General Islamic Topic

The Year Changes, Have We Changed?

We had just entered the New Year 2019 according to the Gregorian calendar. Definitely there were numerous moments of happiness and sorrow that we all experienced throughout the year 2018. The question is, how was the performance of our deeds throughout those 365 days that had passed? How far did we get in utilizing our time spent? Have we fulfilled all of the commands from Allah? Or are we continuously in the state of negligence, heedlessness, and deceived by worldly enjoyments that are temporary?....

We had just entered the New Year 2019 according to the Gregorian calendar. Definitely there were numerous moments of happiness and sorrow that we all experienced throughout the year 2018. The question is, how was the performance of our deeds throughout those 365 days that had passed? How far did we get in utilizing our time spent? Have we fulfilled all of the commands from Allah? Or are we continuously in the state of negligence, heedlessness, and deceived by worldly enjoyments that are temporary?

In the hadith of ibn ‘Abbas, Rasulullah said (which means):

ْ”There are two blessings which many people lose: (They are) Health and free time for doing good.” [Narrated in al-Bukhari].

May these two blessings not harm us, but instead they are utilized in gaining as much provision possible in meeting our Creator. May the days to come become beneficial in the lives of us all.

Every year, surely we will determine several resolutions for ourselves. Hence, with this new year, there are several guidelines in initiating transformations within oneself so that those resolutions can be attained effectively and actioned upon.

FIRST: SELF-EVALUATION
We must evaluate (muhaasabah) our progress and development towards Allah. Are our deeds, quality of iman and taqwa of Allah actually on the increase or on a decline? Allah reminds us in verse 18 of Surah al-Hashr (which means):

O you who have believed, fear Allah. And let every soul look to what it has put forth for tomorrow – and fear Allah. Indeed, Allah is Acquainted with what you do.” [Al-Quran, Surah al-Hashr, verse 18].

SECOND: DETERMINATION
We must have solid determination to improve our lives at all times purely for the sake of Allah. As Muslims, let us remain resolute in attaining as many rewards possible and also the pleasure of Allah. Are the qualities of our obligatory and supererogatory prayers enhanced? Do we actually have istiqamah (steadfastness) in attending circles of knowledge? Have we abandoned all forms of disobedience and prohibitions by Allah?

Let us instill firm resolutions for the sake of Allah Alone and seek His Pleasure in attaining salvation in this world and the Hereafter.

THIRD: PLANNING
Every resolution determined must be followed up with organized planning that includes strategy or approach taken, as well as resources in putting them into actions, so as to yield positive impacts. Every planning that is executed must conform to the Shari‘ah of Allah. On the authority of ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr  who said: Rasulullah said (which means):

None of you [truly] believes until his desires are subservient to that which I have brought.” [Narrated in al-Bayhaqi].

FOURTH: IMPLEMENTATION
A matter that has been properly planned must be implemented with diligence until one successfully achieves its defined ideals or resolution. Islam takes great seriousness upon its adherents that do not act upon what they utter. Allah mentions in verses 2-3 of Surah as-Saff (which means):

O you who have believed, why do you say what you do not do? Great is hatred in the sight of Allah that you say what you do not do.” [Al-Quran, Surah as-Saff, verse 2-3].

After planning and remaining resolute, it is unfitting for us to delay in executing a matter that bring about good such as salah (prayer), tawbah (repentance), sadaqah (charity), and daily affairs. This is because we truly do not know what will happen in the next second.

FIFTH AND FINAL: ISTIQAAMAH
Retaining something that has been attained will definitely be faced with various challenges. Therefore, I implore upon the Muslim ummah to always remain istiqamah (steadfast) in maintaining obedience upon the commands of Allah, as well as sabr (patience) in avoiding His prohibitions. Let us always supplicate so that we will remain istiqamah in the transformation towards good and always bestowed with the guidance of Allah.

Allah mentions in verse 112 of Surah Hud (which means):

So remain on a right course as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turned back with you [to Allah], and do not transgress. Indeed, He is Seeing of what you do.” [Al-Quran, Surah Hud, Verse 112].

On the authority of Abu ‘Amr who said (which means):

I said, “O Messenger of Allah, tell me something about al-Islam which I can ask of no one but you.” He (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said, “Say I believe in Allah — and then be steadfast.” [Narrated in Sahih Muslim]

Source of article: Friday Sermon (Khutbah) of State of Selangor (Malaysia) on 4 January 2019/27 Rabi’ul Akhir 1440H.

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