I have been amazed at what some people have achieved during lockdown. From volunteering to discovering new talents to great fetes of fundraising. But whatever else, lockdown has given many of us the chance to re-evaluate our lives and relationships.
In life coaching we use the ‘Life Wheel’ assessment to help clients evaluate their lives and see what life areas they need to work on. Clients rank their satisfaction in each area and then use these scores to help them decide which areas they will focus on, in order to increase satisfaction in that area of life.
Generally speaking, there are eight life areas. Obviously you could write a whole book about each one but here I will attempt to briefly explain what you need to consider when scoring each life area and then give you a short explanation to present the Islamic way of thinking.
Describe your relationship with Allah? What is the gap between the state of your Deen and what you aspire for it to be? What commitments are you prepared to make in this area?
Taqwa, God-consciousness, is absolutely essential for every conscientious Muslim and comprises both the love and the fear of Allah. The outward practices of prayer, fasting and charity have many inner dimensions which must be discovered and enjoyed. This can only be done through concerted effort, study of the Quran and Sunnah and the company and guidance of good practicing Muslims.
What gives you satisfaction and is there anything you’re dissatisfied about? What is most important in a job to you and is your current job providing that? How does your real-life career compare with your expectations? Are you fulfilling your potential?
The Islamic perspective is that the work ethic is extremely important and idleness is frowned upon. Hard work in itself is a form of worship, as long as it is a halal means of earning a living, and especially so when you are supporting your children and elderly parents/relatives.
A word of caution, work, money and success do not love you back. On your deathbed, you will not regret spending enough time at work, but you may regret that you did not spend enough time with your family.
What are your values about money? What’s happening in your financial life? What would you like to change?
Wealth is one of Allah’s blessings and it can bring us great pleasure in life. As well as giving the obligatory Zakat every year, we must give whatever we can to poor relatives, friends and charities. Money is not to be hoarded but spent and given away thus distributing it amongst the community.
What would you change, if you could? How does your environment enhance your life or hinder it? What is really bothering you and drains your energy?
Moderation is the key here. Allah dislikes extravagance as it represents too much of an attachment to this world. On the other hand Allah also dislikes miserliness, so one ought to live according to their means.
Are you doing anything to facilitate your personal growth? What skills, attributes or areas of expertise do you want to develop? What one new skill would help you better achieve your dreams?
Our Deen is all about personal growth and self development. This applies to all aspects of our lives both spiritual and otherwise. We must constantly strive to better ourselves in all sorts of ways and thus be life-long learners.
Health and recreation (self care):
How is your health? What are you doing to take better care of your mind, body and emotions? How satisfied are you with the amount of rest and recreation you have?
The physical body is given to us as an Amanah from Allah so we have a duty to take care of it by exercising, eating healthily and refraining from doing anything that is harmful.
Sleep is described in fascinating detail in the Quran. Both the Quran and Hadith discuss the beneficial effects of sleep and emphasise the importance of maintaining a regular routine.
How do you want to be involved in the community and what contribution can you make? How happy are you with your social life? What do you most value in a friend and do you have people who fulfil this?
Community support is held in the highest regard in Islam and is something we should prioritise in our lives. There are so many needy people and in the UK there is a fantastic tradition of volunteering. I would urge you to experience this for yourself.
A good friend is a blessing from Allah. This world is full of trials and tribulation, so the presence of a true friend can be the refuge that you need. What are you doing to cultivate your friendships?
How do you feel about your family/marriage right now? What’s good and what needs to change? What would a great family life look like to you and what commitment are you prepared to make in this area?
The family is the bedrock of the Islamic community and these precious relationships need to be nurtured. Family life should be full of love, kindness and understanding. This does not happen by accident but requires a great deal of effort and energy.
I hope that this article helps you to take a closer look at all the life areas and consider what changes you can make to have a more balanced life and be a better, more effective human being.
Click here to take your own life wheel assessment. The categories vary slightly from my article above.