Monday, 6 March 2017

A Balanced life

“When the actions of others no longer matter, then you will have succeeded within your own mind.”
Jo De Raman

The other day, I listened to  a dear friend of mine talked about having a balanced life. For me, the topic is so close to my heart as I used to constantly struggle to strike a balance between being a servant of God, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a working person and a friend.

There were times when I felt that I was stretched so thin that I was near breaking point. I felt I was pulled into so many directions that I was losing focus and getting overwhelmed. People's expectations of what and how I should be, proved too much for me to shoulder. It's not easy to strike a balance in ones life, unless you know how and what to prioritize.

One thing that I learnt over the years, is that 'balance' does not mean equal. 

The very first things that you need to ask yourself is 'who do you want to be?'. For me, at that time, more than anything, I wanted to be a good Muslim (still do). I felt that needed to make up for loss times during my ignorant days and that was one of the root of my problem. The thing is (now I know), it matters not how many acts of worships that one performs but it's the quality and sincerity of it that counts.

"Abu Huraira reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”
Hadith Ibn Majah 

In trying to do too much, I felt disgruntled and resentment whenever my family or anyone else for that matter,  demanded my time. I felt spending time with them was time away from God. I also felt that they were in the way of me achieving Jannah. I was so wrong! It's actually quite the opposite.

At times, I forgot that Islam is not about rituals but it's a way of life. That means, everything that we do or say is related to God. 'Obedience' is not confined to performing ritual acts of worship or scrambling to do good deeds. 'Obedience' also extent to keeping relations, safeguarding 'amanah' or trust and fulfilling one's responsibilities.

"And they say, "We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination."
Quran 2:285

Each one of us have different ways of life. Each one of us have different needs. I learnt that a balanced life is where you have achieved peace and tranquillity in your life. You learn to accept your limitations and flaws and focus on your capabilities and strength. You may not be able to divide your time equally between all but you have managed to earn His Blessings in everything that you. 

A balanced life is what works for you to achieve that equilibrium between body, mind and soul and not what others think how your life should be. A balanced life is about managing your own expectations and not the expectations of others. What works for you and what makes you happy may not work on others. 

I remember the Wise Owl once said that our entire life can be an 'ibadah' and a huge blessing where we get rewards and baraqa for every single thing that we do. The secret is to do everything sincerely and only for sake of Allah SWT. Once we have managed to condition ourselves to that then somehow, we would achieve the balanced life that we seek. To quote what my dear friend said,  it's progress that we should seek for and not perfection.

It is narrated on the authority of Amir al-Mu'minin (Leader of the Believers), Abu Hafs 'Umar bin al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him), who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), say:

"Actions are according to intentions, and everyone will get what was intended. Whoever migrates with an intention for Allah and His messenger, the migration will be for the sake of Allah and his Messenger. And whoever migrates for worldly gain or to marry a woman, then his migration will be for the sake of whatever he migrated for."

Hadith Bukhari & Muslim

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