Question: I have a friend, who does not dislike religion but he finds it difficult to adhere to during his university study. When I invite him to religion, he says, ‘I think it is better to spend my youth in studying until I attain a high degree in the medical field. When I graduate, open a clinic, get married, and arrange my material life in all sides, I shall begin thinking of my afterlife and keeping to religion.’ I hope that you will guide him and those like him to the right path with what is easy for the youth.
The answer: All of the religious teachings are easy because Allah, Who is aware of what benefits us and what harms us, has said in the Qur'an, (Allah desires ease for you, and He does not desire for you difficulty).
Dear ambitious brother, the problem has two dimensions:
The first is understanding this easy religion, about which the Prophet (S) often said proudly, ‘I have been sent with an easy and lenient Sharia’. Many people and many scholars do not know the truth of this religion and the way of following its teachings.
The second dimension is disregarding the true meanings of “easy” and “difficult”, which leads to mixing them up. Some people, for example, think that refraining from unlawful looking (at women) is difficult; therefore, they look because they consider that to be easier, but they do not know that this looking throws them into lustful imaginations when alone and then they fall into sin in different ways that weaken their concentration in study and work. Then the matter continues to get them to major sins and then problems fall on them one after the other. Their sufferings continue until they meet actual difficulties; whereas if they, from the very beginning, refrain from unlawful looking and do not consider it as a difficulty, they will not become involved in these difficulties, which they thought would be easy.
In this case, knowing religion correctly is the best way to practically distinguish between ease and difficulty. With this knowledge man can avoid difficulty and enjoy ease and then the way will become clear for him to achieve his material aims successfully. This is what religious people who act with reason and ambition experience. They have proven that there is no objection between true religion and modern science. In fact, the true religion complements modern science when it is used in its right place. There are many scientists in medicine, engineering, electronics, etc. who have put their abilities and talents at the service of injustice and corruption and harmed millions of people everywhere. However, if they were religious, they would have put their abilities in the way of justice and goodness, and so the societies would be safe from them, and people would pray to Allah to have mercy upon them, and besides that they would be happy in the afterlife.
Why does your friend think that it is difficult to adhere to religion and study in the university while he and we see, nowadays, religious young men studying in the European universities? Then, how about the universities in our own (Islamic) countries?
I fear for this university student the dangers of his reasoning, so I would like to draw his attention to the tradition narrated from Imam al-Baqir (a.s.) when he said, ‘This world is a market, in which some people profit and others lose.’ Let this brother see from which people he wants to be! Let him too ponder on this saying of Allah, (And say: Work; so Allah will see your work and (so will) His Messenger and the believers).
 Holy Qur’an, 2:185.
 Holy Qur’an, 9:105.