This weekend was quite the experience, to say the least.

Over the last month and a half or so, since around the beginning of Ramadan, I’ve been making a lot of dua (supplication) for pretty much everything important to me, including the things I’m hoping to accomplish with my life and Aakhirah, and making dua for those I love, from here in Vancouver, to Texas, all the way to Madinah. Alhamdulillah (Praise be to Allah), I began to notice a lot of these supplications being answered, as I would see people that were struggling with some major steps and phases in their lives overcome these difficulties and find peace. In fact, just the other day, a dua that I had not even said out loud, but was merely a whisper from my heart to my soul, was accepted, Alhamdulillah! It was an incredible feeling!

Then, these last few days, I began to really plummet with my own faith, and began to stress out. I began to worry about things that I never worried about before because I had recognized that I could only do my best towards them and then leave them to Allah. All this time, I believed that “my best” meant to merely make dua and keep up with the basic essentials of Islamic obligations, such as Salah (prayer), Dua, and maintaining a decent level of good character.

Boy, was I wrong.

You know how sometimes, no matter how much you know something and its value, you don’t recognize it until you have somewhat of an epiphany and are completely taken aback with it? Yeah, that was me and my deen this weekend.

On Saturday, I was practically knocked out, metaphorically speaking. And, alhamdulillah for that. I realized that I wasn’t really applying everything I knew I could in regards to my Deen (religion). I realized that my Imaan (faith) had been very weak recently, which was making me stress over trivial things. So, I took the rest of the weekend, whenever I had some time away from family or work obligations, to reflect and really think about what I’ve been doing, and how I can do more, so that Allah would grant me what I’m seeking, would answer my dua, and would enter me into Jannah with ease one day, insha Allah (God-willing). I recognized some lifestyle changes I could/should make, and started to apply them, and alhamdulillah, it’s been going well so far. My taqwa (roughly translated as a deep and complete awareness of Allah) was weak, and that needed to change. I remembered how my close friend and cousin would often tell me, “If you’re not willing to do whatever it takes to make a change or to get what you want, then you really don’t want that thing or that change as much as you say you do. So, evaluate your sincerity, strengthen it, and then bolt towards taking the steps needed to get what you want.” (That was paraphrased to reflect the lesson I learned from it.) Then, I remembered this verse, and it all came together:

And whoever fears Allah – He will make for him a way out. And will provide for him from where he does not expect. And whoever relies upon Allah – then He is sufficient for him. Indeed, Allah will accomplish His purpose. Allah has already set for everything a (decreed) extent. – Quran (65: 2-3)

That changed everything for me. I realized that if I wanted the marriage, the career success, the academic success, and the health and fitness condition, that I’ve been seeking, I’d have to work harder. But much more importantly, if I wanted any of those things, alongside even the slightest chance at an entrance into Heaven, I’d have to push myself towards being a better Muslim. We take for granted the ONE CHANCE Allah has given us to do right by Him and to prove to Him that we deserve Jannah (Paradise/Heaven). We act as if we have an eternity to earn that key into Jannah, when in truth, none of us know if we’ll even last for another minute, let alone another 20-30 years. When opportunities come our way, when we feel inspired, or if we have a chance to change our lives, we should jump at those opportunities. We should take the leap (as discussed in a previous post – Find Your SELF!) and trust in Allah, on the condition that our intentions are sincere. He will show us the way. I can say that with confidence not only because of the truth of Islam, but I can say that because I just experienced it, Alhamdulillah, as you can see.

Many of us fear the future because we have no concrete control over it, and we fear pain, hurt, difficulty, and struggle. But, we should recognize that the future is in the care of the Almighty, Most Compassionate, and Loving, Allah. He gives us opportunities for a reason: to bless us and to test our faith in Him. Opportunities lie in both good and not-so-great times. If you go through a struggle, be thankful to Allah, because He is testing you with an opportunity to prove to Him that you have faith in Him and rely on Him. If you go through an experience of success, be thankful to Allah because He is testing you with an opportunity to prove to Him that you have faith in Him and rely on Him. Both situations result in similar tests. Think about that.

Ultimately, my lesson was that success and the answers to our prayers will ONLY come when we submit completely to Him, and when we put our acts of worship above everything else. EVERYTHING we do in life is an act of worship if done with the right intentions, and as long as it’s halal (permissible).

Reevaluate your lives, my friends. Run them through the filter of Islam. Build a love for Jannah and a hatred towards Jahannam (Hell). And ask yourselves: “Am I doing enough to get into Jannah?”