A Meaningful Life – Is it Really an Option?

1 meaningful life“A time will come when your life will flash in front of you. Make sure it is worth watching.” For a man, this might happen thrice. Once, when he is ripening in age and occasionally going down the memory lane. Secondly, when he is on the death bed, and his entire past reels before his eyes. Lastly, it will be on the day of standing, when he will account for his worldly life before his Lord (swt). Fifty thousand years of standing and waiting will turn a child into an old man.

How many of us even think about this amidst the frenzy of undertaken tasks or, conversely, when having nothing to do? Quite amusingly, we find people ranging from those for whom twenty-four hours are not enough, as they are madly dashing from one finished business to the next unfinished one, to those who have ample time at hand to waste and still the day is not done. Both categories have one trait in common. They will stand before Allah (swt) and account for every second they spent.

It all begins with the need to lead a meaningful life. What is it? A meaningful life is a life with purpose. Suleman Ahmer of “Timelenders” explains that it has the following four elements:

  1. Vision
  2. Time management
  3. Leadership
  4. Additional required competencies

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Important or Urgent – The Forked Road

2 important or urgentShould I finish my report first or take care of my emails at the office? Should I attend to my sick mother-in-law or go to my child’s parent-teacher meeting? Is it more urgent to do the laundry or to cook the lunch? Life tosses at us choices to be made round the clock, and we find ourselves continuously deciding what to do. Some of us prioritize in terms of value, while others arrange items to do in terms of time. Nevertheless, all of us would benefit from learning what we need to do first, what we need to do next, and what we do not need to do at all.

It is helpful to understand that most of our daily prioritization springs to action from our discretionary mental routines (DMRs). We develop our DMRs over a lifetime, depending upon our education and experiences. Hence, our choices are automatic, unless we consciously reflect before coming to a decision. For instance, you may know three people who either live with you or work with you. One day you notice that all three make the same mistake, and you decide to help them out by offering sincere advice.

You approach ‘A’ and correct him gently. He not only listens to you carefully but also seriously assesses his mistake, and eventually thanks you for helping him grow. Next, you offer the same piece of advice to ‘B’. He immediately becomes defensive, and starts explaining himself, without listening to you. At the end, he thanks you ceremoniously, and you feel highly uncomfortable following this incident. Lastly, you talk to ‘C’, who blows up in your face. He reacts bitterly to your counsel, and you regret bringing it to his attention to begin with.

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But Why Arrive on Time?

3 why arrive on timeSome people do not give any importance to arriving on time. And we are not referring only to Pakistani weddings (we will address that later)! It applies to any event, be it a business meeting, an appointment, a casual get-together, or a formal dinner. It is a principle for such individuals to walk in late, regardless of the inconvenience caused to their host, friend, or business associate. They disregard it with the flick of a fly.

Such individuals offer three common arguments to defend their practice:

  1. What will happen if I arrive early or on time, and everyone else is late? What will I do with my spare time? I will be wasting it anyway! So I cautiously delay my arrival to save my own time.
  2. What is the big deal if I was detained and have arrived late? It’s not the end of the world. Everyone is alive and kicking. Why does everybody have to make such a hue and cry about being punctual all the time?
  3. I am worthy of being waited for. Of course, all dignitaries and luminaries never make timely arrivals to grace any occasion. If the best showman will arrive on time, perform and then leave, how will concerts last until the wee hours of the morning?

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Planning Ahead to Save Time

4 planning ahead to save timeAyesha was running late. She had set her alarm for 7:00 am, and actually gotten up without pressing the snooze button even once. She had estimated that she needed around half an hour for breakfast and for getting ready, and would be at the convention centre (half an hour’s drive away) by 8:00 am sharp, where she was volunteering at a seminar that day.

However, things did not go as she had planned. She hadn’t ironed her Abaya the night before. She still had a few things to put in her bag. And making and eating breakfast took longer than she had imagined. When she finally set out of the house, it was 7:45 am. Traffic signals, a bottleneck at one intersection, and a flat tyre on the way delayed her further. When she finally reached her destination, it was almost 8:45 am.

One can say that Ayesha planned ahead of time but still managed to get her timings wrong. How?

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Love Allah and Allah will Love You

ALLAHIn one of my favourite verses of the Quran, Allah (swt) the Almighty, commands: “And indeed We have created man, and We know what his ownself whispers to him. And We are nearer to him than his jugular vein (by Our Knowledge).” (Qaf 50:16)
This verse of the Quran says it all. Allah (swt) is the Most Merciful. He loves His creations more than a mother’s love multiplied by seventy. It is only us who have to feel His presence in each and every aspect of our lives.
We are bound to thank Him for His blessings upon us. Even single second we breathe is itself a reward from our Lord. We have to seek Allah’s (swt) help in every matter and as a reward Allah (swt) will make us comfortable in our matters. If we try to make ourselves closer to Allah (swt), He will definitely and undoubtedly come towards us. I realized these impacts on my lifestyle.

1. More Meaningful Life

Once you set your priorities according to Allah’s (swt) commands, you will eventually feel that Allah (swt) does everything for a reason. You find that your efforts are fruitful and worthwhile. For example, if you are a student and you are focused to achieve good grades; if you are running a household, you know that it is not just for the sake of doing it – it is an obligation upon you and you will be rewarded for all your efforts and sincerity. It seems to you, as if everything you have been doing is worthwhile.

2. Time Management

You have a number of duties and responsibilities. Thus, once you schedule them, you can easily complete your tasks and get away from chaotic situations. You master the art of managing time with all your tasks accomplished. You try to keep away from all the worldly and, of course, useless activities, because you realize that this time is an Amanah from the Almighty. Managing time gives you worldly rewards as well as rewards in the hereafter. So you have a win-win situation!

3. Reward for Your Actions

You always get rewarded for whatever good you do. Allah (swt) rewards for all your good deeds. One exemplary deal from Allah (swt) is that even if we think to do something good and somehow we are not able to do it, we get a reward for it! Subhan’Allah! And when we perform it, we get double the reward. So whatever tasks you perform, do them with zeal and fervour and Allah (swt) will grant you success in both the worlds. Insha’Allah.

4. Relief from Worries, Distress and Troubles

If you are facing a stressful situation, Allah (swt) gives you the courage to handle it. You get stronger for that situation and are able to tackle it wisely. Moreover, Allah (swt) says that He is happy with the person who raises his hands in front of Him. He is always ready to bestow His mercy upon us.

5. Submission to Allah’s (swt) Will

When you submit to Allah’s (swt) will, you eventually find everything in Allah’s (swt) hands. You will feel that whatever is happening in your life, wherever the road is going, is absolutely Allah’s (swt) will. You have that feeling deep inside that it is all predestined by Allah (swt).

Allah (swt) is in favour of the believers, because He loves you and you love Him, too!