How to Focus in Life - Advice from Imam Ali (a)
Bismi-Llah, Al-Rahmani, Al-Rahim [In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful]. Allahumma salli 'ala Muhammadin wa ali Muhammad [O Allah! Bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad] . In this holy month of Ramadan we remember the legacy of the commander of the Faithful, Amir Al-Mu'minin salawatu Allah 'alayhi [may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] . Especially during the nights of power and the days around his Martyrdom.
In this holy month of Ramadan, let us open our hearts to the words of Amir Al-Mu'minin and I recommend, my respected brothers and sisters, to dedicate some time in the Holy month of Ramadan to study Nahj al-Balaghah [The Peak of Eloquence]. This treasure that has been passed down to us from the commander of the Faithful, Al-Imam 'Ali ibn Abi Talib.
In one of the shortest sermons of Nahj al-Balagha, the Imam alayhi as-salam [peace be upon him], gives us beautiful words of advice that help us keep focused in life. It is only a sentence, but oceans of knowledge and wisdom are found in this one sentence.
The Imam alayhi as-salam [peace be upon him] states, 'ala wa inna al-ghayata amamakum' - 'O people, the target is before you.' Do you know where you are heading? Where is your final destination? Our final destination is the Day of Judgment. We are all going there, it is either Heaven or Hell.
The Imam alayhi as-salam, teaches us, when you wake up in the morning, throughout your day, do you have that target in mind? Do you know where you are going? If you always have that target in mind, you will make sure that all of your activities and efforts guide you to that target. But many times we are distracted. Many of us do not really know where we are going. Our activities, our thoughts, our actions, our deeds are not helping us prepare for that target.
Then the Imam alayhi as-salam, states, 'wa inna as-sa'ata min wara'ikum tahdukum' - 'And the 'sa'ah'-the hour or the Day of Judgment from behind you is driving you.' Do not think you can stop time. You cannot control time.
You can control what you do in time, but time is going. This vehicle is going. This vehicle at a very fast speed is taking you to your target, which is the Day of Judgment. Do not think you can stop this vehicle. The minute you are distracted, you will be left behind.
So what do we do? The Imam alayhi as-salam, in two words teaches us what to do. What is the solution? Two words in eloquent Arabic. Oceans of wisdom lie in these two words.
The Imam alayhi as-salam, states, 'takhaffafu talhaqu'-'Be light and you will make it.' Subhana Allah [Glory be to Allah]. Beautiful words from Amir al-Mu'minin sallawatu Allahu 'alayhi.
Have you ever seen hikers who go on a hiking journey? They pack light. They have a backpack with essentials, maybe some water, to keep themselves hydrated, maybe some essential snacks. That is all.
Have you seen a hiker who goes with five pieces of luggage with five big bags? If you do that, you will be left behind. You will not make it. You will not make it on that journey. You have to go through valleys and mountains. The more weight and items and objects you carry with you, the more it will slow you down to the point where you will be left behind.
Or when you travel these days through an airport, imagine a big family traveling with all these pieces of luggage. It slows them down. It is burdensome, you have to carry them. Sometimes they get lost to your destination. When you get to your destination, you have to wait at the luggage claim area to claim your bags. But when you travel light, small backpack, you breeze through. It is so much more convenient.
The Imam alayhi as-salam, tells us in this life, travel light. Do not burden yourself. Every sin burdens you, makes you heavier. You have to carry more on your back on the Day of Judgment. You are not going to make it if you have too much to carry.
Time that is wasted. Being distracted with the materialistic aspect of this world, being distracted with social media, being obsessed with Instagram, with TikTok, seeing the post of others, reading their comments, seeing who got how many likes, and just wasting hours and hours, that burdens us.
The Imam teaches us to be light and we will make it. And the best opportunity, the best time for us is the month of Ramadan. Refocus your energy. Make sure that everything that you do is not burdening you. It is not slowing you down.