Two more years. Two more years of devouring painful loads of mostly-useless knowledge, of draining my precious time following a deeply-flawed system and trying to please teachers for grades that would never really matter. Two more years of high school.
Two years may not sound like much to many people, but from where I stand, it is like a long – freakishly long – tunnel that seems almost endless. But whatever is on the other side seems too damn attractive right now. The other side has things I’ve been yearning for too long, things I crave like a diabetic craving for sugar despite knowing about its cons. The other side, has life.
“Just two more years, and then you’ll be able to do all that you dream of doing,” says the delusional optimist in me, hoping that the end of school will bring with it opportunities to use my time the way I want to; opportunities to do something for Allah’s Deen, to learn all I want from the depths of Islam and share that with others, to become the dynamic Muslim that I long to become. It gives me distant hopes saying, “All this pressure of studies will be over one day and then you can learn Arabic, you can memorize as many Juz of the Quran as you want to. You can even teach people, but all that’s for later. Come on now, you have a test next week!” It is funny that I think that way, because the rationalist in me knows quite well that two years later, it might only get worse. There will be college. Then work. Then additional people in my life. Then maybe even more people – until my moments become too clogged up to keep track of; until I find myself saying, “I wish I was back in high school.”
What if it is just a trick by Shaitan – making me be in the delusion that life hasn’t really started yet – to stop me from turning all my aspirations to reality? Because, from what I see around me, I can tell that when I’ve reached the supposed end of the tunnel, I’ll probably be squished from all sides by an overdose of the ‘life’ that I wasted these precious years waiting for. Yes, that does sound like Shaitan in action. And how can I let him win?
So what about turning the picture around – broadening my scope of optimism and putting it this way: These two long years might be the biggest opportunity I’ll ever get. The hundreds of hours of free time I’ll have during this time might actually be more than all the free time I’ll ever have later in my life combined. And if I AM going to do something (something for Islam is what I mean), isn’t now the best time to start?
So what I’m just a teenager? In the view of Islam, you’re an adult the moment you hit puberty. Having considered that, I’ve already wasted too much of my adulthood. And then of course, I could die any day. I could die even before school is over. Just because my country has an average life expectancy of 67.8 years, that does not guarantee ME six decades of life. In fact, no one can guarantee me even twenty years of life! Dying a plain ol’ Muslim who didn’t even try to do something for the Deen, despite having the knowledge and ability, is the worst thing that can happen to a believer. On Judgment day, I can’t put up excuses like “Umm yeah I had the resources, the knowledge, the health and the energy to do something for Islam, but I was only in High school!”
I was in high school! I was the same age when many Sahabah had fought through battles – like real, actual battles! If I even start researching about the Sahabah who braced Islam at an early age and all the awesome things they accomplished even before they had grown up, I would feel like the most useless piece of flesh on earth.
Maybe I won’t be able to build Masjids or found Islamic institutions now. Maybe I won’t be able to arrange big Halaqats or create Arabic learning platforms all by myself now. But there sure are things I can do – and the first thing that comes to mind is learning more. Learning the Quran; its language, its intricacies, all the miracles it bears, all the magic it hides. Learning about the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم, his awe-striking life, actions and ahadeeth. Learning about the Sahabah. And so much more. And of course there are other things to do, all I have to do is to start looking out.
Two years. Two long, unrestrained years. How can I just waste this huge blessing of Allah? The fact is, I can’t. Do I know what exactly to do? Nope. Do I have close friends who share these same aspirations? I wish. But problems are there to be dealt with. So I’ll keep praying to Allah that He makes me of the Saliheen – the righteous – and gives me the ability to use my youth. Because, your youth wasted is your life wasted.