Do you feel like you have nothing to give?

Do you feel ashamed and tired of where you are? Or are you constantly comparing yourself with others?

Maybe it’s one of those days when all your insecurities seem to take a swing at you, nothing you do seems to be producing the result you want, or you keep failing to meet your goal, and everything feels pointless.

During moments like these, it’s easy to let the Shaitaan guilt-trip you and make you feel like a horrible, ungrateful slave to Allah سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى. You seem to be messing up, going backward instead of forwards, and your Imaan is taking blow after blow.

Maybe you feel like you don’t really matter- that the world will be the same place, or even better off, without you in it. Astaghfirullah.

But that’s just not true.

You matter because Allah created you.

You matter because you’re here, and Allah does not make mistakes.

He made you Muslim and ignited that desire to be guided and to please Him, which is why you are here right now, reading Islamic articles and consuming beneficial content.

You may make mistakes, you could fall into the traps of the Shaitaan and take a wrong turn, momentarily blinded by the temptations and desires of this dunya.

But the solution is not to remain where you are; rather, struggle to rise from the bottom of that deep, dark ocean and break free into the clear, pure air; Allah’s Forgiveness and Mercy.

Raise your hands to Him, elevate your heart to Him- 

‘Ya Allah, I’m asking you because of Who You are, not because I deserve it. Forgive me for ever thinking anything but the best of You.

 I know I have a long way to go.

Even if I’m not there yet, it’s where I want to be. So, help me, guide me, be there for me every step of the way.’

And, lo and behold, when you look down at your hands, you see pearls softly gleaming in them because Allah will not only forgive you, He’ll grant you more and more of what you never knew you wanted!

At the same time, our Deen teaches us not just to make du’a and set goals, but to also take the steps necessary to get closer to our dreams and desires while trusting solely in Allah.

Dream, Du’a, Do.

And life is too short to have all our dreams revolving around the Dunya.

Therefore, we need to invest our Hereafter with what Allah has blessed us with right here and right now.

It’s easy to feel daunted by this and tell yourself that you’re not good enough to work for Allah’s Deen or you don’t have much to give to the world in the Way of Allah.

But this is also one of the sly tactics of Shaitaan, dear brothers and sisters because you definitely have something valuable to contribute by which Allah will enrich your Deen and Dunya while also beautifully enriching others through you, bi’idhnillah.

The truth is, as human beings we do feel burdened with heavy emotions and seasons of biting cold and darkness in our souls.

But when we choose to move- to keep going, one step at a time, while calling out to Allah and trying our best to please Him, how can we doubt that He will envelop us in His pure and boundless Light?

How can we despair that he will transform us into the person we are meant to be- the one capable of fulfilling our Divine purpose?

Right now, if you are struggling, realize that Allah is with you. He still wants you to connect with Him, and He wants to give and forgive- not because of who you are but because of Who He is.

The solution is not to despise or criticize yourself. Accept that you aren’t perfect and start working on yourself.

Self-love doesn’t mean ignoring your faults and bad habits; it means consistently improving yourself for the sake of Allah.

Everything you are is because of Him. He deserves that you love yourself enough to worship Him in the best way possible.

Don’t let thoughts like, “I’m not good enough for Allah.” stop you from shining bright. Think of all the gifts He has given you; we shouldn’t be able to sit still until we have used them in showing our gratitude to Allah.

Yes, we say “Alhamdulillah” but do we show it?

And Allah doesn’t expect the impossible from us. He doesn’t need anything from us, and still, He is pleased and rewards even the smallest of efforts on our part.

We learn in a hadith that even half a date given in charity can save us from the punishment for a lifetime of sins. We learn that the simple act of giving water to a thirsty animal can wipe away even the most evil of deeds.

So, what can you do?

Look within yourself.

What do you love to do; what is your passion that you know you’re good at?

What do your friends and family always praise you for and seek your help with?

SubhanAllah. Rest assured, by the Grace of Allah, we all have something.

Maybe you’re an amazing baker who can make the most decadent cookies, cupcakes, and treats. Instead of simply making these for your family, you can send some to your neighbors- a deed beloved to Allah, especially if this helps to start a connection that enables you to introduce them to Islam.

You can also lend a hand in hosting bake sales for charitable events where taste buds are enticed and hearts are softened to give sadaqah and help Islamic causes.

Or perhaps you’re the type of person that everyone feels a natural inclination to trust and confide in. Whether it's work colleagues, relatives, domestics, or even random strangers- you just have a way with people.

This is an invaluable blessing from Allah, Alhamdulillah! If you already have a hold over people’s hearts, then you can give them the most beautiful advice and call them to Allah in a natural and engaging way.

Not only do you help them in matters of their Dunya, but you can also plant the seeds for them to benefit from the Deen and realize the comprehensive beauty of Islam by infusing the Qur’an and Sunnah into your conversations.  

I was once inspired by hearing of a highly successful dentist who had da’wah pamphlets in her waiting room instead of magazines for her patients to read.

And we’ve all seen how the Moroccan team proudly displayed their Islam for all to marvel at during the FIFA World Cup, both in victory and defeat, gaining the world’s admiration and leaving the haters of Islam befuddled by their success.

You could be a writer, an artist, a graphic designer, or an architect. You could be fantastic at giving heart-touching speeches, teaching children, or taking care of the elderly. The list goes on and on, SubhanAllah.

But whatever gem glistens within you- know that, without a doubt, it is from Allah, and it's yours for a reason. So, use it for Allah- and then, only then, will it bring you true and lasting happiness.

There is no better return on investment than Jannah- being forgiven and admitted into Allah’s beautiful Mercy. Being given more than we could desire or deserve.

Whatever you’re good at, and whatever you’re qualified or skilled in, use it for the Aakhirah, not just this short-lived world, use it to serve yourself by serving others in obedience to your Rabb.

Don’t pine after being famous and celebrated by the people; rather, be great and do amazing things while asking Allah to be a celebrity in the heavens, beloved by Him and those closest to Him.

I’ll leave you with this spectacular hadith that always amplifies my soul’s ache for Jannah, even during those hard days when nothing I do seems to make sense.

Abu Huraira reported: The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, said, Allah said: I have prepared for My righteous servants what no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human heart has conceived. Recite the verse if you wish: No soul knows what has been hidden for them of comfort.” (32:17)

[Bukhari 3244]