By Imam Fuad
Can you believe we are wrapping up the year and starting a new one? You are probably thinking what are you talking about, we are in the middle of July, we have nearly six more months before it is the new year! It’s understandable because according to the dominant culture, we won’t be welcoming in the new year for another six months. But as Muslims we have our own calendar we must be aware of. We are in the blessed and sacred month of Dhul Hijjah, this is the 12th month of the Islamic calendar. When we pull the curtain on this month, it will not only be the month that will be ending but also the year of 1444. This marks 1,444 years since our blessed Messenger ﷺ made Hijra from Makkah to Madinah.
As we are wrapping up the year and starting a new one, it is a time in which we should reflect on the year that has passed and our lives in general. As time moves along, so do our lives. Imam Hassan al-Basri described this perfectly when he said:
“O son of Adam! You Are Nothing But A Number Of Days Whenever Each Day Passes Than A Part Of You Has Gone.”
How much of your year has passed in a manner that you will be pleased with when looking back at it? We are in a race towards our graves, and we have just gotten an entire year closer to it. For some of us this could be the year in which our life will come to an end, May Allah take us when he is pleased with us. Whether we return to Allah ﷻ in this year or not, one thing is for sure, we are each getting closer to the moment when we will return back to our Creator ﷻ.
This is the reality of the turning of the year. We need to use this precious time to reflect, rectify, and plan for the year ahead. We should reflect on the days that have passed and answer a few questions:
- Did I increase in righteous deeds?
- Did I decrease in evil deeds?
- Did my relationship with my Creator improve?
- Have I increased in knowledge?
- Did the year pass without any change to my character for the better?
These are just some starter questions amongst many that we need to reflect on. If we answer the questions in ways that are not pleasing to us today nor pleasing to us on the day that we will have to read the book of our deeds, we have to move to the second step which is to rectify.
Depending on what needs to be rectified we have to take the following steps.
- For what is between the servant and the Creator ﷻ, rectification requires istighfar and tawbah. We need to constantly be in the state of seeking the forgiveness and pardoning of our Creator ﷻ
- If the matters that need rectification are between the people, we need to make an effort to squash what might be between us and ask for forgiveness for any wrong doings that we might have done or perceived to be done by the other individual. Internally you should also forgive them for what they might have done to you. This is a general advice and might not be applicable to every single situation.
After this we should move on to the third step which is to plan for the year ahead. When it comes to planning for the year ahead, we need to focus on three areas.
- What are things that I definitely can not miss out on?
- What are things that I have to improve on in this coming year?
- What are the habits that I must leave behind this year?
For example a person could plan for the following things; On the day of Ashura I am not going to miss the opportunity to fast that day as well as the day before or the day after since the reward for it is that the sins of the entire previous year will be forgiven. This takes us back to the rectification of what is between us and our Creator ﷻ. Another thing that I can not miss out on is fasting during the month of Muharram is it is the month in which fasting is most beloved to Allah ﷻ outside of Ramadan. Muharram is also the month that is known as the Month of Allah Muharram. Another thing you could make a plan for is performing umrah or hajj.
When it comes to things to improve on, you can make a goal to seek sacred and beneficial knowledge. This is a habit that every single one of us should undertake. It is from the most rewarding actions that a person could engage in. And it is now easier than ever! I offer multiple classes at different locations in the Bay Area that will In Sha Allah increase our collective knowledge and understanding of Islam. Whether it is joining our Sharh Sunday program that is currently focussing on giving us a footing in understanding what is required when it comes to the Worship of Allah, or the advanced hadith program that occurs on Saturdays that takes us through works that will familiarize us with the Hadith of our messenger ﷺ. If weekends are busy for you, then maybe attending the course on the lives of the companions Thursday nights at MCA might be the way for you to fulfill this goal.
This needs to be the year in which our knowledge and righteous deeds increase, while our evil deeds and habits need to at least decrease if not fully disappear. But we will not be able to accomplish our goals if we don’t have a clear plan for what we want to accomplish this year. Our messenger ﷺ has clearly clarified for us that the most intellectual person is one that holds themselves accountable while planning for what is to come. While the fool is the one that just lives is life with no accountability or planning for what is to come. May Allah forgive us for what has passed and accept our righteous efforts in the coming year. Ameen.