“And He found you lost and guided [you].” (Ad-Duhaa: 7)
Allah has given each individual different characteristics, skills and experiences, and the way you choose to utilise them to serve Allah will not be the same as someone else.
Knowing what is the most effective and fulfilling path for you can be a huge challenge; especially when you are still working out what your strengths are, or when you confront big changes in life – for example, when you leave the security of full-time education where your route was by and large determined for you, or when you are on the job market.
This can often lead to confusion and demotivation – even for those who seem to have their studies on track, seem to be on a clear career path, or for those who have a young family and from the outside seem to have obvious priorities. Uncertainty and lack of direction can affect anyone. Indeed it is a recurring issue, especially amongst young people, but not exclusively so.
The first thing to realise in such a situation is that you are not alone. Many people are facing similar circumstances (never believe what you see on social media!). The second thing to know is that what to you might seem like stagnation and lack of direction, may in fact be a vital period of growth and internal anchoring. You need this time to develop, don’t resent it.
Look at the example of the prophets and saliheen (righteous). Many of the prophets of Allah had a period of their lives when they went through a ‘wilderness’. And every single prophet of Allah spent some part of their lives as shepherds. This meant being out on the hills, on the mountains and in the deserts, day after day, with no-one but their flock and the wind to keep them company.
A lonely job.
But it taught them patience, discipline, leadership and the value of solitude. In the wilderness they learnt of the power that Allah had put in nature, and the limited capacity of humans. They learnt to pay attention to non-human creation that people often overlooked. They learnt the merits of silence. And most importantly they learnt to depend solely on Allah.
Musa (as) spent ten years tending to sheep before Allah commanded him to confront the Pharaoh.
Maryam (as) spent years in isolation as a student before she was sent the miracle of baby Jesus (as).
The Prophet (saw) spent months at a time retreating to Cave Hira before the Angel Jibril was sent to him with the weightiest mission of all…indeed, we should not forget for whom the verse at the top of this article was revealed. Even the Prophet (saw) had to search.
And it’s worth recalling that Ibrahim (as) spent his entire life like this – people must have wondered what he was doing with his life! In the wilderness. But: always serving Allah, just as Allah had commanded him to.
For all of us, our goal is the same: it is to serve God. But your life experience will not be the same as anyone else’s; and experiencing periods of uncertainty in your life is not the same as stagnation. Do your best and have trust in the purpose of Allah; have trust in His guidance.
Allah is preparing you and strengthening you.
The Sunday Circle is a safe space for young Muslim women of all backgrounds to learn and discuss matters of life and faith. They’re also an opportunity to make new friends, to gain valuable skills, to help the community and to socialise in a comfortable environment. We meet, come rain or shine, on Sunday mornings at 11.10am – 1pm at Kingston Mosque.