By Dr Qari Muhammad Asim
Senior Imam – Makkah Masjid, Leeds
As New Year 2015 approaches us, millions of people throughout the world are making New Year resolutions. People resolve to bring about changes in their lives and make their lives better. January 1st is a time to get rid of bad habits and start anew. Popular New Year Resolutions include:
- Getting a job or a better Job or getting married
- Lose weight, control diet or join a gym
- Spend more time with family
- Become good at managing time and stress
- Quit smoking, drinking, gambling
The list is endless and these are all very worthy resolutions.
In Islam, every day is the first day of a new year of the rest of one’s life. Islam gives us a New Year’s Day every single day. Therefore, in addition to the usual resolutions, we propose that Muslims consider making some resolutions of a ‘religious’ nature which will connect them to their Creator and help them find inner and outward peace and solace. New Year can be a time of contemplation and spiritual renewal. The majority of Muslims do consider their faith to be very close to their hearts and they do want to become more ‘practicing’ Muslims; a “Muslim” means “one who submits to the Will of Allah”. In order to turn this desire into a reality, it is important to set oneself SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timely) goals and objectives.
These SMART goals will vary from an individual to individual. We recommend that goals are set bearing in mind the following two categories:
First, making a resolution to do one or more good action(s) throughout the year 2015 CE/ 1436 AH – no matter how minor or small the virtuous deed may be. It could be a resolution purely of personal nature; for instance, establishing daily prayers, improving concentration in prayers, reciting the Glorious Qur’an daily, reciting salawat (darood) on the Prophet (peace be upon him), reading a commentary of the Noble Qur’an, learning about the faith, learning to be more positive, kind, forgiving, patient and disciplined. Or it could be a resolution concerning helping others, such as spending time with family members, helping others with their daily chores, organising sports activities for the local youth, volunteering time at the mosque. Or it could be supporting local ‘social actions’ and giving something back to the community; actions could range from feeding homeless, working with organisations to seek justice for those suffering, raising funds for local charities and hospices, mentoring and inspiring young people etc.
Implementation of the goal(s) may take less than ten minutes a day or an hour a week but its impact and reward cannot be measured.
Second, making a resolution to give up one or more bad habits/wrong actions/sin(s) – no matter how minor or small the particular habit may be. The commitment to oneself may be to give up eating junk food, smoking sheesha, telling lies, backbiting, harbouring bad feelings for people, yelling, gossiping, stealing, cheating, abusing spouse or children or parents, gambling, drinking and many others. One should keep in mind that any activity that is forbidden in Islam is unhealthy. Giving up bad habits will bring a radical change or transformation in one’s life.
May Allah Almighty accept our good intentions and make us realise our dream to get closer to Him and His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him). We pray that Allah, the Most Compassionate, enables us to make the most of the upcoming year and we value our time, our health, wealth, our family and friends, and everything else that He has granted us. May the Most Merciful make the upcoming year one of great contentment, happiness, prosperity and advancement.