ISLAM TEACHES US the importance of appreciating sound advice. The Prophet œ has taught us:
“The religion is naṣiḥa.” We said: “To whom?” He œ said: “To Allah, His Book, His Messenger, and to the leaders of the Muslims and their common folk.” (Muslim)
Thus, I asked a question on social media: “If you could give your 14 year old self advice, what would you say?”
The following is a collection of responses from men and women, those born Muslim or who have converted to Islam, from a wide range of ages, races and nations. Inshâ’Allah, their advice will resonate with you, at any age, and your children as well.
D.D: To be more involved in the community, to go out of my comfort zone, to communicate more with others, to learn from others, to not avoid social interaction, to get out of my bubble and see the world all around me.
D.M: Listen and trust your conscience. Allah put it there for a reason.
S.G: Know your own self worth, no matter how much people may try to put you down. Understand and appreciate the support systems you have, especially Allah and your parents. Lastly, and this may be trite, but actually believe in yourself. Life is too long a journey to give up easily.
K.I: The only thing you can control is your own mind!
S.S.A: Don’t be in such a hurry to grow up. Let things happen as they come.
L.S: Dress, act and look how you want. Girl haters will still grow up to be women haters. You’ll never please them at any age.
U.A: Read the Quran with understanding. You will find all the answers!!!
L.F: Whatever you do, hold onto five things: 1. Hold onto your relationship with the Quran. 2. Watch who your friends are…chose them wisely. 3. Hold onto your Salah. Never let it go—it’s your meeting with Allah. 4. Always talk to Allah…He loves to hear you turn to Him. 5. Before going to bed, make sincere du’a’s for yourself… your teachers, your parents and the whole ummah.
L.A.F: Make Allah your priority.
J.A: Don’t lose hope in Allah. HE loves you.
S.H: Appreciate the special person in your life. You don’t know how long you have with them.
N.A: Take care of INTENTIONS.
D.S: To love yourself and your individuality. I would also tell her that she is worthy.
F.K: Don’t conform. God has made you unique and thus apart from everyone else around you. Find that difference and then embrace it with all your heart. Choose your friends wisely. And speak up. Free your mind, soul and heart while maintaining your modesty as a Muslim woman.
H.M: Enjoy your time with your grandma. You will wish to wrap your arms around her one more time.
A.R.A: Talk to mom! Tell her everything! Yes, even those things you can’t tell her…she will help you, I promise.
Y.A: Don’t go with the flow.
Z.M: Listen to your parents, even if you think they sound annoying. Their blessings will give you success. Have good company of friends who encourage good deeds. Always make du’â for everything; we don’t realize how powerful du’â can be, even for little things in our daily lives and especially to always keep up rightly guided on the straight path.
A.F: Stop talking…listen.
S.E: 1. Remember another person’s struggle is your humbleness. 2. Intentions are everything: And your Lord knows all that their hearts conceal and all that they reveal [Sûrat Al-Qaṣaṣ, 28:69].” 3. Be content in your present, whatever present that may be…For when you accept what is placed beyond your control there is a lesson to be taught.
L.A: Learn a language instead of watching TV.
R.G: Hang in there. Fully trust Allah; everything will turn out fine soon.
S.S.P: You’re awesome! Keep kickin, cuz you’re only going to be better at it!
H.T: Only you can decide how to live your life. Listen, consult others, and then decide. Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
S.S: The same I give myself now—march along confidently with faith in Allah and try to do the right thing no matter how hard. Just remember to enjoy things a bit more on the way.
S.Z: Keep revising memorized sûrahs and memorize new ones. Read: A’udhu b’illah… frequently to keep anger in check.
M.M.A-R: Don’t worry about those who like you and those who don’t like you. Focus on your values. There are probably kids in your class who think you are on top of the world, and others that seem to be very low on the totem pole socially. All of that changes as you grow older. The only thing that’s constant is you, so be true to yourself and your values.
S.A: It’s okay to be different.
M.B: Rely on Allah only. Nothing else will bring you happiness or contentment or sakîna [tranquility].
S.A: Don’t let your fear control you.
A.A: Focus harder in school and make better friends—those two factors alongside the guidance of Allah will determine your future.
A.U: 1. Find a shaykh [mentor]. A real one. Do your homework and be as certain as you can possibly be. Then give yourself up completely and totally. 2. As for the dunya, don’t worry about anything. As long as you are firm on #1, you will be totally fine….
A.B: Don’t date him!
M.I: Be optimistic. Never give up; you’re never too late. Always try to repent and give up making the same transgressions…..
A.S: Be patient and learn the ethics of Islam.
D.E-N: Sincerity and strength of resolve are two things that [they] will respect and admire, even if they disagree with you, so continue upon the path that you set no matter how much people tell you it is too hard.
W.A.A: Have more faith in yourself, open yourself to things that scare you; never be afraid to reach your full potential, and, finally, love yourself.
N.G: Don’t be so ignorant to the trust [in Allah]. Learn the Dîn and take gradual steps towards practicing it.
H.K: It’s gonna be okay! Actually, it’s gonna be awesome.
F.C: Form your own identity that is unique, which is a combination of the Dîn and the dunya! Keep smiling because internal feelings at a young age will greatly share your future… and [know] that Allah loves you!
I.I: You are going to have a busy life, with all the hurdles and joys, and you are just right for that, strong. Make sure you leave a good example. And finding God is your best achievement, ever! You are doing well and you will be just fine.
S.M: There is a huge hole in your heart…for Allah. No one else can remove that emptiness from your heart completely except the ONE Who made the heart itself.
N.A: 1– The best body workout is daily prayer. 2– Re-charge your îmân day and night like you recharge your iPhone.
A.B: Be very grateful for EVERYTHING, the good and the bad. The bad is also a blessing in disguise and everything truly does happen for a reason. No matter what, don’t get mad. People’s rude behaviors are almost never about you.
K.D: Have confidence in yourself. You are great, you just don’t know it. Don’t fall into the trap of how society defines beauty. You are beautiful just the way you are and greatness is on your path. God loves you and has made you just the way He wanted to, and Islam is the true path. I’m speaking as a new Muslim.
N.L.Y.A: You can be whatever you work hard for. Study, learn and stay focused. Pray every day, read the Quran every day, do dhikr every day and be with Allah always, as He is with you always. Believe in yourself. Yes, you can!
G.S: Strengthen your relationship with Allah. It’s all you need.
B.L: Stop trying so hard to fit in.
V.P: Talk to Allah every day as if you’re best friends. The stronger your relationship with Him is, the easier it will be to navigate any hardship that comes your way. Find some balanced mentors who will help you discover and mold your Muslim-American [identity]…
T.U: Be a best friend to your parents. Walk with them in your life by holding the love of your Lord in your heart. Islam is a way of life, and Sunnah is a lifestyle.
T.C.D.A: That all the ignorance and sadness caused by those small minds in a small town will be meaningless when you head off to a big city.
H.A: You are good enough without anyone else’s validation.
R.K: Be strong and confident in being yourself. Don’t compromise your Dîn for your “buddies”—resist peer pressure and learn from the “men of the cave” in Sûrat Al-Kahf! This is the prime time!
What advice would you give your 14 year old self? Please share in the comments below!