short life. Living a life of worship and service is the only way for the believer.
  21. Speak the truth. Your enemies have less power than you think. If Allah protects you, then nobody can harm you.
  22. Never stop learning. Be a student for life, and you will seem like a master to everyone else.
  23. Family is a treasure from Allah. Love them, cherish them, and enjoy every moment with them.
  24. Purification of the soul is necessary and an ongoing task for life. Never become complacent about purifying your soul.
  25. When you have a vision and work towards it, life feels so much more fulfilling and exciting.
  26. Your friend circle is crucial. Surround yourself only with righteous people who give you the best advice for both worlds.
  27. Reading is one of the best habits you can build. Always have a reading list and make time daily to read.
  28. Your children learn more from your manners and character, then from your words. Be their role model.
  29. There will always be people out there who hate you and criticize you. Life is too short to hate people, focus on people that benefit you and help you grow into your best self.
  30. Not all criticism is bad. Even if worded poorly, analyse all criticism for kernels of truth so you can continue improving yourself.
  31. Life is always changing. If you are focused on higher goals, a lot of these changes will be positive and beneficial. Embrace change with each stage of life.
  32. Take care of your emotional and physical health when you are young. You will benefit from this for life.
  33. Make time daily for the Quran. Recite it, reflect on it, and live by it.
  34. Peace is internal. Remember Allah and you will find inner peace, even during times of turmoil.
  35. Every year on this earth is a blessing. Be grateful for every day that Allah has blessed you with. Every day is an opportunity to earn more good deeds.
  36. Death is inevitable. Make peace with that and live for the Hereafter.

Posted by Ismail Kamdar

Ismail Kamdar is the Founder of Islamic Self Help, author of over a dozen books, research manager at Yaqeen Institute, and a freelance writer.