A couple weeks ago, I was thinking how girly I’ve gotten lately. I mean, into clothes and shoes and hair and makeup. It was an interesting realization. There isn’t anything wrong with being a girl and liking girly things. It happens. What I noticed, though, was how my intention for future plans was changing.
Before, I had always separated personal plans from what I wanted to do career-wise. Now, I found the two merging. I was thinking, ‘When I graduate and begin working, I will buy myself these shoes. And this dress. And this car. InshaAllah.’ And so on.
We always begin with our intentions of education and careers as… almost pious. ‘I’m doing it fee sabilillah.’ ‘It’s not for the money. I want to help the world.’ ‘I want to excel for the sake of the Ummah.’ These are great. And should be our intentions. But it is so hard to maintain them. Because the dunya grabs you in a stranglehold before you can even take a breath to scream.
It is us young adults that companies market to pretty aggressively. They know we’re going to be eventually hitting independence with our own incomes (ha – hopefully) and will be able to theoretically afford the nice things in life. So they catch us early with pieces of things we can have now, to entice us with what we can have in the future.
Like I said yesterday, there is nothing wrong with having wealth. We have plenty of examples in our religion of those who had wealth and did right by it. There are plenty of examples in our society of people with wealth who are good people and give back to the community. It is very possible. It’s just not a walk in the park.
The scary thing for me is the intentions. Because if my intention has changed now, how will I know what it will be when I graduate? I don’t want my years of studying and, afterwards, working, to go to waste because of a faulty intention. We have all know of the hadith that actions are by intentions – yet how many times do we actually renew our intentions before, during, and after an action?
It is so easy to get sucked in by the dunya and the glamour of wealth in the dunya. But it does not mean we should shun the world and live in a cave. I think of this quote by Ali ibn Abi Talib, radhiaAllahu ‘anhu: ‘Zuhd is not that you should own nothing but that nothing should own you.’ We need to make sure we keep the dunya out of our hearts.
Ramadan is the month in which we look into our hearts and cleanse what does not need to be there. Just as we clean out our closets and clean out our Facebook friend lists, we need to clean out the love of anything that leads us away from Allah swt. At the end of the day, just because the shoe fits on your foot in the dunya, doesn’t mean it’ll fit into the right book of deeds in the akhirah. Make it worth it.