Progress is your ultimate goal, not perfection
This was what I highlighted in my notes today from Ustaadh Nouman’s class. We covered ayaat 22-24. There were so many gems but I want to share this particular one, Ustaadh Nouman’s ل to which he had said,
“This ل , it’s so …awesome, ohh you’d just die!”
Except [when adding], “If Allah wills.” And remember your Lord when you forget [it] and say, “Perhaps my Lord will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.”
وقل عسى أن يهدين ربي لأقرب من هذا رشدا
This ل denotes final destination, and it’s an alternate for إلى . When you use the word هدى you would say something like “guiding TO something’. Here, in this phrase from the ayah, it is saying, “Say, perhaps my master will guide me to what is nearer than this to right conduct.” So here, instead of using the word إلى , Allah uses ل which is لام الغاية .
What that practically translate to in meaning, is that this ل gets used when you are guiding someone to their final destination. So in this ayat, it is saying “perhaps my master will guide me TO what is closer than this…” and this implies that ‘to get closer’ IS a final destination and not only a means to the final destination.
The phrase من هذا is pointing to the matter at hand, implying that we should worry about today, because tomorrow is tomorrow.
We have this human tendency to compare ourselves, our pre conceived definitions of success, with others, and in the process, harm ourselves. We like to compare our progress with another person’s progress when in actuality, each person progresses at his or her own unique pace. Allah recognizes this human tendency, for after all He is our creator.
So, in the journey of guidance, every step that gets us closer to it, is like the destination in itself. Each milestone we reach IS the final destination, or we should treat it like a final destination. That basically translates to “Celebrate your progress, no matter how little you think they are!”
This human tendency to compare our progress with others, well, Allah is removing that thought process in this journey to guidance. The truth that you got hold of today, do not undervalue it, don’t underestimate it. It’s self improvement in small baby steps that should be acknowledged and valued. In other words, enjoy the journey rather than worrying about only reaching the destination.
Ustaadh Nouman gave an analogy of a bunch of kids on a plane who are enjoying the flight immensely. They are the happiest bunch of kids enjoying the journey. Opposed to a bunch of kids on a plane, who keep asking every few minutes,
“Are we there yet?”
“How much longer is it going to be?”
This bunch of kids are miserable and not enjoying the journey at all.
In our individual journey towards guidance, we should value our progress. Treat them as something to be celebrated, treat them as your final destination.
If you are learning to recite the Quran, celebrate each milestone you’ve passed. Maybe it’s hard for you to even muster up the pronunciation of ع . But whatever little improvement you do get, celebrate that!
If you are memorizing Quran, celebrate each ayah, page, surah, you have memorized, rather than feeling like you’re racing against someone to finish memorizing by a certain time. Enjoy the journey. Relish it. It reminds me of a Hafidhah sister who told me that the suwaar that she took time to memorize, she felt like they stay with her longer, because she was able to interact more with them as opposed to those she rushed through to memorize (like the final sprint of the marathon).
Bayyinah Dream students : Enjoy each progress you are making. Enjoy and take it in as a blessing each day. Look where you are now and what you are able to do compared to the first day.
خذ ما طفّ لك
Focus on the task at hand. Don’t worry about how your grades or accomplishments are with regards to other people’s.
I have made it a mini goal to solidify my memorized portions of the Quran, and I knew that if I were to do this on my own, I’d never get past Al Baqarah. So I sought a review buddy and alhamdulilah, one haafidhah generously agreed to help me with review and so we review everyday on campus for about 15 minutes during break. I had left some surah for a long time, that it is really intimidating for me to recall them again. I psychologically avoided them. I’m so grateful Allah had led me to seek a means towards making sure I actually review these portions, and I am so grateful that Allah Al Qadeer made FD agree to help me with my Quran review, because, had this not been made possible by Allah, I would still probably be reviewing Juz 1 over and over again and stay away from all the other ajzaa.
When Ustaadh Nouman shared this gem with us today, I felt like I’ve just made this amazing connection in my brain neurons of the concept of celebrating each accomplishments. I feel, that all these years of me pursuing religious studies, especially with Quran, in understanding, in tajweed, in memorization, in reflection, what has help kept me going, was me being happy with how I’ve progressed. I know I still have a long way to go, but I’m happy with any new accomplishments I’ve made, even if they’re insignificant by someone else’s standards.
Years back, I merely heard of the 10 qiraah. I didn’t get it, wasn’t interested, and left it alone. Years later, I heard about it again, but by then, my knowledge base had increased somewhat, so I was able to understand what the 10 qiraah is a bit better. Then later on, my knowledge based had built up, and I am truly able to appreciate it. Now, for me, that was a huge jump. I relish it, like one would hug her favorite teddy bear out of sheer happiness.
I stress easily, so, after learning it the hard way, I decided that I need to figure out how to curb or keep the stress at bay. What I’ve developed for myself is not worry so much about how much more I need to master or know, but to be happy at any little progress that I made in anything and cherish that moment. In fact, it’s such a great motivator to keep going on.
So, this لام الغاية , it is truly awesome as Ustaadh Nouman says, and, yeah, ahhh, you could just die, it’s so awesome!!