If you could give advice to your younger self, what would it be?
I would give myself two pieces of advice:
1. You cannot guide yourself
Even if you spend years reading the best available books, without God’s help and guidance you will never be able to achieve guidance.
Whomever God guides is the guided one. And whomever He sends astray—these are the losers.The Quran, verse 7:178
The proper attitude toward guidance is to desperately desire it from God the way a person dying of third desires water. This was one of the most difficult lessons I have learned in life and possibly the most important one.
2. You cannot benefit yourself without God
Nothing you do can ever succeed if God does not want it to succeed. Success should first always be sought from God. All good things come from God and we have no power to do anything that benefits us except through God’s will and approval. So it is from God that we should seek all benefit.
Whatever mercy God unfolds for the people, none can withhold it. And if He withholds it, none can release it thereafter. He is the Exalted in Power, Full of Wisdom.The Quran, verse 35:2
In short, both when it comes to guidance and success, God should be our center. He should be the King from whom we desperately seek these things, knowing that nothing we do will have any benefit unless He desires it.
The lesson I have learned is therefore that I must lead a God-centered life; to throw away all my illusions that I am capable of benefiting or guiding myself.