Do it for the Sake of Allah
A Muslim keeps the ultimate purpose of life in his mind at all times- which is to attain the pleasure of Allah subhaanahu wa ta’aala. It is easy to complete tasks mindlessly. However, any action done with an intention to please Allah is much better for this world and the next. For instance, take a moment to think about how you can gain a bigger reward by starting the new school year by completing all the work assigned to you on time. Pair it up with concepts of ihsaan, and how Allah loves those who use their time wisely. And there you go, you have the perfection intention at hand!
To have an intention is to remember that we have a purpose. So how can we ensure of that?
Sr. Dalia Elamawy, one of the instructors at Al-Huda School conveyed that one of her students made a beautiful connection when she asked her “how do we ensure we live according to our purpose at all times?” She said “to remember the akhirah often.”
This means to excel at what we do, to uphold the best of akhlaq, to refrain from cheating or lying, to be respectful, and to maintain purity in our hearts to attain the pleasure of Allah on the Day of Judgement.
Also, you go to school to gain knowledge and become the bearers of it. Allah loves people who seek knowledge! The prophet (peace and blessings be upon him mentioned), "Whoever takes a path in search of knowledge, Allah will cause him to walk in one of the paths to Paradise. Indeed the angels will lower their wings in great pleasure with the one who seeks knowledge." (Sunan Abi Dawud)
Aim for Ikhlas and Ihsaan
Once Jibreel (peace be upon him) came to the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him), and asked, "What is Ihsan (perfection)?" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) replied, "To worship Allah as if you see Him, and if you cannot achieve this state of devotion then you must consider that He is looking at you." [Sahih Al-Bukhari]
Sincerity (ikhlas) and aiming for perfection (ihsan) is what distinguishes a Muslim from the others. There is a difference between passing the tests, and acing it. Of course, numbers do not act as a reflection of efforts. But, if one aims to ace the test, and puts in the effort to do it, there could be nothing sweeter; even if the final grade does not add up. But if a student intends to just get enough to get by, it naturally reflects on their behavior at school, and life in general.
But why should you do things with ihsaan?
When a responsibility is given to you, aim to do it with sincerity and in the best possible manner. It helps you push yourself, and unlocks your true potential. You never know how far you can go unless you push yourself. Whatever you are, be the best you can. Because at the end of the day, not everyone who has been given the same opportunities reaches the same destination. It all differs on how much work you put in, and what Allah has destined for you. Start this school year right with ikhlaas and ihsaan! Allah loves such people.
“Verily, Allah enjoins Justice, and Ihsan and giving help to kith and kin,…” [Qur’aan 16:90]
Keep it Humble
When you reach a point where you feel good about how your journey is going, make sure to check yourself. Don’t let success get in the way of getting better, or being humble. The more a Muslim succeeds, the more humility he/she exhibits. Always remember that whatever you have is given to you by Allah. Be grateful, and keep your heart soft.
Naturally, when you do well at school, other students would love to get an input from you. Many of your classmates might show an interest in learning with you, because peer-to-peer learning works the best for a number of students. When given such an opportunity, make use of it and share what you know! Nothing that is destined for you would reduce by sharing it with others, whether it be knowledge, or wealth. Stay humble, and be generous, and in that, you will find boundless barakah.
Jabir reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Verily, the most beloved and nearest to my gathering on the Day of Resurrection are those of you with the best character. Verily, the most reprehensible of you to me and the furthest from my gathering on the Day of Resurrection will be the pompous, the braggarts, and the pretentious.” They said, “O Messenger of Allah, we know the pompous and the braggarts, but who are the pretentious?” The Prophet said, “The arrogant.” [Sunan al-Tirmidhī]
Be Good to Your Teachers
Teachers play a crucial role in molding our character. They are some of the few people in this world who genuinely want you to do good, and they are truly happy for your success. At Al-Huda, you would find your teachers being the biggest cheerleaders. They want you to succeed in this dunya, and the hereafter. Even if you might not agree with some of their ways, be patient and try to understand why they do what they do. More often than not, you will find that they want the best for you.
As you start the new school year, intend to be grateful and respectful towards them. When they teach, listen with humility. Try establishing a relationship that goes beyond the walls of a classroom with them. School teachers were some of the biggest motivators for a number of successful people around the world.
Our Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was the greatest teacher of all time, and his companions were some of the most humble students. Today, we have access to all the knowledge from more than 1400 years ago due to those students. Moreover, the companions were such excellent students that they act as a role model even to this day. Flip through the pages of seerah, and try to incorporate a few lessons into your own life!
Aim to Hit the Deen-Dunya Balance
Al-Huda School offers an environment in which Muslim students can thrive. But each student has got a choice to make on how they use this environment. Once they are out of the school walls, they need to decide how they utilize their time. Sure, the academics won’t be easy and it would take a good amount of the day’s time. It is crucial to master time management as soon as you start the new school year.
Structure your day around the five prayers. Give a specific amount of time for homework. Spend the rest of your time on things that you love doing, and by helping around the house. Make sure you hit the bed early to preserve your health, and to be up on time for tahajjud/fajr the next day.
Allocate your time wisely between academics, deen, and rest!