One of the keys to living a fulfilling life is to work towards developing ourselves in meaningful ways. To illustrate the point, one often finds with footballers that what drives the best players is not earning the most money but developing their talents to the greatest extent through competing at the highest level.
This element of developing oneself resonates with many of us. This is what propels us to study, to travel, to work and so forth. What is important is to evaluate what are the forces which shape the targets which we set for ourselves.
Take for example a bright University student. What energises them to strive for the highest grades, join sporting teams and take on leadership positions in student societies is the prospect of being rewarded with a prestigious job.
Whilst there clearly is merit in this, it is important to realise that life can reward our determination and hard work in many ways. When one acknowledges the multiplicity of rewards available in life, this can dramatically change their perspective on what they strive for and which forms of growth matter the most to them.
Having appreciated this, when one reads the Quran, one finds that Allah in a sense persuades us to recognise the loftiness of certain spiritual rewards and Allah inclines us to aspire with the greatest vigour for these spiritual achievements. For instance, Allah mentions in chapter 2 verse 269 of the Quran:
He gives wisdom to whomever He wishes, and he who is given wisdom is certainly given an abundant good, but none takes admonition except people of understanding
Some of the immediate effects of this verse are that:
- it makes one contemplate over why wisdom is held in such high regard by Allah,
- it makes one reflect upon what can they do to attract this divine bestowal,
- it generates an overpowering desire to be endowed with wisdom and
- it makes one strive to become one of those who Allah considers to be people of understanding
Such verses can change the outlook of a sporting elite or a gifted student. It makes them realise that they have a spiritual side to them which is the noblest aspect of them and, if nurtured, this aspect yields the greatest rewards.
We pray to Allah to privilege us with an understanding of all the gifts that He has given us and enable to attach the greatest importance to the gifts which He considers to be the most valuable.