The Promises We Make to Ourselves

Mount Everest

When I was younger I vowed that I would climb Mt. Everest one day. I think I'll let that one go, since I'm afraid of heights, lol. But there are other promises I have kept, and more yet to be fulfilled. This website is one of them.

By Wael Abdelgawad |

We know that one of the traits of the believer is that he/she keeps promises. And we tend to think of that in terms of keeping promises to others:  family members, friends, business partners, etc.

But what about the promises we make to ourselves? Aren’t those worth keeping as well? Don’t we all promise ourselves when we’re young that we will do something exciting and important in life? Don’t we grow up convinced that we will change the world in some way? Aren’t we sure that we will do exciting things like climb a mountain, help the poor, or save people’s lives somehow?

Why do we give up those dreams? They are not impossible. They are achievable! Many people do such things. Many people do change the world, help the poor, save people’s lives, climb mountains, fly planes, see the world… so why not us? What one person has done, another can do.

And when we’re older, don’t we promise ourselves from time to time that we will get in shape, learn a new language, go back to school, write a book, travel, memorize surahs from the Quran, and more? Aren’t those promises worth keeping? Don’t we owe that to ourselves, as believers and as human beings?

My goal here is not to guilt you, but to inspire you. Those dreams of your youth, and those promises you’ve made to yourself, are within your grasp. Maybe not all of them, but some of them. Or for now, how about one of them. 🙂 Start with that, and I will too, Insha’Allah.

Footnote:  One year after writing the article above, I achieved one of my lifelong dreams:  at the age of 46, I got a black belt in martial arts. I started martial arts when I was 14 and I practiced on and off, but I moved around so much that I never stayed in one place long enough to graduate to black belt. Some might say that getting it at 46 is very late. Maybe so, but I did it. Other dreams of mine:  to publish several books, make a documentary film, get a master’s degree, travel through Africa, go cave exploring… Why not? It’s never too late, Insha’Allah, for me or for you.

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Article by Wael

Wael Abdelgawad is an Egyptian-American living in Fresno, California. He is the founder of several Islamic websites, including and, and also of various technology and travel websites. He is a writer and poet, and has been a web developer since 1997. This project,, is very dear to his heart, as it has allowed him to express ideas that have growing inside him for many years. Wael is divorced and has one lovely young daughter. He practices and teaches martial arts (somewhat obsessively), and loves Islamic books, science fiction, and vanilla fudge ice cream. Wael is an advocate for human rights and blogs about these issues at He is also a volunteer with the MyDeen Muslim youth organization in Fresno. Wael tagged this post with: , , , , , , Read 266 articles by
8 Comments Post a Comment
  1. María M says:

    As salamu alaykum,

    Sounds good. Let´s go for it, insha´Allah.

    Just a sugestion, heal your fears Wael, you don´t need to climb the Everest, you can choose not to do it, but for the right reasons, not for fear, because that fear will take other face, sooner or later, and will show up, causing you to give a step backwards in other dream, there are many kind of ” High mountains” out there. This is just my personal opinion. I am afraid of possible future husbands, in general, and one of my dreams is to have a healthy relationship with a man one day, I am not giving up my dream, I will heal my fears, insha´Allah.

    To fulfill a dream, keep us striving, … there is always one more step to climb, and will put on evidence our flaws, that is one of the good things of being alive, we can always improve ourselves, insha´Allah.

    Just sharing thoughts.



  2. Shareen says:

    Mashallah beautiful article. I’ve been reading most of them and I love them
    They came at a perfect time. I just keep rereading them lol.
    Jazkul Allah khayrun for real you did a great thing making this website. Because sometimes we feel like we’re the only ones going through these hard times. Good to hear your experiences in life I hope inshallah all you seen in life is happiness and joy. 🙂

  3. Mohammed says:

    This is a really nice website. One that portrays Islam in a loving way. I think your on to a great thing here, making inspiration personal unlike the conventional formal articles we area all used to reading. Keep up the great work Brother. 🙂

  4. friend says:

    well done!!! mashallah!

    ofcourse its never too late. people who usually say its to0 late are the ones who have not done it themelves or have not persued something very close to there heart, so they dont have a clue what it feels when you get what you cherished.

    i know someone who was an accountant and wanted to be a doctor, at the age of 40 decided to go for it. gave up her very stable career, went to uni and now at the age of 48 is working as a general pratitioner. she is such a source of inspiration for me.

    another friend of mine her mom is 50 something decided to do masters and last year graduated! so impressed.

    there are certain things in life that are pure qismat, but certain things are pure hardwork and perserverance .

  5. Amy says:

    Curious, what would you get your Master’s in?

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