“The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat.” My heart winced as I read this quote online. It’s because the truth hurts. We live in a world where we are all competing and rushing for more and more and it seems like we have lost the meaning of life. We are born, then go to school, then college, and then we go to work to make money chasing promotion after promotion. Then we get married, have kids, and “settle down”. Then one day, we die. Is that it? This can’t be what life is all about can it?
*Cue existential crisis daff beat*
But…we need the money! How else can we survive? We need to pay for everything, nothing is free you know! Yes, yes, we need money. We need to get a good education and go to work to provide for our families and take care of our needs and theirs. But is it worth spending our whole lives doing just that at the expense of everything else? Is that the only reason we have been put on this earth for?
I did not create the jinn and humankind except to worship Me.
We’ve all heard the ayah before. We’re here on this earth to worship the One who created us – Allaah. The truth is many of us feel very conflicted at times. On the one hand, we want to be the best Muslim we can be and draw closer to our Maker and on the other hand, there’s life. We have responsibilities and things we need to take care of. And when we do go ahead and engage in these wordly pursuits, we end up feeling guilty and we feel like we are wasting our lives! There was once a time when I had been conflicted too. Should I abandon everything and pray in my house since I was only created to worship? Should I stop studying and let go of all my talents and abilities? But then I discovered a secret. I had had it wrong all along. Yes, we were put on this earth to worship – to believe in Allaah, pray to Him, give charity, do Hajj, and fast in Ramadhan. And there’s a reason we were put on earth for that. We are supposed to use this earth for worship. We are meant to use life! How do we pay zakah and give charity if we didn’t even earn wealth to begin with? How are we supposed to go for Hajj without even having saved up for it? We have been commanded to take care of our parents and families, but how are we supposed to feed and clothe them without working for the money for it? We have to work and earn. Anyone who lives on this earth has to. That’s life.
But the secret is that there are some who go about doing all these “wordly” stuff and their Jannah is being built by it as we speak. Yup, that’s right. While they are toiling away at work, the angels are writing it off as a good deed. While they are up all night studying for an exam, they are gaining rewards for their hard work. But how?!
The secret is sincerity of intention. They are sincere in their intention to seek Allaah and please Him by all their actions. They are living their lives in a way that everything they do, they seek to worship Allaah by it. Unlike others, their work, studies, service to their families, use of talents and abilities are all being utilized as means to worship. They are seeking His reward for all they do. They know that Allaah has blessed them with unique and special talents, abilities, opportunities and skills and they are building their Jannah by using His gifts. They are using all those blessings to serve Him by serving His creation. They are purposeful in their intentions and have lofty, high aspirations that transcend the want for success and wealth only in this world. To them, money was never the end-goal, but it was the means to worship. They stay away from evil and everything He has forbidden and use the gifts He has given them in a way that pleases Him. They are wise, seeking the Eternal over the temporary. They think twice before doing something. Is this action something that Allaah loves and approves of? If yes, they go ahead and set the best intention for it. If not, they leave it. They have their priorities straight. They have a vision, and their eyes are set on the prize. They strive to make every minute count. They are doing “wordly” stuff, but nothing is going to waste with the Most Gracious and Appreciative.
You haven’t been put on this earth without purpose, so do life with purpose. You’ve been given a gift and the key to your success – the intentions of your deeds. It’s up to you which way you want to turn the lock.