Part 1 | Freedom: A Blessing or A Burden?
Upon entering University, it seems that almost every restriction and rule you followed for the past 12 years in school has been lifted. No set class times, no teachers telling you to stand in a single-file line, no call home when you miss a class… So, the question becomes what will we choose to do with this freedom? Will we take advantage of it or will we succumb to its temptations? This is where priority is key in what we choose to do. When time comes to deciding between watching that new episode on Netflix or studying for an exam, we have to be sure to make the best choice. In the end, this will leave us with more time to complete acts of ibadah. Procrastinating doing school work, leaves you scrambling at the very end. So much so, we forget our main priority: pleasing Allah SWT. We want to make decisions that ultimately benefit us. So, if staying up late doing school work causes you to miss fajr…Maybe we need to re-evaluate how we choose to utilize our time.
At the end of the day, we want to make sure we are holding ourselves accountable. The decision is up to us, making us the completely in charge of what we do and what we don’t do. We must ask ourselves, will this freedom be a burden or a blessing?
Here are a few tips that can help make sure you are using your time effectively to fulfill your life duties, while also fulfilling your role as a servant of Allah SWT.
1. Be organized
Use tools like calendars, planners or your phone to record everything that needs to be done. With so much going on, it’s easy to lose track of all the things that need to get done. Organization can be the basis of our success.
2. Stick to your schedule with consistency
Now that you’re organized with a set schedule, make sure to actually follow it. It’s easy to say or write down what you need to get done, it’s another thing to follow through with action. Remember, you are responsible. Give importance to your schedule and follow it consistently, not just when you feel best fit.
3. Think long-term
Before you do something, ask yourself that: will the ‘future me’ be appreciative of what I’ve done today? In other words, lessen the load by doing work in the present. This helps for those who procrastinate as it causes you to think long term. So, if you have an assignment do next week, start working on it today. It will only benefit you in the future.
4. Recall this Hadith
Ibn Abbas reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said,
“Take advantage of five before five: your youth before your old age, your health before your illness, your riches before your poverty, your free time before your work, and your life before your death” [Hakim].
This hadith is so applicable to the university life. We are young, healthy, alive and have the blessing of time. Recalling this hadith can serve as a reminder to take advantage of every moment, so that we can reach the ultimate level of success in the deen and dunya.
In general, we need to take advantage of our opportunities so that we can do things with the highest level of ikhlaas. The university life can be hard, especially as a Muslim, but we must remember where our priorities lie. It’s okay to take breaks once in a while, we are only human. However, it’s important to not get distracted. Remember your end goal as a student and more importantly, your end goal as a Muslim and inshaAllah the free time you have can serve as a blessing.