We all have stages through which we wish to proceed in the journey of change.
If I was to split up my journey into stages, I’d say I’m on the 2nd stage out of 3. This is not necessarily in terms of goals, but in terms of tarbiyah, behavior and lifestyle changes.
1st stage: Lost and trying to find my way; not knowing what to do and/or knowing the right thing but not doing it. (This part is now over by the Grace of Allah).
2nd stage: Knowing what path I am on, what I have accomplished, what I have yet to accomplish, what my strengths are, what are the things that keep pulling me back, and what my game-plan needs to be. InshaAllah, this year and onward, I want to be able to improve myself in all the ways that I know how to.
3rd stage: This is the one that will go on forever, because improvement is a life-long journey. It includes perfecting my akhlaq, always keeping tabs on myself, attempting to make progress without regressing and teaching others bi idhnihi ta’ala.
When I was in the 1st stage, which mostly consisted of my high school and early college years, I always asked Allah for help to guide me and to help me understand others’ points of view and to make my character better as a Muslim. I was kind of lost, kind of making it to guidance. I knew what I ought to be doing but had no idea how to get there. My mistakes served as quicksand and the vines that I used to lift me back up were often too weak.
The ayah that kept me going, along with a few others, was:
“And those who strive for Us – We will surely guide them to Our ways. And indeed, Allah is with the doers of good.” Al-‘Ankabut (29:69)
Now, I feel as if Allah has answered my du’as and I have consequently landed at stage two.
That’s why this quote hit me like an arrow: “After asking Allah to guide you to the straight path, don’t just stand there … start walking!” – Albaz Poetry
I feel like that’s exactly what I’m doing: standing in the middle of a train track whose destination is clear without having the daily consistency to move upon it successfully.
And I keep forgetting what a big ni’mah it is from Allah that everyone in my family is so supportive of me, that I know what my passion is, and that I am provided with all the resources to pursue it.
Whenever I see people who are lost in their career paths or are consumed by the stress of poverty or the depression that has resulted from a bad relationship, I am constantly reminded about how blessed I am.
Having all of these blessings and then declining to take advantage of them is a type of ungratefulness.
I hope that Allah gives me the ability to overcome my personal challenges so that I can actually start moving on the path of action.