Living in a busy city of Manila surrounded by universities, dormitories, condominiums, where most college students live, I see hundreds of students from the moment I go out from my room. Sometimes, I am one of them rushing early in the morning to reach the university for an 8 o clock class. Different uniforms, courses, universities, personalities, nationalites, but we have one thing in common which is the fact that we study to chase success.
Some of us may be studying the course they want, a career they really dreamt of but some aren’t. Some of us may be equipped with dreams with a purpose which is to contribute positive impact to this world, or to be of great help to improve the lives of others by following the career path they desire while some of us are equipped with dreams with a goal which is simply to be rich and richer. There are many of us, students, scattered around this area but we have different dreams for different reasons with different ways of achieving those.
I was encouraged at a young age to dream high and I was taught that everything is possible and reachable. I was encouraged to dream of the highest sky. People told me to chase this, chase that, be like this and be like that until I got confused about which route is for me. I was fed by commands and orders. I was pressured which made me give up dreaming by myself for my own to dream of what people want me to have and be. I was introduced to the false definition of success which is success is money and money is success. I even witnessed how people live by this belief for I’ve seen how rich people are taken cared of and how poor people are ignored. Money can buy special treatment and because human beings want to feel being important, valued, special, they dream of having more and more money as their way to get such treatment. Yes, money is something but it’s not everything.
Although money can’t define success as a whole, people consider money as a basis of success. They dream of a specific career to earn more money which make them fail to truly determine a career that will nourish their hearts and souls, a career that will make them closer to their true success and not away from it. Money has become the main goal, main purpose and main destination. Sometimes making money as the main goal results to haraam careers, haraam earnings, or earnings that are earned out from working while neglecting the responsibilites as a Muslim. Chasing success this way is earning dunya and jahannam at the same time.
I believe that there is no sin in earning for success in this dunya, such as family, financial freedom, healthy body, happiness, and ofcourse spiritual satisfaction. The real success in this dunya is living rightly without neglecting Islam and achieving the dreams with intention which is for the sake of Allah (SWT). We all have roles in this world and it’s part of our responsibilities to perform our roles well without neglecting our responsibilities as a Muslim. When our intention is clear and for the sake of Allah (SWT), even accomplishing our goals in this dunya becomes a form of worship.
I started to learn how to dream, without letting people interfere on how I would want to dream and how I would want to chase my dreams but I admit sometimes I’m still being carried away by those outside pressures but I’m trying hard not to. As a youth myself, I admit that I also have ambitions in life. I got dreams I want to turn into reality, goals I want to achieve, places I want to visit, and things I want to experience. Perhaps, it’s part of being young, to be equipped with too many dreams. And, I don’t deny the fact that I am a dreamer, too, despite knowing that this life on earth is temporary. I want to make this short stay worthwhile by doing the right things and being able to touch people’s heart through my little things. However, I believe that chasing the success in Jannah is what will make me attain my dreams in this dunya.
Working for success in this dunya is not a sin if our intention is to attain the success in the hereafter. Dunya is indeed a trap if we use it wrongly but it is a ticket to Jannah if we use it rightly. If we prioritize dunya neglecting the hereafter, it will be a waste of effort.
Dream and turn it to reality. Don’t be selfish. Dream with the intention which is to be a good influence to other people or to contribute to the improvement of this world. And always be reminded that although everyone of us has different definition of success, the real and lasting success is that in the hereafter.