Seeking Purpose: How Tahajjud Has Impacted My Career
Asalaamu’alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu,
Find My Rizq have approached me to write a blog about my profession as a Newly Qualified Religious Education (RE) teacher to motivate and inspire fellow Muslim brothers and sisters. After some reflection, I decided I wanted to address the topic of ‘finding purpose in oneself’; this is central to my professional (alongside my religious/spiritual) development.
Now, how can YOU come to realise your purpose in life as a Muslim? I can write a list, but I fear that I won’t be able to do it justice in a single blog (I shall keep it for the next, In sha Allah- God willing). Instead, I will just focus on tahajjud, where it all began for me– it applies without saying that obligatory acts like Salah, our five daily prayers, and reciting the Qur’an precedes all other acts of worship. Tahajjud refers to extra night prayers, given the condition that you go to sleep and wake up anytime throughout the night, before fajr (morning prayer)- it is predominantly encouraged to be read in the final third of the night. This is when Allah S.W.T come down to the lowest of heavens to see which of His servant are awake seeking forgiveness. It is the best time to make dua (prayer of supplication); as described by the great theologian, jurist, and scholar Abu ‘Abdullah Muhammad b. Idris b. Al-‘Abbas Al–Shafi‘i, famously known as Imam Al–Shafi‘i:
‘The dua made at tahajjud is like an arrow which does not miss its target.’
This suggests that Allah S.W.T accept all duas made at this time of the day.
I pray tahajjud everyday (for the past almost 7 years now) and can testify to its advantages; despite the sinner that I am, He has truly been the Most Generous in His giving. Praying tahajjud has been transformative for me; it resulted in me becoming more patient and emotionally intelligent- qualities needed to become a teacher. When you consistently make this effort, you will find that you’re living your purpose; you overcome your desire to sleep in order to willingly engage in an intimate conversation with Allah S.W.T. Utilise this moment to consistently, make dua for His guidance to realise and to better understand your purpose in life as a Muslim and seek forgiveness alongside anything else you want to pray for.
You may find it difficult initially, but once you see the fruits of engaging in such act of worship, the difficulties will appear easier to handle overtime. Don’t feel the need to begin praying tahajjud everyday as religion is supposed to ease our lives; perhaps, aim to read it once every month and gradually increase. The key is consistency which our Beloved Creator loves. Surely, this doesn’t only apply to teachers/ aspiring teachers.
Finally, addressing the significance of realising one’s purpose requires an entire essay but In sha Allah, I will get the opportunity to elaborate on this in future blogs. Rather, consider the following. Being aware of my purpose as a Muslim enables me to go beyond my basic job role. For example, I often engage in meaningful conversations with pupils/ peers as means of encouraging mental wellbeing to please Allah S.W.T, who repeatedly encourage us to look after one another. Furthermore, realising my purpose allows me to remain positive regardless of the challenges that arise at work; I have hope that if I do my part, Allah S.W.T is never unjust.
As Hasan Al-Basri (7th-8th century Islamic thinker) once said:
‘Sell this life for the next and you win both of them. Sell the next life for this and you lose both of them.’
Realise your purpose and seek to live in accordance to it. You may falter on your path but continue to renew your intentions. May Allah S.W.T ease our journey from Him, to Him.