Wa alaikum ussalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakaatuh.
Thank you for sending in your question to our website, sister.
You are fortunate that Allah is guiding you towards the right path at such a young age, and filling your heart with a yearning to not just gain knowledge of the Deen of Islam, but to also act upon it.
This desire is based upon true faith, and is a natural result of a believer’s sincere efforts to uphold and adhere to the obligations of Islam, such as prayer and Qur’an recitation.
So rejoice, my sister, on being inclined towards the right path! This is truly a blessing of Allah upon you.
Keeping in mind your age, culture, and current situation (i.e. you are an aspiring pre-medical college student), I would like to suggest the following steps as a long-term strategy for you to undertake in order to gain further knowledge of Islam, as well as act upon it.
Study And Reflect on Quran
1. Begin your journey to start understanding the Qur’an, by joining a weekly Qur’an class for girls.
By asking around and searching online, you will be able to come across such a weekly class in your vicinity or city, insha’Allah.
2. Start to read the translation of the portion of the Qur’an that you recite, every day.
After reading it, reflect upon the meanings, and try to associate each Arabic word of the text to its meaning.
For this purpose, you should also invest in an authentic Arabic dictionary, known as Qamoos, and use it to aid your daily reflections.
Never forget to commence these private sessions of Qur’an study with dua to Allah, especially this one found at the end of a verse in the Qur’an.
Try to reflect like this upon the Qur’an every day, preferably when all is quiet, such as after Fajr prayer.
Read, Read, Read
3. Read authentic Islamic books, especially those that are freely available online, and if you have time for it, join an online Qur’an course.
There are several programs being offered online, which allow a student to understand the Qur’an exegesis (tafsir) at their own pace, in their free time.
For Pakistani ladies, girls and women, the best online courses that I can suggest, are found here. They allow students to eventually understand most of the Arabic of the Qur’an directly.
4. I suggest that you try to seek out the company of other righteous sisters, who will be able to mentor and guide you towards higher ranks of faith & righteous actions.
The first step in this regard is to make tremendous dua to Allah to grant you righteous company.
It is only He that creates the means for us to be able to meet and spend time with righteous people.
Once you start college in the future, you should be careful about what kind of girlfriends you hang out with and become close to on campus.
This is because the effect of bad company is substantial, especially during undergrad student life.
Avoid What Allah Hates
5. Last but not least, sister, I want to remind you that gaining higher ranks of Islamic knowledge and practice does not just involve doing good deeds, but also necessitates staying away from all that Allah has forbidden.
This includes the prohibited (haram) as well as disliked (makrooh) matters.
So find out through your studies of Islam what Allah has forbidden, and then stay away from those maters as much as possible.
Observing Pardah or Hijab
As with anything that involves a lifestyle change, start observing “pardah” in small steps, and focus on going slow and steady as far as it is concerned, lest your parents become upset and start to forbid you.
You can start by taking your clothing styles to more modest levels, and tapering off the degree and frankness of your interactions with non-mahrams (in-person as well as digital).
Slowly and gradually, increase your hijab in both areas i.e. in clothing and in the frankness of interaction with non-mahrams, while you pursue the strategy outlined in the 5 steps above.
Over time, your life will undergo a complete turnaround, insha’Allah.
Try to bear any challenges and trials of faith that come your way during this journey of gaining closeness to Allah, with patience and forbearance, for the sake of Allah.
Allah knows best. I hope that this answers your questions, sister.
Salam. Please stay in touch.