From total indulgence to complete withdrawal, is it possible to enjoy your life without compromising your position in the afterlife? Is it possible to enjoy here and the Hereafter?
It is true, sometimes we are too easy on ourselves, thinking lightly of our purpose and responsibilities on earth and brushing off our sins. And sometimes we are too hard on ourselves, beating ourselves up with excessive feelings of guilt, preventing us from feeling close to our Creator.
Allah the Almighty says:
Seeing that you were dead and He gave you life. Then He will give you death, then again will bring you to life (on the Day of Resurrection) and then unto Him you will return. (Quran, 2:28)
It’s crucial for us to navigate through this life in a way that grants us success in the Hereafter, because unlike many others on this planet, as believers we know this life is just a tiny part of the journey.
Here are four practical tips to help you balance your dunya (worldly life) and akhirah (afterlife).
Know Who You Are and Where You Stand
The word dunya often translated as this world, or the worldly life and comes from the root daal-noon-waw, which has two meanings: near, and lowly. The life you now live is also called al-hayaat ad-dunya, because it is the near, or the apparent and current existence you know, and also it is the lesser and superficial life compared to the eternal life of the Hereafter, the akhirah.
Belief in the Hereafter is one of the six ‘arkaan ul eman’, the pillars of faith, along with belief in Allah, His angels, His revealed books, His prophets and messengers, and the divine decree.
Allah the Almighty clearly instructed us:
Let not then this present life deceive you. (Quran, 35:5)
And the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said fearing for our faith:
By Allah, it is not poverty that I fear for you, but I fear that this world will be spread out in front of you as it was spread out in front of those before you, and then you will vie for it as they vied for it, and it will destroy you as it destroyed them. (Riyad as-Saliheen, Imam Nawawi)
However, enjoying the blessings of this life doesn’t have to mean you are being deceived; it’s all about dealing with your blessings the right way. Allah the Almighty even reminds us when seeking the home of the Hereafter, not to forget our enjoyment of this world!
But seek, with that (wealth) which Allah has bestowed on you, the home of the Hereafter, and forget not your portion of lawful enjoyment in this world; and do good as Allah has been good to you, and seek not mischief in the land… (Quran, 28:77)
4 Tips on How to Seek Balance Here and in the Hereafter
1- Be Happier in Five Minutes a Day: Shukr Exercise
Remember when you bought new clothes or finished that entire tub of ice cream and you’ve been happy ever since? It doesn’t work that way, does it? We buy things, achieve goals and indulge ourselves—but none of this gives us lasting happiness.
So, what does work?
The answer is gratitude.
O you who believe! Eat of the lawful things that We have provided you with, and be grateful to Allah, if it is indeed He Whom you worship. (Quran, 62:172)
Make shukr (gratitude) into a habit with this exercise: Each night after your last prayer, make a list of 5 things you’re grateful to Allah for. You could be grateful for your family, a sunny day, a great meal, your health, a chat you had, or a special moment.
The important thing is to come up with at least five things you’re grateful for, big or small, every day. Gratitude leads to becoming more optimistic and satisfied with your life overall, but you will also sleep better and feel less depressed, according to scientific research!
On the flip side, one reason of not finding balance in this world, is something called the ‘entitlement syndrome’; feeling we are rightfully entitled to the fulfilment of our wishes and desires, and to enjoy all that life can offer.
A practical tip is to introduce ‘deprive’ days; days on which you mindfully deprive yourself of having that biscuit, drink or even screen time. It’s a way of starting to teach your ‘nafs’ (ego) it can’t always have what it wants, and it leads to more gratitude!
2- Have Your Time Blessed
Going out for dinner or any, get together really? Make sure to say the supplication at the end of a sitting to make it a blessed time and as atonement for the gathering: “Glory is to You, O Allah, and praise is to You. I bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but You. I seek Your forgiveness and repent to You.”
The Prophet Muhammad did not sit in any gathering without saying it!
Talking to friends for hours? Recite Surah Al ‘Asr upon leaving each other, which is a sunnah.
Spending on new clothes? Follow it with giving an amount to charity and ask Allah to help you recite the supplication for wearing new clothes and to supplicate each time when you get dressed (find all these daily routine supplications here: www.makedua.com).
Go for barakah in your time while you are enjoying Allah’s blessings!
3- Learn How to Interact With Allah’s Book
The Quran will show you how to balance this life and the next, all you need to do is interact with it.
This is how you can reflect, or do tadabbur, on any verse or hadith.
Those are they who have bought the life of this world at the price of the Hereafter. (Quran, 2:86)
Imagine/feel: This world is truly not as important as I keep making it.
Evaluate: Have days gone by when I did not even think about the Hereafter once?
Ask: I will ask Allah to open my heart to remembrance of the Hereafter.
Plan: I am going to remind myself to think about the Hereafter at least once each day.
Propagate: Whenever I see one of my friends engrossed in excessive chatting, shopping, etc. I will remind them to think about the Hereafter by telling them about this verse. (Tips From the Understand Quran Academy course)
4. Set Short-Term Dua Goals
Make a list of six ultimate duasanduse them all day, every day! Chose three supplications for this life and three focused on your Hereafter. Be specific, for example don’t just say:
“O Allah, I ask your for Paradise”, but “O Allah, please give me a colorful, warm ocean to swim in, in the Highest Part of Paradise!”
For your dunya related supplications,take a moment one of these days to look into your heart and think what you would really, really want and set short-term dua goals for the next three months. You will see how quick Allah will answer them so you can set new goals, insha’Allah!
Now, pick one or two time(s) you will stick every day to making these duas, like in sujood, at the end of your prayer, immediately after wudu or before sleeping. Per supplication, select a Name(s) of Allah which relates to your dua’ and use it while you ask. Important is to visualize your supplication; how does it look? How does it feel? It will make your supplications stronger!
Also, sometimes we make dua because we know we ‘have to make them’, like the asking for Jannah and protection from the Fire. These are essential supplications, but also ask for things which are very personal to the person you are. Your dua can be for the simplest thing, this way you stay connected to your supplications. Nobody has to know what you ask for except Allah!
Don’t forget to daily use the Quranic supplication for balance:
Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil ‘akhirati hasanatan waqina ‘adhaban-nar. (Our Lord! Grant us good in this world and good in the hereafter, and save us from the chastisement of the fire). (Quran, 2:201)
Finally, you can and should enjoy this world, but don’t let it control you. Ibn Qayyim Al-Jawziyyah said:
This dunya (world) is like a shadow. If you try to catch it, you will never be able to do so. If you turn your back towards it, it has no choice but to follow you.
One main cause of our worries and stress is being disappointed by people, events, and our own expectations. Tell yourself this: “As long as I focus on the Hereafter, my worldly matters will be sorted insha’Allah!”
(From Discovering Islam archive)