Goals help us aim higher in life, pushing us to do better, upping our achievement and maximizing our potential. Without goals, we get stuck in a rut and start sinking instead of swimming forward through life.
For Muslims, success is something we strive for not only in this world, but more importantly, in the life after death. A well known Dua (supplication) said after the five daily prayers is, "Our Lord! Give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter, and defend us from the torment of the Fire!" (Quran 2:201).
Here are three goals for this world and three related to the Hereafter for students that can push us to do better in the coming academic year:
1. Read the Quran for just five minutes every day
Five minutes of Quran reading daily gives us the steady dose of spirituality we need to gain knowledge, connect to Allah, and remember that there is more to life than tomorrow's midterm.
2. Learn a Quranic Arabic word a day
Each morning, look up one word that you may have come across in your readings, write it on a note card in Arabic as well as its meaning in English and share this information over breakfast or dinner with your spouse and/or children. This will help build understanding of the Quran over time.
3. Make Dua for one school-related issue daily
Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, said that Dua is the essence of worship. Unfortunately, too many of us turn to it only in times of great crises. In reality, it’s a tool to connect to Allah. Make Dua for one school-related issue daily, be it doing well on a test or for the school team to win a championship. The point is to revive the practice of Dua in our lives for all things, big and small.
4. Take responsibility for one household chore on a daily or weekly basis
It could be keeping the entryway of the home neat, doing seasonal yard work, or cooking dinner once a week. The point is to instill a sense of responsibility that is bound to spill over into the academic realm of life in a positive manner.
5. Move up one grade in a difficult subject
While it's enjoyable to see yourself score well in classes you excel at, attaining a good grade in a difficult class is far more satisfying. This school year, if you've always struggled with English or math or history, work a little harder than normal in these courses to push that B towards an A.
6. Learn skills to share the Muslim story
One reason for the consistent prejudice against Muslims is that we have not flooded the media with powerful storytelling. While that is slowly changing as more Muslim authors and artists gain ground, we need to learn the art of excellent communication. We need more interesting vlogs on YouTube, great fictional novels about various aspects of the Muslim experience, and incisive, written commentary on current affairs for blogs and other media. This year, learn the skills you need to share the Muslim story, whether that’s learning how to make great videos, taking a creative writing class, or writing or editing for your school newspaper to hone your skills.