It is a wonderful time for many reasons, but most importantly it represents the onset of maturity, as Allāh mentions in the Qur’ān:
Until, when he reaches maturity and reaches [the age of] forty years, he says, “My Lord, enable me to be grateful for Your favour which You have bestowed upon me and upon my parents, and to work righteousness of which You will approve and make righteous for me my offspring. Indeed, I have repented to You, and indeed, I am of the Muslims.”
The milestone of turning forty has brought with it the confidence to hold my own views and opinions with conviction. Reaching this stage has made me reflect, reassess, and refocus on life commitments. With it has come a feeling of a renewed sense of purpose for pursuits that will leave behind a legacy, in shā Allāh.
With that in mind, I want to share some advice I would have appreciated receiving in my twenties.
Have a vision for yourself so that you can move forward in life’s journey with a purpose and a focus. If you are a student, consider your options carefully and think about the impact of your career choices on family life. If you are married, think about the type of family you want to raise.
In the story of Imam Bukhāri and his mother, we find an amazing example of a woman with a vision and focus. When Imam Bukhāri became blind, his mother did not lose hope and aspiration for him. Rather, she became focused in her vision for her son. She exhausted all avenues available to her, including du’ā, until Allāh returned his eyesight. She was truly an inspiration – a single mother faced with an immense trial but who did not lose sight of her great vision.
For any big decision you make, be sure to consult with others first.
وَالَّذِينَ اسْتَجَابُوا لِرَبِّهِمْ وَأَقَامُوا الصَّلَاةَ وَأَمْرُهُمْ شُورَىٰ بَيْنَهُمْ وَمِمَّا رَزَقْنَاهُمْ يُنفِقُونَ
Those who have responded to their Lord and established prayer and whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves, and from what We have provided them they spend.
- Istikhāra – consulting with Allāh by praying to Him and asking Him for guidance.
- Istishāra – seeking advice from people who are experts or experienced in a matter of concern, so that you will not have regrets later.
A single decision can make a huge impact on your life. For example, choosing who to marry can define your lifestyle in a significant way and will greatly influence your character and religion.
Respect and serve your parents as much as you can. Show them love and kindness, as this will open the door to goodness in many ways that you cannot even imagine. It is enough to know that Allāh will be pleased when you seek to make your parents happy.
Abdullah b. ‘Amr reported:
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said, “The pleasure of the Lord is in the pleasure of the parents, and the displeasure of the Lord is in the displeasure of the parents.”
Be engaged in active learning, as this will help you develop and maintain a good connection with Allāh. It will also provide you with the added benefits of stimulating your brain cells, resulting in good mental wellbeing. Knowledge is a powerful light by which you navigate your journey to the right destination.
Abu Hurairah narrated:
The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “Whoever takes a path to obtain knowledge, Allāh makes the path to Paradise easy for him.”
Spend time with your close family members, as this will foster love and care. Take time out to invest in building relationships that strengthen the ties of kinship. Family connection brings joy in times of happiness, as well as a support network in times of need.
Life will become more meaningful when you connect with your loved ones, so treasure your family events. You will cherish these moments when there may be times you are unable to see them regularly.
Ibn ‘Umar said, “Whoever has taqwa of his Lord and maintains ties of kinship, his term of life will be prolonged, his wealth will be abundant, and his family will love him.”
Remember, you cannot choose your family, but you certainly can choose your friends, so be selective. People change as they mature – so will you and so will your friends. Be sure to always surround yourself with good companions that will positively influence you even in your mature years.
Abu Hurairah narrated:
The Prophet (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said: “A man follows the religion of his friend, so, each one should consider with whom he makes his friend.”
When some people think of self-care, they envisage spas and weekend retreats, limiting this concept to their physical bodies. But you must also take good care of yourself holistically and do so without any guilt. Pay attention to your spiritual, mental, and emotional needs. Self-care is not a luxury, but a necessity; it is a right you owe to yourself. A person can only be in a better place to take care of others if they are in good shape themselves. Remember, you cannot serve from an empty cup!
Abdullah b. ‘Amr reported:
The Messenger of Allāh (sall Allāhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) said to me, “I have been informed that you stand for prayer the whole of night and fast during the day.” I said, “I do that,” whereupon he said, “If you do that you have indeed heavily strained your eyes and made yourself weak. There is a right of your eyes (upon you), and a right of yourself (upon you), and a right of your family (upon you). Stand for prayer and sleep. Observe fasts and break (them).”
Plan and organise your time effectively so that you can be productive in handling different tasks. A diary is a fantastic tool for planning and managing commitments in the best possible way, helping you to prioritise the many demands on your time efficiently.
The habits you form today will stay with you in later years. They will either build you or break you – remember, you become what you repeatedly do. This is a great opportunity to get into good healthy practices. An example of a good routine is doing the daily morning and evening adhkār.
Ibn al-Qayyim said: “The morning and evening adhkār play the role of a shield; the thicker it is, the more its owner is protected. Its strength can reach to such an extent that the arrow that is shot at it will bounce back to affect the one who shot it.”
Just like you feed your body, you must also feed your soul. Recitation of the Qur’ān is essential for good spiritual nourishment. Build a close relationship with this Book so that you can have it as a companion that will advise you sincerely in times of need. It will be your travel guide for life, without which you will be lost on this journey back to Allāh.
إِنَّ هَـٰذَا الْقُرْآنَ يَهْدِي لِلَّتِي هِيَ أَقْوَمُ وَيُبَشِّرُ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ الَّذِينَ يَعْمَلُونَ الصَّالِحَاتِ أَنَّ لَهُمْ أَجْرًا كَبِيرًا
Indeed, this Qur’ān guides to that which is most suitable and gives good tidings to the believers who do righteous deeds that they will have a great reward.
To conclude, remember that this life is temporary, so it is vital to invest your time and efforts wisely. The time you have here is limited, so use all that you have to your advantage to build a successful life in both this world and the next. Most importantly, take the opportunity to sow the seeds that will bear fruits to reap on the day of harvest.
 Al-Qur’ān 45:15
 Al-Qur’ān 42:38
 Sunan Al-Tirmidhī 1899
 Jāmi` Al-Tirmidhi 2646
 Hasan (Al-Albāni) – Al-Adab Al-Mufrad 59
 Hasan (Al-Albāni) – Sunan Abi Dāwūd 4833
 Sahīh Muslim 1159
 Al-Qur’ān 17:9
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