When Imam Nawawi was young, he used to be pursued by the children of his town as they continually asked him to join them in their games.
They used to sneer, jeer, and try every conceivable method to get him to join, but he used to break away from them crying while saying,
“Allah did not create me to play” 1
This was Imam An-Nawawi’s outlook on life from a very young age. Yes, in our times, we would consider it to be bizarre and unusual if a kid would rather stay in and do his studies instead of going out to recess, but this was one of the distinguishing characteristics of Imam An-Nawawi, and continues to be one for anybody who wishes to be amongst the people given the characteristic:
“A youth who grew up in the worship of Allah, the Mighty and Majestic”
It is widely known that this is the description of one of the seven people who will receive the shade of the Throne on the Day of Judgment, but an interesting point to note that many people do not realize (including myself before reading this elsewhere), is that among the characteristics for the ones that will be shaded, any of them can be attained at any point in one’s life except for the characteristic of a youth that grew up in the worship of Allah from childhood.
This characteristic is so special that it is limited in time.
A Deadline in Life
A point that I thought to be extremely powerful was when Shaykh Muhammad AlShareef said in this promo video:
“Delusions comes up where a person thinks that things are urgent. But in reality, there is no urgency.”
Why study for your test? Life will move on, regardless of how you do. Why care about when you get to school or work? You’ll still live anyhow. It’s only when we realize and get in the mindset that there is a deadline in life do we actually get up and do something.
I once asked a friend, “If I tell you that you will get a free cruise trip for a full year, complete with five-star furnishings and provisions, for just acting good today, would you do it?” He started exclaiming “Yeah, definitely…” and really got in it. I then asked him, “If I tell you that you can enter Jannah forever just by trying your best to worship Allah in this life, would you do it?”
I would like you to answer this question honestly. Do you want to increase your odds of getting into Jannah, or would you rather stick to this short Dunya? SubhanAllah, our Lord is promising Paradise for eternity! If we wish to move forward and to gain the Pleasure of Allah, we must approach our life, especially as youth, from the same perspective of the young Imam An-Nawawi as he cried at the world around him to realize that we were put on this world for worship…
May Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) bless our time, help us to become productive, and to help us further His Deen. Ameen…