The Finish Line

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Tasks and assignments piled high
Due dates and deadlines on the rise
Not a moment to stop, to think of life

I race through my time:
The days just pass me by,
The weekends are a blur–
Weekdays even more.

I drown in my time:
I am drifting far away.
There is no time– I feel
To make dua’a and pray.
My prayers are like exercise–
No longer do I value
The meaning of sujood,
The meaning of khushu’.

I sink through my time:
Reciting Quran mindlessly,
Chanting istighfar before falling asleep
For my lack of sincerity.
My life is missing depth
I was on my mark, not set.

I stumble through my time:
I have a goal in sight,
It’s the object of my life.
But what if I am wrong?
Is my priority a lie?

Sitting at a khutbah
Which my parents dragged me to,
I receive a wake-up call,
A chance for faith to be renewed:
“We all return to Allah regardless of our deeds,
We are all lowered into the same dirt
Whether we rushed through our prayers mindlessly,
Whether we lived our lives for a mere degree,
That all is only temporary–
Our end goal should be for Allah to be pleased.”
The imam’s speech shakes me.

As the adhan sounds through the masjid,
As unity fills the hall and not a sound can be heard,
I bow my head– for the first time comprehending the words.
Allah is greater
So much greater
It is as though the words were meant for me.
Only for me

With priorities redefined,
I catch up to my time;
And standing at the finish line,
I get a hold of time.

There are times in our life when everything seems blurry, our lives lack purpose, and we feel extremely lost. We seem to be engulfed in the many obligations and pursuits of this life. It is in those times that we need to refocus and re-evaluate ourselves, our intentions, and our goals. This poem depicts the race of life: the race that we all stumble and falter in. Our focus is hindered, and our priorities aren’t straight. However, after being reminded and attempting to make things right, it is understood that once you set obeying Allah’s commands as your priority, everything else will fall into place. I was inspired to write this after having a conversation with my mother about my future goals. She said, “Your main goal is to follow Allah’s commands. Everything else comes after that.” The main message I was trying to get across is that Allah is greater than our worldly pursuits. He must be our priority if we are ever to be successful.

“Everyone has a direction towards which he turns; so race to [all that is] good. Allah will bring you all together wherever you might be, for nothing is beyond His power.” (Surah Al-Baqarah: 148)

May we all succeed in the race towards Allah. Ameen.

Maryam Ahmed is a high school senior living in Dallas, TX. She began writing for MYM when she was 13. In her free time (which is not very often), Maryam enjoys biking, photography, and reading. This fall, she will be heading to SMU, insha'Allah, to study Political Science, Human Rights and Journalism. She hopes to attend Law School after that. Maryam enjoys reading the literature on MYM because it inspires her to be a better Muslim. She hopes that by contributing to this community she can inspire other Muslim youth.


  1. A solid, down-to-earth piece masha’Allah. Really enjoyed how the lack of rhyme/order in the first half mirrors the character’s confusion and loose grasp of time, but when everything cleans up, the lines fall neatly in rhyme and rhythm.

    My favorite lines:

    Sitting at a khutbahWhich my parents dragged me to,
    I receive a wake-up call,
    A chance for faith to be renewed.

    It’s almost like the wake up call came from within you and from the most apt of wake up calls – the adhan.

    Keep writin’ and racin’!

  2. amazing, amazing piece Sr. Maryam! didn’t hear from you for a long time; it’s good to read something from you again :)

    • Maryam Ahmed Reply

      Assalamu Alaikum :)

      you may have me confused with another Maryam, I just recently joined MYM. Jazakallahu Khairan :)

      • Wa alaikum as salam. oops, my bad. We used to have another Maryam Ahmed here before, so I guess I confused you with her. Sorry :) and wa iyyak. Welcome to MYM!

  3. MashaAllah I really enjoyed this! It’s very true how often our prayers become “like exercise”. One of my favorite lines was the one quoted at the top, “I was on my mark, not set”, it really conveys how life is still moving whether we prepare properly for it or not. The start line is already way past us and the finish line is coming, whether we’re prepared or not.

    Solid piece, Sr. Maryam.

    • JazakallahuKhairan Br. Jawaad.

      Subhanallah, that’s the idea the poem is conveying- that life is a journey towards a goal, and we have to align ourselves to ensure we meet that goal.

      • Aw thanks Sabera! I must say it was reall last minute, hence all the mistakes lack of “flow-ness” in the video, lol.

    • Maryam Ahmed Reply

      Subhanallah, I was totally blown away by the video! It brought the poem to life.

      • Shefa Ahsan

        JazakaAllah. I was totally blown away by your poem! ;D mashAllah.

    • Subhanallah, I was totally blown away by the video. It was super awesome!

  4. Oh my gosh! MashaAllah this is GORGEOUS! I love the depth and meaningful message within each line. May Allah SWT bless you Maryam and everyone else that is part of this phenomenal organization. You all are so creative and this is just another step to even more amazing things!

  5. Ameen.

    Masha Allah, I really love this work! It’s really well written and I think serves as a reminder for all of us.

    “By the Time, surely man is in loss…”

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