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.
Why is it obligatory during wudū to specifically wash or wipe only four parts of the body – the face (including the mouth and nose), hands up to the elbows, head (including the ears), and feet?
Some scholars say that one possible reason (or wisdom) is that these are the parts of the body we sin with the most. So when we wash these parts of the body, we are purifying them from sins, which fall off with the water. The Prophet ﷺ said, “Whoever performs wudū perfectly, his sins will depart his body, even from under his nails.” (Muslim)
Keeping this in the back of one’s mind while performing wudū helps one to perform it perfectly, and perfect wudū prepares one to be in the right state of mind for Salāh.
Whatever the reason, these are the parts of the body we’ve been instructed in the Qur’ān to wash (Sūrah 5:6). But every command of Allāh contains great wisdom.
There are some good deeds that are practically impossible to conceal, for example, praying in jamā’ah, attending circles of knowledge, or doing da’wah. But there are still plenty of good deeds we CAN keep secret, such as giving charity, du’ā, qiyām, fasting, or avoiding harām when alone, etc.
These secret deeds, that only you and Allāh know about, are from the best of deeds. Such deeds help us to develop ikhlāṣ and build a strong relationship with our Lord. They also come in very handy during trials.
During difficult times, one can make tawassul (i.e. seek nearness to Allāh) through such deeds, by mentioning them while supplicating to Allāh. For example, one can say, “O my Lord, You know that on such-and-such day I did such-and-such for Your sake alone, so I ask…” This is one of the best ways of supplicating. There is a beautiful example of this reported in an authentic Hadīth (in al-Bukhārī and Muslim) concerning three men who were trapped in a cave.
Therefore, it’s important to have a lot of these kinds of deeds “in the bank”, and we should always be looking for opportunities to perform good deeds in secret.