Anchoring Yourself Through Allah: A Guide for Students

Going back to or starting university can come with immense challenges – here are just a few tips on how to stay grounded and true to Allah.

Going back to or starting university can come with immense challenges – here are just a few tips on how to stay grounded and true to Allah.

As the start of the new academic year in Higher Education draws closer the prospect of moving away from home for the first time for many Muslim students, or returning to university after a long summer break, becomes more apparent.

Up until now, you may have been surrounded by people with solid faith practices and those that help to keep you on the deen and straight path in sha Allah. Going to university – for the first time or returning – can, however, shake that steady foundation and make you feel unsettled in turn.

Without that strong grounding, it can become difficult to cope with the challenges that come with starting university (especially in non-Muslim countries) and being a practising Muslim e.g. Freshers Week – can leave you feeling lonely, even if you are strong in your faith, have strong conviction in who you are and what you stand for. You’ll often have to hear things like ‘just come along; I don’t drink either’. And then, you proceed to explain – for what seems like the millionth time – that the whole environment is not suitable, not just the alcohol!

It can be challenging to navigate this when in fact this place is where you need to be in order to get on with your studies; perhaps living with these same people who at the minute are failing to get who you are; and also getting used to adulting alone and away from home, whilst reassuring parents and loved ones back home that you are doing fine and they don’t need to worry – that’s a lot to handle!

Below are some tips to get you started – the key is to ground yourself in Him – Allah SWT; Him being The Everlasting ensures that He SWT anchors you at this time when everything seems in flux:

1. Seek good company

When you are feeling like nobody gets you it can be easier to hide away in isolation, only emerging for food and lectures. However, this approach is not sustainable, moreover, it is not healthy. The solution is not hiding, rather it is finding those people that do get you.

Even if you are not feeling very social, this is the perfect opportunity to join ISOC or at least attend some of the wholesome events that they have over Freshers Week e.g. informal meet-ups at local restaurants or games nights.

Another great option is ensuring you are praying on time – make it a priority to seek out the location of the campus prayer room – in being a regular you will start to see familiar faces and you will find solace in the peace of the environment. Similarly, if your schedule allows (of course it is compulsory for brothers), attending Jummah will help to build community with like-minded people and give you something to look forward to.

2. Ask for His (SWT) Help

Remember that even if it seems like it, you are most definitely not alone. Don’t bottle up your feelings and concerns – call out to Allah SWT in your dua.

Ask Him (Al Qareeb – The Near One) to guide and protect you during this current time. Don’t lose sight of the fact He is Ever Present – no matter where you are, keep making dua to Him to make easy that which you are finding difficult.

3. Stick to your values

Stay firm on your decisions not to attend places where there is drinking and other acts which go against your beliefs. Renew your intention for saying no and struggling with the challenges – for His Sake; He (The Most Merciful) will make it easy for you.

Remember that your actions in these circumstances can serve as a form of dawah – in hearing why you are not attending certain events but are choosing to say yes to others, it will become clear why you are doing so and therefore, serve to educate fellow students who may not have had much contact with practising Muslims before meeting you at university.

If you stick to your values without compromise, people will notice. Never underestimate the power of your individual practices; especially if you set the intention for this to be the case.

4. Find moments with Him (The Almighty) throughout the day

In those first few weeks and months on campus, as you are still settling into your routine, ensure you are holding on to the moments you carved out with Him (SWT) before. Or begin to make this a practice – you will definitely notice the difference it makes to your day.

For example, starting your day by reflecting on one of His 99 names and carrying that with you throughout the day as a reminder; making dhikr, such as the morning and evening adhkar (A Life with Allah have some fantastic resources: https://lifewithallah.com/dhikr-dua/). Maintaining these regular practices will provide some balance during those days when everything feels so new and alien.

Of course, it goes without saying that reading Quran will also have a profound impact – be gentle with yourself and remember that it is not about quantity. Instead, choose passages randomly and relate them to your current situation or conversely choose ones that you know will provide comfort.

All of these small but consistent acts will provide perspective and therefore, clarity when your situation may feel chaotic and overwhelming.

5. Seek patience

The above suggestions will help, but the truth is also that you will need to ‘sit with your feelings’ for some weeks or even months whilst you get used to your new environment and situation. In other words, recognising the feelings of loneliness, sadness, and homesickness mixed in with excitement and stress will be an important and necessary part of the process; instead of trying to mask it by constantly being in a state of busyness.

Although it might be uncomfortable at times, you will definitely grow from it and learn a lot about yourself along the way; in sha Allah you’ll make friends too! Give yourself grace and recognise that you will need a little patience with yourself and the situation overall – seek patience through Him (Al Sabur – The Patient).

Hurrying the process will not allow you to gain what you are meant to from the circumstances; trust Him (The All Knowing) and lean into it. If you fully rely on Him (The All Knowing) – He will carry you through.

Finally, may Allah (SWT) make it easy for you. Below are two duas that will in sha Allah prove useful during this time:

“Rabbi zidni ilma (My Lord, increase me in knowledge).” (20:114)

“Rabbi inni lima anzalta ilaya min khayrin fakeer (My Lord, I am truly in need of whatever provision You may have in store for me)” (28:24)

This article was first published on Blogging Believer, and republished on TMV with the author’s permission. To read the original article, click here.



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