Let's Talk Personal Development

The Muslim Student’s Guide To Success

This blog post was written in my final year of university but unfortunately, it didn’t see the light of day before I graduated. I wrote this as a reminder to myself at the time and I hope it brings benefit to everyone that reads it In sha Allah.  

Below is what I consider to be The Muslim’s Student’s Guide to Success.

1. Intention

I recently read a book titled ‘The True Secret’ by Amira Ayad and in it, she mentions that the source of success for Muslims is through our intentions. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him), in a Hadith informs us that the reward for every action is determined by our intentions.

If you haven’t asked yourself yet, reflect on why you are studying.

It might be because you want to make your parents proud, or because you love learning and you want a great job. These are all secondary intentions that you can place under the primary intention of wanting to please Allah. Whatever your intentions are, make sure that they are all directed back to Him.

Tip: A great practice before you start studying is to write down your intentions and say Bismillah. This prevents you from engaging with your studies mindlessly.

2. Dua

Dua is a tool that we as Muslims do not utilise enough. Take a moment to reflect on some of the profound miracles in the Qur’an and the beautiful duas that accompany them. Prophet Zakariya made sincere dua to Allah for a child after coming across Maryam eating rare food provided by Allah. Prophet Yunus was delivered from the belly of a whale because of his dua.

The youths of the cave in Surah Kahf prayed to Allah and look at how Allah SWT took care of their affairs.

Whenever you are studying, ask Allah for His barakah in your time and increased knowledge. Allah is Al-Mujeeb the responder to prayer and he loves for us to call on Him. Don’t wait until the day of your exam to start making dua, get started now. Take every opportunity to knock on Allah’s door.

Top tips:

There are lots of duas on the internet relating to studies. Write one on a post stick note and stick it on your laptop. That way you’re bound to say them a few times a day. One of my favourites is: Allahumma la sahla illa ma ja’altahu sahla, wa ‘anta taj-alul hazna idha shi’ta sahla
Meaning: “O Allah! There is nothing easy except what You make easy, and You make the difficult easy if it be Your Will.”

Whilst you can make dua at any point during the day, making dua in sujood comes with immense benefits and blessings. The Prophet PBUH mentions that “The nearest a slave can be to his Lord (Allāh) is while they are prostrating, so increase in supplication.” (Ṣaḥīḥ Muslim) Strive to memorise some duas in Arabic so that you can say them in your sujood.

3. Gratitude

“And [remember] when your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surely increase you [in favor];” (Ibrahim 14:7)

When things are difficult it’s easy to resort to complaining. In fact, it’s what Shaitan wants us to do. But in challenging times, the best thing to do is to remain grateful. The gift of being able to think, write and read is something that we can never fully thank Allah for. So many people around the world are denied the opportunity to learn and study, and so it is important that we appreciate this incredible opportunity that we are blessed with.

Being grateful does not mean that we deny our hardships, rather it requires that we acknowledge that within every hardship there are blessings within – we just fail to see them.

When things get tough with your studies, see it as an opportunity to grow. One of the blessings of some of the setbacks that I’ve had at uni is that I’ve come out of those experiences with developed resilience and patience.

Top tips:

Pay attention to your inner dialogue and work on removing limiting self-beliefs. Constantly telling yourself that something is impossible for you to learn only confounds your problem.

Have a gratitude journal – write down three things that you are grateful for every day. This can either be in the morning, during the day or in the evening.

Practice meditation – place your hand on your chest, close your eyes, feel each breath as you breathe in and out and say Alhamdulillah.

4. Work Smart and Tie Your Camel

There is no alternative to working hard and smart. For Allah to multiply your efforts, you must put in the work. Try not to procrastinate and leave things till the last minute. Use resources like a Pomodoro app to help you concentrate and find out what works for you in terms of learning and retaining information. Doing a test to find out what kind of learner you are is a good start. Use tools like flashcards, mind maps, study groups, audio recordings to your advantage. Experiment and see what sticks.  Grit is an extremely important skill for students. Getting great grades isn’t just about being naturally smart, it’s about the ability to come back every day to something that is difficult, that you potentially want to give up on and giving it another go.

“as much as talent counts, effort counts twice.” – Angela Duckworth, Grit

 5. Have Tawakkul in Allah

Even when we put our best foot forward, it is important that we trust and rely on Allah SWT. Rely on Allah more than you rely on yourself.

Self-reliance is a trap and often, it leads us to equate our success solely to our own efforts. On the other hand, when failure happens we hold it to heart and refuse to let go.

Failing a degree is minimal in comparison with the failure associated with missing our Salah. Don’t let the worries of the world affect your iman. Trust in Allah that whatever the outcome of your degree is, whether it’s a 1st, a 2.1, 2.2 or otherwise, that your rizq and provision lies in His Hands because is Al-Razzaq and Al-Wakeel, the one upon whom we can entrust all our affairs.

Umar (May Allah Be Pleased With Him) said, “I heard the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, say, ‘If you were to rely on Allah as He should be relied on, He would provide for you as He provides for the birds. They go out early in the morning hungry and return in the evening full.’” – Narrated by at-Tirmidhi

‘And He will provide him from [sources] he could never imagine. And whoever puts their trust in Allāh, then He will suffice him.’ (65:3)

I hope these tips are beneficial for you on your educational journey. I’m hoping to share future posts on managing mental health whilst at university In sha Allah. May Allah bless our efforts and makes our actions in this world, a means of drawing closer to Him, Ameen.

Join the conversation below by sharing your top tips for studying and achieving success.

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