Why are there so many rules?
And why do you have to five times every single day? Why do you have to starve yourself for a month?
Parents tell their children not to fast during exams because it might make their grades suffer. Young girls are discouraged from wearing hijab, so as not to hide their beauty from prospective mates. After all, most girls spend a fortune to look beautiful, why should you hide behind a veil?
And so on. All these notions have a common belief behind them – that the rules of Islam make life difficult.
Islamic law didn’t come to humans as a punishment. On the contrary, every rule of Islam makes our lives easy in some way or other.
If you follow what Allah wants you to do, the difficulties of this life and the next will lighten:
And Allah wants to lighten for you [your difficulties]; and mankind was created weak. (4:28)
A life in obedience to Allah is peaceful and good. After all, He is our Creator, and He is the Most Wise Judge. He sent us to this world and He knows how we should navigate through it in the best possible way.
The rules of Islam shape our lives, help us develop our sense of self-identity, and give direction to our lives. This is especially beneficial for teenagers who are just starting their journey as adults, capable of making their own life decisions and choosing right from wrong. If you are a teenager finding it difficult to follow the many rules of Islam, then what you need is the right perspective of looking at these rules.
Think it in terms of traffic rules. Why did the authorities set these particular rules in place? And why is a certain road one way? Why can’t you ride the other way along it? Why are pedestrians allowed to cross a road at certain points and not at others?
For every rule that seems a struggle to follow, try to find the wisdom behind it. Why did Allah ask us to pray five times every day? And why can’t we just do three? Why do we have to wake up every day at the crack of dawn to pray Fajr?
If we can find out the incredible wisdom behind every rule that Allah has placed in our lives, we will fall in love with practicing Islam. Let’s take the examples of two such rules and see the wisdom behind them.
PRAYER AND FASTING MAKES LIFE EASY
The five daily prayers are fundamental in establishing and maintaining connection with our Creator; it is our primary means of finding peace in life, as Allah says:
… Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah hearts are assured.
Prayer also brings structure and discipline to our day, each prayer acting as a pillar to hold our twenty-four hours in shape. Prayer protects us from being seduced into lewd actions.
It keeps us spiritually strong and resilient, able to bear life’s difficulties and trials.
It helps us purify our souls on a regular schedule, so that no matter when death takes us, we will never be unprepared in sha Allah.
Right after Allah talks about fasting in Ramadan, He says:
Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship… (2:185)
Fasting trains us to become aware of Allah in a way no other action does. It increases our taqwa and gratitude, making us resilient to hardships.
Moreover, there has been much research done on fasting as a form of detoxification. Regular fasting rids the body of toxins, boosts the metabolism and makes you feel lighter and more energetic throughout the day.
If you are completely new to fasting, the first one or two fasts may be difficult, but after that it gets much easier as your body adjusts to it. In fact, fasting regularly will make you fall in love with it because of its incredible benefits.
But remember, fasting will bring these incredible benefits provided we follow the other rules of Islam. For example, if we fast all day and then at sunset stuff ourselves with unhealthy foods, we shouldn’t really expect much good.
After Ramadan, follow up your fasts with other encouraged acts in Islam such as eating in moderation, avoiding extravagance, sharing your food, praying on time and so on, and insha’Allah your life will become filled with ease and blessings.