What’s your goal? Sometimes God doesn’t give you the key until you have the right intention. I vividly remember those initial days of my Islam, I was contacting all of my teachers and having them write the most beautiful recommendation letters for me to enter the Islamic University of Madinah. It was my dream.
For reasons that I won’t share in this post, things didn’t work out. I was upset because I wasn’t studying the sacred sciences like I had originally planned. But the entire time I was home, I knew there was a reason why I had to stay put. There was a reason that God decided that path wasn’t for me.
That was until a few years ago when I finally decided to leave. I sold everything we owned, and within months of making the decision we were in Egypt. When I first decided to go abroad it was all about me becoming the next major Muslim speaker, and to be blunt, I have to say that this is the greatest temptation to the student of religion in this era, illusions of grandeur.
However, this time my intention was different. I was running away. I was running away because I finally realized that my previous intention was all wrong. That the Khutbahs I was giving and the approval I was receiving was all for the sake of people. That the monthly trips to raise funds was more about raising my name. But now, now I was terrified. I was terrified because what I saw were people around me losing their faith in God on one end, and people seeking fame on the other, both sides losing, no one gaining.
What I sought now was to protect myself from pervasive ideologies, movements, and my own ego. What I did was leave behind everything that had ever pulled me away from God, and to seclude myself where no one would know who I was. Where the Uber driver would know more Quran than myself, and where I would be humbled in every circle that I sat. Where I would search not to learn how to speak eloquently with pieces of information at my beck and call, but rather for how to control my ego, and so God made it easy.
He gave me what I needed, not what I wanted, and intention was the key.
Want more? Join my monthly newsletter The Round Table where I share more of my ideas and reflections during the month.
If you didn’t already know, I’m writing a book on my journey to Islam, Get access here!