As a student, I often find myself sitting in a lecture, surrounded by hundreds of other students. All are eager, all relentless to attain the top marks, secure the best internship, and land the best job. The competition is fierce; everyone’s future uncertain. Our modern life puts immense pressures on our minds. It propels the dogma that our self-worth is related solely to our careers. Our value is based on how occupied we are, how ‘busy’ we appear, and how many ‘things’ we can accumulate.
In this atmosphere of materialism, the perpetual worry of the future can blind us to our present. It can cloud our vision and prevent us from recognising that our purpose is beyond just having a successful career; indeed, it is much greater. The human brain is estimated to have approximately 86 billion neurons. Each neuron itself forms thousands of connections. Our society has us chasing paltry Facebook and LinkedIn connections, while the Real Connection those billions of neurons were intended to make, receive no attention – a connection with your Creator.
Whether you are just starting in University or are well into your career, these pressures will remain. Especially in the beginning, it will be extremely tough to find your footing and build an identity that often goes against the tide of society. There is only one drill that can strengthen your grip and prevent you from being swept by the wave of worldliness. Such solace lies only with God, and now is perhaps the best time to develop that bond which can weather all the storms of your life.
Allah says: ‘Pray unto Me; I will answer your prayer’(40:61) and then again He says, ‘And when My servants ask thee about Me, say: ‘I am near. I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me. So they should hearken to Me…’ (2:187).
God is limitless. There is nothing beyond His scope. Our personal worries and challenges are completely insignificant in the grand scheme of the world, nay the Universe. Yet, it is always amazing that when you feel that there is no way out of difficulty, no path of refuge, God finds a way for those who seek His help.
For example, once a very dear friend of mine was taking his exam for admission into Law School (the LSAT). He had wanted to become a lawyer since a very early age. He had extensive extracurricular interests and hobbies, worked extremely hard to get the top grades, and had completed all the steps to make him a competitive applicant. Only one exam remained, a grueling one nonetheless. He diligently studied for months but when he received his results, he was devastated. He had done quite badly, and he knew he could never get into any law school with that score. Worries and anxieties began to mount. While all his peers finished university and went off to their careers or other schools, he was left behind. Hopeless and defeated, he felt his dream withering away.
‘The words of God can never fail‘
Yet he resolved, and began to pray very earnestly to God. He even began to keep optional fasts and offered long prayers seeking God’s help. He told me that he then saw a dream that had given him peace of mind. In the dream, he was at an airport where his flight was being called. He was running towards the gate but could sense the flight was going to leave without him. Eventually, he heard over the airport intercom that the plane had departed without him. Shortly thereafter, the voice on the intercom said that although he had missed this flight, he would surely catch the second one which was about to depart. Then he awoke from his dream.
The dream truly came to fulfillment as my friend re-took his LSAT, did exceedingly well, received admission into Law School, and became a lawyer.
God says, ‘And (Allah) will provide for him from where he expects not. And he who puts his trust in Allah — He is sufficient for him. Verily, Allah will accomplish His purpose. For everything has Allah appointed a measure.’ (65:4)
So, as we embark into our lives and build our careers, why not also build that connection with the Almighty One. If we build our trust in Him, and safeguard our identity, we too can be the recipients of His blessings and protection. The words of God can never fail. There is no ambiguity or uncertainty, but only deep conviction in, ‘Allah will accomplish His purpose’ (65:4). So, while our peers may rely solely on their intellect and their hard work, we should use this impressionable time of our youth to utilise those billions of neurons to make a connection with The Ultimate Creator. If we become God’s, then God will become ours. If we place that trust with God, we can feel confident that our efforts will never go to waste. With hard work, conviction, and prayers, there is nothing we cannot achieve.
On this matter, the Promised Messiah (as), Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wrote:
“It is true that most of the prayers of those who are accepted of God are accepted. Indeed, their great miracle is the acceptance of their prayers. When their hearts are sorely distressed at a time of misfortune and in their distress, they turn to God; at that time their hand becomes, as it were, the Hand of God. God is a hidden treasure. Through His perfect favourites He displays His countenance. No one loves his son so much as God loves those who become wholly His. He displays His wonders for them and manifests such power on their behalf as if a sleeping tiger wakes up. God is hidden and these are the people who make Him manifest. He is behind a thousand veils and these are the people who display His countenance.”
[Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 22, pp. 20-21, The Essence of Islam Vol. 2, pg. 216]
By Sinwan Basharat
Follow the author on twitter: @SinwanB