Leading a Balanced Life: An Islamic Perspective, Imam Dr Zijad Delic
If we agree that goal setting is important, the next obstacle to overcome is which goals are important.
The majority of people only set financial goals. This type of thinking is ingrained in us from the time that we are in school. The only thing that matters is what career path we will choose and how much money we will earn so that we can buy all the luxuries of life and we can then be ‘independent.”
Some people only set religious goals, others set only sporting or entertainment goals. Some people do not bother to set any goals at all.
In our quest to find answers to a meaningful existence in life we obtain guidance from the Quran and from the Sunnah of prophet Mohammed (S). Islam is a framework of reference. This means that we should follow the “golden middle path” in everything that we do and we should not become extreme in any way, rigid and inflexible.
If we set ourselves a goal that we want to do as much good as possible and pray as much as possible so that we can prepare for the Hereafter, then this is allowed provided that we do not harm either ourselves or anyone else in the process, as instructed by prophet Mohammed (S):
It was narrated by Abdullah bin Amr (RA) that Allah’s Messenger (S) said: “Have I not been informed that you offer prayer all the night and fast the whole day? I said,” yes.” He (S) said, “ Do not do so; offer prayer at night and also sleep; fast for a few days and give up fasting for a few days because your body has a right on you, and your eye has a right on you, and your guest has a right on you, and your wife has a right on you…”
That is, our life must be in balance.
There is no reward in activities that are pursued so excessively to the detriment of another part of our life. This example of prophet Mohammed (S) gives us clear guidelines on leading our life: i.e. a balanced life is a harmonious life. A balanced life is the way of Islam.
Islam teaches us not to be extremes: i.e. neither does too little nor does too much, but follow the Golden Balance. Furthermore, our life comprises many dimensions and we should strive to seek a balance between all these various facets of our life.
When setting goals for ourselves, we should not only focus on financial goals even though these goals may seem like a high priority to us, especially when the economy is down and the outlook looks gloomy. We should not pursue this goal to the detriment of other goals in our life.
On the other hand, we should not become so obsessed about another goal, for example, spending an excessive amount of time on developing the physical goal to the detriment of financial goals. There should be harmony and balance between all of the following facets of life: Personal, Family or Community/society
(a) Religious/spiritual (ethical-moral) Goals
(b) Intellectual Goals
(c) Financial Goals
(d) Social Goals
(e) Philanthropic (volunteer/charitable) Goals
(f) Physical goals
(g) Emotional goals
Each person is a unique individual, and as such, each person decides ultimately what is important for him or her at a particular time/situation.