University is a time of many new beginnings and changes for students. For some it’s their first time away from home which is a great adjustment. With a newfound level of independence at university comes many responsibilities. No longer is your mum there to remind you to go to pray, or to wake you up for Fajr. You are now a young adult expected to be able to do all those things with regards to your faith on your own accord. University can be tough at first and sometimes feels very overwhelming, but below I’ve listed a few things you can do to ensure you continue to grow and strengthen your imaan while at University.
We have all heard of the saying, “You are the company you keep.” Well this is very true. My first tip for you if you want to rebuild your faith and continue to grow your imaan would be to join your University’s Islamic Society (ISOC). Through this, you will meet other young Muslim’s like yourself and can get involved in some really great opportunities, such as volunteering and fundraising for charity. We all need a safe space away from home, so why not allow ISOC to be just that for you. You do not have to limit yourself to just ISOC in order to be surrounded by like-minded people, but if ISOC isn’t for you, why not join a cultural society? I joined my University’s Afro-Caribbean Society and not only was I surrounded by other young Black Brits like myself, but I also got to meet some other Black Muslims. This was particularly lovely as we were able to connect not just on a religious but also cultural level and we all understood what it was like being a black, Muslim female in today’s society and the Ummah.
When my friends and I found ourselves struggling to wake up on time for Fajr, we decided to join forces and would call one another in the early hours of the morning to make sure we had each woken up. This didn’t just stop with Fajr; when prayer time came, and we were in the library, we would go and pray together, making sure we were all keeping to the 5 daily prayers and praying them on time. I had a friend having difficulty repaying her fasts missed during Ramadan, so we decided to repay our fasts together and we would go back to mine and cook Iftar together to have something to look forward to. Buddying up with someone else can help you build a mutual support system with which to undergo some of the daily practices of Islam.
Set yourself a goal
While at university, most likely you’ll set yourself multiple goals: typically graduate with a 2.1 and a Graduate job in your chosen field. Well why not add a goal related to your faith. No one is expecting you to do your degree and become a Hafiz at the same time, but just something small that you can fit into your everyday life can help reconnect with your faith and strengthen your Imaan. Start small with reading a page of Quran, practicing tajweed as you go along, after one of the five daily prayers. Or maybe set yourself the target of memorising a certain number of Surahs by the end of the second semester. Even setting the goal of participating in certain activities such as fundraising and volunteering can help strengthen your faith. In Islam we are constantly encouraged to do good and help those less fortunate, so get involved.
Put some faith in an app
I’m not saying an app will completely change the way you practice, but I’ve found having a one-stop platform with all the basics I need to practice and engage with my religion daily has greatly improved the daily actions I take with regards to my faith. I would highly recommend the app Muslim Pro. You can set alerts for each of the five prayers (there’s something about having the Adhan wake me up at Fajr that puts me at ease), there’s a digital Tasbih installed so you can be carrying out dhikr and there’s also plenty of Duas for different circumstances that can be found in the app. In addition to all this, you have the entire Quran installed with Arabic, English and transliteration versions, as well as the option to have an Ayah of the day pop up, allowing you to explore surahs and teachings you may have not reached just yet. I found this app really useful during Ramadan, listening to the Quran during my daily commute.
Sometimes University can be overwhelming and it can feel tricky trying to balance everything – your studies, social life, extracurriculars etc. However, it is important to keep your imaan strong in challenging times and I hope that these tips can help anyone struggling and make things a little easier.