A few days back, a friend of mine who is a striving muslimah ma sha Allah and is always engaged rigorously in improving herself as one, seemed to be stressed about something. After a few discussions, she told me that she felt like she is still not good enough and is now tired of trying and is feeling burdened. I was shocked to hear this from her because she is the most optimistic soul I have ever met.
Young people who are enthusiastic about their religion often feel burdened because there are so many things around them which they have to avoid for the sake of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala. Some want to give up trying, while some are strong enough to endure. This is the point where one needs to stop and think – is giving up to try and better oneself worth it? Is it worth at the expense of making the Creator, the Most Loving, angry? Is it worth at the expense of Jannah where one will live forever?
Don’t burden yourself by forcing yourself for a lot of changes at the same time. Instead go for a growth which is gradual and constant. Islam is a balanced religion and Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala never asked for perfection. He just asked for constant improvement. Even the Quran was not revealed overnight. Instead it was verse by verse, so that the people are able to grasp it and are able to practice its teachings gradually and not all at once. For instance, at the time of jahiliyyah drinking wine was very common amongst the Arabs. So, when the Quran was revealed Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala did not made it directly haraam for the people, instead He first revealed the verses of its evilness then after sometime revealed the verse in which He commanded not to come to pray if you are drunk and then finally the verse of its prohibition was revealed. This step by step approach made it easy for the early converts at that time to follow Allah’s command.
It is known that Prophet Muhammad SallAllahu Alayhi WaSallam always resisted any tendency towards religious excessiveness. He always emphasized on choosing the easier way out unless it was prohibited. He once said to his close companion Abdullah ibn Amr:
“Have I heard right that you fast everyday and stand in prayer all night?”
“Yes, O Messenger of God.”
The prophet said:
“Do not do that. Fast, as well as, eat and drink. Stand in prayer, as well as, sleep. This is because your body has a right upon you, your eyes have a right upon you, your wife has a right upon you, and your guest has a right upon you.” (Al-Bukhari, 127)
Burdening yourself is what shaitan wants you to do. He’ll make you question yourself and will bring you to a point where you’ll start getting turned off by Islam. He’ll make you believe that this is just too difficult for you which is exactly opposite of what Islam actually is. Shaitan tries us to divert from Islam or its simplicity by setting up various traps for us. Islam came to make life easy for people and not difficult. It is a religion in which people will find ease and tranquillity. Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala says in Quran-
“Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship.” (2:185)
Although, this should not be misunderstood as casualness in religion. Easiness in religion should be done in a way in which Allah wants us to do it. So young people buck up for constant improvement and never give up on that. That is your path to success in the eyes of Allah Subhanahu wa ta’aala as consistency is what He Loves the Most.