وَوَجَدَكَ ضَالًّا فَهَدَىٰ
‘And He found you lost and guided [you].’
Qur’an | 93:7
Knowing what is the most effective and fulfilling path for you can be a huge challenge; especially when you are still working out what your strengths are, or when you confront big changes in life – for example, when you leave the security of full time education where your route was by and large determined for you, or when things do not go your way in the search for a spouse.
This can often lead to confusion and demotivation – even for those who seem to have their priorities in order. Uncertainty and lack of direction can affect anyone. Indeed it is a recurring issue, especially amongst young people, but not exclusively so.
The first thing to realise in such a situation is that you are not alone. Many people are facing similar circumstances (never believe what you see on social media!).
Secondly, to you what might seem like stagnation and lack of direction, may in fact be a vital period of growth and internal anchoring. You need this time to develop, don’t resent it.
Look at the example of the Prophets and saliheen (righteous). Many of the Prophets of Allah swt had a period of their lives when they went through a ‘wilderness’, a position of disfavour and struggle. And every single Prophet of God spent some part of their lives as shepherds. This meant being out on the hills, on the mountains, and in the deserts, day after day, with no-one but their flock and the wind to keep them company. A lonely job…
BUT it taught them patience, discipline, leadership and the value of solitude. In the wilderness they learnt of the power that Allah had put in nature, and the limited capacity of humans. They learnt to pay attention to non-human creation that people often overlooked. They learnt the merits of silence. And most importantly they learnt to depend solely on Allah.
- Prophet Musa (as) spent ten years tending to sheep before Allah commanded him to confront the Pharaoh.
- Maryam (as) spent years in isolation as a student before she was sent the miracle of baby Isa (as).
- The Prophet Muhammad (saw) spent months at a time retreating to Mount Hira before the Angel Jibreel (as) was sent to him with the weightiest mission of all… Indeed, we should not forget for whom the verse at the top of this article was revealed. Even the Prophet (saw) had to search.
- And it is worth recalling that Prophet Ibrahim (as) spent his entire life like this – people must have wondered what he was doing with his life! In the wilderness. But: he was always serving Allah, just as Allah had commanded him to.
For all of us, our goal is the same: it is to serve God. But your life experience will not be the same as anyone else; and experiencing periods of uncertainty in your life is not the same as stagnation. Do your best and have trust in the purpose of Allah; have trust in His guidance. Allah is preparing you and strengthening you.
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Source of inspiration for this article: The Sunday Circle Blog