I’ve recently been finding myself struggling in understanding my purpose. I’m currently in undergrad but I have plans to pursue a pHD among other life goals and dreams. However, I recently find myself questioning whether it’s right to focus so much on these goals and dreams when in the end they’re only temporary and everything I work for will die when I die. It’s something that’s been bothering me and I don’t know how to go about it. I know that we’re meant to strive in this dunya to be the best that we can, but at the same time, the idea that we work so hard to accomplish things that ultimately will mean nothing in the end has been leaving me with a feeling of discomfort? I know that we are meant to worship and be good Muslims while also striving to make a living and be successful in this world, but I just can’t help but feel a sense of hopelessness. I want to achieve so much, yet I sometimes feel that it’s contrary to what I should be doing. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m wondering how we are meant to work hard and live in this world without compromising the hereafter. Or how do we create a balance between the two without letting one over take the other. I find that I’m recently either pulled one way or the other and it’s causing me a bit of stress. So how did Allah intend for us to strive equally for both?

Some thoughts:

1- Islam recommends us to strive and work, but not to the point where overwork and over-stress ourselves. We must work reasonably. Some people become obsessed with their careers to the point where they literally worship their careers. We must see our careers as simply a means to earn a halal livelihood and help our society. Our career should never become the goal itself. If we do so, then we get distracted. Our career must help us prepare for the hereafter.

2- As for the passions you have, dedicate them to Allah.

If you like reading, then read content that’s beneficial, that increases your knowledge, that gives you wisdom, and make the intention that you will use your literary experience to guide others. If you like traveling, travel with the intention to see Allah’s greatness and glory by learning about different cultures and nations.

So the key here is to make sure that your career, your education and all your activities are purposeful: they bring you closer to Allah, they help you better yourself, they help you create a righteous family, they help you serve others and they help you prepare for the Akhira. If any part of them doesn’t pour into this objective, then avoid it as it is a worldly distraction.

May Allah bless you