Answered by Ustadha Shazia Ahmad
I spend most of my time serving my parents and siblings, either by cooking, helping my mom with house chores, helping my dad in his business, looking after my siblings, serving guests, and doing other things. I find the time I spend with Allah to be too little because sometimes when I sit wanting to benefit from YouTube or Islamic websites, I am called upon.
This thing is causing me grief. I can’t find balance with the 8-8-8 sleep, worship, and work system. I feel sad that my death is getting nearer, having prepared less for my akhirah. I do wake at night, but I don’t accomplish much. Please advise.
Thank you for your question. May Allah reward you for your continuous service to your family, which is worship in and of itself. Times will change, tables will turn, and doing your best now is good enough.
My teacher taught me that every kind of deed could be dhikr (remembrance of Allah). One’s job/work is dhikr; one’s studying is dhikr; one’s sleep is dhikr, and serving others is dhikr. Anything done for Allah’s sake is an act of remembrance and a good deed. So, if you truly understand this, you will not feel sad at your service but rather rejoice that you are being rewarded for helping others, gaining their love and prayers and that Allah may place these on your scale of good deeds.
Please see these links for full details:
The Rawha- Worldly Responsibilities and Spiritually Stagnant
Can I Love Allah Through Worldly Means?
Also, your tremendous respect and care for your parents will not go unrewarded. Rejoice at having been given the opportunity and willingness to help them. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “If any Muslim obeys Allah regarding his parents, Allah will open two gates of the Garden for him. If there is only one parent, then one gate will be opened. If one of them is angry, then Allah will not be pleased with him until that parent is pleased with him.” He was asked, “Even if they wrong him?” “Even if they wrong him,” he replied. [Bukhari]
Naturally, I see that you want more spiritual acts of worship in your life, and the truth is that most of us do. Prayer, dhikr, learning sacred knowledge, and reading and memorizing Quran are incredibly fulfilling and satisfying. I recommend you take a small amount daily and stick to it. This could be 10 minutes of reading the Quran or 5 minutes of memorizing. Also, auspicious times such as before dawn and until sunrise should be taken advantage of. Most of all, follow this advice:
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) advised us, “Religion is easy, and no one overburdens himself in his religion, but he will be unable to continue in that way. So do not be extremists, but try to be near perfection and receive the good tidings that you will be rewarded. Gain strength by worshipping in the mornings and afternoons and during the last hours of the night.” [Bukhari & Muslim]
May Allah give you the best of this world and the next.
[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria for two years where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, tafsir, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Masters in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She later moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.