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IslamQA: How to balance worldly goals and religious goals?

How to balance worldly life and deen? I have a lot of personal worldly and spiritual goals. But sometimes I feel I give too much time to either my worldly or spiritually side. I end up confused and end up not “working” on any of it at all. Any advice? Sorry if it’s too confusing

I used to suffer from similar doubts. My solution is that if you do sufficient extra worship every day (about an hour) so that you feel close to God throughout the day, then the rest of the time you are free to work on worldly goals. If you are (or become) a very spiritual Muslim then everything you do would be in some way aimed toward becoming the best agent of God on earth, what I call a steward of God. You can seek worldly goals as part of your job as a steward. This could be trying to progress in your career, for example.

I constantly read works on philosophy and evolutionary science and I enjoy it. Even though this is not Islamic worship, it is part my job as a “steward”, and therefore in a way it is worship. A steward’s job is to do the best with what they have where they are while maintaining a close relationship with God. It is not his or her job to spend the whole time in religious worship, in fact this is strongly criticized by many scholars. We are meant to be workers who try to improve the world, not mere worshipers.

So as I said, if you do sufficient worship to stay close to God, then you are free to use the rest of your time for whatever beneficial purpose you can think of.

I discuss stewardship in detail in my essay The Muslim Plan for Western Civilization.

Best wishes.

And God knows best.
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