Short Answer: In life we always have to make choices and arrange priorities. Some things are more important than others.
Salam Dear Brother,
Thank you for your question and for contacting Ask About Islam.
Your question is one facing many Muslims in the coming days, but I don’t think it should be a reason for despair!
I have a very simple question to ask you, which might help in putting your own dilemma into context.
If your mother was seriously ill in the hospital with a life threatening illness, would you choose to stay by her side or to go and watch television?
I imagine that your answer would be to stay with your mother.
This simple illustration helps us to see that in life we always have to make choices and arrange priorities.
Some things are more important than others.
Your Top Priority
At your present stage in life you are a student.
Your exams will affect your future. So studying for those exams must be a key priority for you at the moment and you need to devote all your energy for doing well in your exams.
After all, there are many people in this world who would love to have such an opportunity to study and to make a change in their lives.
There are many who would dearly love to get out of the trap of poverty and provide for their families by having a good education.
We must never take for granted what a blessing it is to have the talents and the ability to study.
Your exams, then, come first!
Don’t worry, though, it doesn’t mean that you are going to miss your special program on TV; but more of that to come in a moment.
Ramadan Taraweeh Prayers
You also mentioned Ramadan and the desire to pray Taraweeh prayers in the mosque, especially the one at Tahajjud.
Of course, as Muslims it is not an obligation upon us that we pray Taraweeh prayers, but we do it out of love for Allah.
In the blessed month of Ramadan, we try as best we can, through our prayers, fasting, and acts of charity, to come closer to Allah and to please Him.
Taraweeh prayers in Ramadan, then, are an important part in the life of every Muslim.
So what are you to do?
You are going to study hard for your exams and you are going to pray Taraweeh prayers in the mosque – and miss all the TV programs?
No, you can still study hard, pray Taraweeh, and still find time later after your exams to watch your favorite programs.
Here is how:
If you had asked this question twenty years ago it would have been a different story.
Nowadays, though, we have so many technological gadgets to help us in doing more than one thing at the same time.
Maybe you have access to video recorders or playback on your TV. If you don’t, you may know others who do.
In answering the question you pose, you need to be very creative in finding a way out of your problem.
After your exams, can you not gather together with some of your friends and watch a re-play of that special TV program you missed while your exams were on?
Remember also that most TV programs will be replayed after Ramadan if you didn’t get a chance to record them.
More Creative Ideas
And how about something really creative?
Some mosques even have rooms or halls attached to them.
Could you not ask the mosque authorities to let you use one of those rooms to study?
This way, you can pray together with your brothers in the mosque both the Taraweeh prayers after Isha and the Tahajjud after midnight.
Football is a good thing. Our beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) always encouraged us to be involved in sports and to take care of our health by living a healthy lifestyle.
It is not a matter of study and prayer OR watching football.
It is simply a matter of prioritizing and putting what is most important first.
As a student, you have a duty to study hard.
As a Muslim you want to do something extra in Ramadan to show your love for Allah.
As Laylatul Qadr is approaching, then, you can show your friends just how Muslims behave by studying hard, praying hard, and enjoying the football or some decent and interesting TV program.
Good luck on your exams. Have a wonderful and rewarding Ramadan. And may the best team win!
I hope this addresses your concern.
Salam and please keep in touch.
(From Ask About Islam archives)
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