Ever had those days when you just can’t cope? Hundreds of notifications flood your phone. You now unsynchronise your email to break the habit of checking on them every hour. The dark circles under your eyes seem to be a permanent fixture and the mere sight of your daily planner gives you anxiety. At work you daydream about your bed. In the night, worries of work occupy you. You slave through every step of the way and at certain times when you are all alone – in those tiny moments of contemplation – you think ‘how do I better this?’
You, my dear need a break. That is, a break from over-consumption of dunya. Who am I to say that you should abandon all responsibilities? Nobody should do that. All it means is that you need to put your well-being first before you can be of service to others. That includes the whole package: mental, physical, spiritual and emotional health. I remember once tweeting: ‘I’m holistically exhausted’. I laugh now because the teenage me had no idea what she was talking about.
At times like these, we need to dwell on the Quran more.
And I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me. (Adh Dhariyat 51:56)
Ah, before you leave thinking this woman is about to tell me to pray more, I would like to pose a question: Ever thought of what worship truly means? If prayer, fasting, zakat and hajj is all there is to worship then we are not really dedicating much of our lives to it. Every step you take could be worship, had you the right intention. You taking care of your health and keeping in shape can be worship if the intention is to be able to keep doing good deeds and be more efficient. If you wake up with the intention that the work you will be doing is to obtain halal income and to keep the haram i.e interest (riba) at bay because you want Allah’s love – that is an act of worship.
Remember that there is a greater power beyond that manager that breathes down your neck, or the supervisor that keeps changing your dissertation topic. You are not here to please them, you don’t need their appreciation. If you have practiced excellence as part of being a good Muslim by fulfilling the rites of others, then know that Allah is Al-Basir – The All Seeing – no effort goes to waste.
Fulfilling your own rites comes with this too. Talk to someone if need be – ask for professional help if required.
If you feel like the world is weighing you down, look to the Hereafter. This life as we know it is but a drop in the ocean. Then look to the Creator – he does not burden a soul beyond what it can bear. Ask for strength.
Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured. (Ar Rad 13:28)
So to answer the titular question: yes, we all need to take a break from dunya sometimes.