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 By  Selma A. Cook  

bedSleeping during the day and staying awake all night is quite common, especially during the holiday season when there seems to be so much time. Is it just an easy way of killing time? Is it a way to escape reality and avoid facing life? Is it just laziness and apathy? People will give you different answers, but one thing is for sure, it is not the way things are meant to be.

Almighty Allah says in the Qur'an (And We [Allah] have made your sleep as a thing for rest, and We have made the night as a covering (through its darkness). And we have made the day for [seeking] livelihood)(An-Naba' 78:9-11).

The more a person goes against his or her nature and chooses to sleep at the break of dawn, the more sluggish he or she feels. The days seem to merge into one another and time takes on a different quality. Sometimes, things seem a bit unreal and the person feels removed from things.

As the body's clock is disturbed, eating patterns also change and sometimes he or she experiences a feeling of being unwell.

This is indeed a problem! Anything that makes you feel less energetic, less motivated, and less ambitious is bad and should be overcome. After all, how can a people achieve the life's potential and follow their dreams and goals if they are half asleep most of the time?

Don't Give Up!

In response to this, some people might argue that it is holiday time, and there is not anything to do anyway. Such is the argument of those who have already lost touch with reality. There is an old saying "Life is not boring, people are!" So, if we really understand the beauty, vastness, and magnitude of life, we would jump out of bed every morning and start achieving. If we are not jumping out of bed feeling hopeful, then we have to make some changes within ourselves and the way we think and see things.

Most Muslim youth have lots of thoughts and ideas about doing something for Islam, but they often end up feeling aimless. They see the problems that are happening and have the desire to do something but are not sure where to start. Perhaps the whole picture is just too daunting.

After all, it is a gloomy picture: People face hunger every day, leaders institutionalize corruption, many people misunderstand Islam because of the misbehavior of some Muslims as well as misinformation being spread, young people are often failing to live a lifestyle that resembles Islam in any way, many families pay more heed to tradition than to Islamic values, Muslim schools and institutions need more funding and support, and the list goes on. Yes, the problems we face are intimidating.

Could the magnitude of our collective challenges be the cause behind so many young people feeling disheartened? However, if we take a quick look at history, we will see that most changes take place at the hands of the youth. So it certainly is not time to give up and go back to sleep!

Good Examples

At the same time, there are many young Muslims — I mean people between the ages of around 15 to 30 — who are busy doing useful things. I am thinking about camps organized by Muslim youth, fundraising events, seminars, volunteer work, and more — all organized and run by young Muslims.

These young people have chosen one specific cause to work on and have then dedicated themselves to it, and then they working hard in that direction. I guess they are not the young people who sleep all day.

Now, it might be difficult to go straight from oversleeping to being socially active, but there are some steps that could be taken to make the transition easier.

Simple Tips

First, you could select a cause. Any one will do! Choose one that is accessible to you and that you feel inclined to. An easy one is to sponsor a child. There are many respectable relief organizations where you can donate a monthly amount of money to feed a child. The cost is really quite small compared to what you spend on junk food for a month.

Do you remember the reward for taking care of an orphan? Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) said (what means) that he (peace and blessings be upon him) and the one who helps an orphan will be close in Paradise. Knowing that alone should be enough to get you motivated.

But you might be thinking that you do not have enough knowledge. Well, none of us does, and it is a good thing to work on increasing it! Make a list of books you would like to read within two month or look into subscribing to a couple of Islamic magazines. Try to do your reading during the daytime! You never know, once you get into the Islamic media you might want to educate yourself to work in this exciting field.

Perhaps you are not a bookish person; perhaps you like to go out. So what about going to the local Islamic center or any place where talks, seminars, or conferences are being held? If you did not enjoy what had been organized, why not approach the organizing committee and present some of your own ideas? Perhaps you could end up on the committee and be helping to organize the next event! Just a word of warning though, most of these events are during the daytime or the early evening, so a healthy sleep pattern is important!

But you like watching TV, don't you? Well, you can still watch it but everything has to be balanced, so why not get a few Islamic CDs or DVDs a month? If you do this, you will not only be learning something, but you will also be supporting the person who produced this work. You can go to your local Islamic bookshop or search on the Internet.

Now, if you are a social person, you have something more that you could do. Find someone in your community who needs a helping hand. This could be a lonely person, a new convert, someone who has just started practicing Islam, or someone who is experiencing some kind of hardship. Make a promise to yourself to be there for that person. Phone that person, talk to him or her, invite him or her to events, and introduce him or her to others. Try to find out what he or she needs and try to help him or her get it. New Muslims in particular go through times when they feel lonely and isolated, so practical help and having a feeling of belonging are really important.

Our families, our friends, and our community at large are our people. They are the people we learn to love, and they share our life in many ways. Interacting with them brings joy to all, despite the problems that will ultimately arise from time to time. Make it a part of your summer plan to keep some "Islamic presents" with you. These can be very small, inexpensive things, but remember that giving gifts is a Sunnah and giving and accepting gifts soften people's hearts.

You could give a gift to someone from time to time; something like Islamic car stickers, wall plaques, prayer beads, hijabs, or best of all, a copy of the Qur'an! You will be amazed at how good you feel when you give something to someone for the sake of Almighty Allah. Also, do not just give things to people in your community, you can also give to your family! They know you love them, but they also like to see a gesture or token of that love from time to time!

So you see, there is so much to do and so much that can be done. Positive change takes place slowly and with things that seem unimportant, but in the sight of Almighty Allah, giving to others, helping others, bringing people together, and gaining knowledge are not small things.

It really is time to wake up! It is time to get up early out of bed and to get up with a purpose!