Be Your Own Motivation

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By: Faryal Gul  Aga Khan Higher Secondary School, Karachi

One thing that, first of all, we all need to accept is that we are humans and not machines! The basic difference among humans and machines is that the machines are emotionless. They do not feel anything; they don’t express anything and so, their activities don’t depend on moods. It is just that you provide them fuel and that is all they rely on. And this is why humans are so concerned about inventing things that can work endlessly without even complaining since this is something humans don’t want to do.
But there are some things that are supposed to be done by humans only. Machines can’t copy all the stuff that you have revolving around your mind and go sit in the exam instead of you. I mean, it isn’t that this isn’t possible. It is possible, but no school or university would allow such an examination. But why if the machine would only write down what you knew and nothing additional? Because machines can’t possibly act as human would have in the examination hall. I know this is something controversial since this might happen in the future, but at least for now, it isn’t practical. Similarly, when it comes to praying, paying zakat, reciting Quran and standing against what isn’t halal, we are human. We can’t be perfect all the times. We can’t be feeling-less. We can’t suppress our desire for enjoying the comforts of this world all the times, can we? We just can’t! What then? But we have to! We are supposed to. Because if Jannah is the goal, let the jannati walk alone.
I don’t really mean it when I say that we can’t do all what we are supposed to. Allah says in the Quran (2:286): ‘’Allah does not burden any human being with more than he can bear. Everyone will enjoy the credit of his deeds and suffer the debits of his evil-doings.’’ (2:286). So if He has chosen this for you and I, then this surely is possible. In another verse of Quran Allah سبحانہ وتعالی says: ‘’and [remember, O Muhammad], when those who disbelieved plotted against you to restrain you or kill you or evict you [from Makkah]. But they plan, and Allah plans. And Allah is the best of planners.’’ (8:30).
I don’t know if others have felt it or not, but I can see people, including me, being selective with deen. We all have set our limits in which we are to follow deen. You will see many girls praying, but not observing pardah and gossiping all the times. They have chosen to be Muslims only as far as salah is concerned. Similarly, there are boys who don’t like having a long beard. There are others who can’t give up on music, movies etc. Allah says in the Quran, ‘’It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.’’ (33:36) Another thing that should be noted is that if you keep doing a good part and continue with the evil part as well, you achieve nothing. You can’t be Karachiite and Lahorian at the same time; you can’t travel in a train and an  aeroplane at the same time; you can’t maintain darkness and illumination in the same room; you can’t keep evil and good in one heart!
We say that Islam isn’t just a religion; it is a way of life. Then why do we not observe ‘everything’ ordered by it? Quran tells us that the BEST of planners it Allah, yet we make choices? Yes, we do. And I have a logical answer for that. This is because we can’t keep going in one tone all the time; we can’t be so focused about one thing so much. This is my personal experience that the day I attend college, I feel more concerned about my studies. It is because I talk to others who are in the same race and I meet teachers that remind me that exams are coming. But how does it contribute to intensity of my concern? By keeping me motivated! And now for religion. We live in an era where almost no one talks to me about my aakhira daily. No one reminds me of my evil deeds. No one tells me to observe pardah. No one is concerned about my prayers, but everyone is concerned about my grades! I’m only taught Islamiyat to improve grades. Sigh!
This is all psychological; we need something more than 3 times meal to keep us moving. We need something to remind us about our Aakhira so that we can stop being selective about deen. We need to create such an environment in our homes that when your children sit with children who discuss music, they have the strength and moral courage to tell them that it is wrong. And just for the sake of participating in a discussion, they spend hours listening to music i.e. disobeying Allah. Now how can this motivation be brought about? The first step towards changing the world is to change our own very selves. We need to keep ourselves motivated just by either reciting the Quran with translation and realizing the rewards in the hereafter or by listening to some scholar (mufti) or whatever is convenient. Just don’t get de-motivated ever. Note that this is how life is supposed to be, just keep going and know that He’s with you. That is all I wanted to explain.