There are a lot of people who feel that they have underachieved and wasted so many years of their lives – from those who have spent many years in prison, to those who are free but never got to fulfil most (or any) of their aspirations. This has contributed to feelings of unhappiness or even depression.
As Muslims, however, our aspirations should be based on our purpose in life, which is to worship Allah. But worship (‘ibādah) doesn’t just mean to pray and fast. Worship comprises all good deeds that are pleasing to Allah.
So if we’ve been spending every day trying to draw closer to Allah, increase our knowledge of the Deen, and do as many good deeds as we can for the sake of our Lord, then we haven’t wasted a single day.
If in a month’s time, for example, we can look back and see that we’ve given up something harām, reformed our character, memorised a new du’a or Sūrah, read a book, learnt some new rulings, improved the quality of our worship, or we feel stronger in our īmān, then we’ve achieved so much, by the grace of Allah.
The only one who is wasting their life is the one who hasn’t yet found Allah and does not live to worship Him, even if they are fulfilling their wordly ambitions and are supposedly living the “good life”.
If we are striving every day to fulfil our purpose in life, we are living successful lives, and every day is an opportunity to excel and achieve more.