Firstly, I wish every reader and their families and friends Eid Mubarak. I hope this day is filled with special moments, timeless memories, and the greatest joy. And also, in this time of celebration, remember those who are in need – who do not have, and need our help and support not only during Ramadaan and Eid, but throughout the year. I don’t only mean financial support, or food or clothes; I also mean time – the most valuable of our resources. Spending time with those who don’t have others to spend time with – whether they are without family or friends on this day, or whether they are alone permanently, because they’re in a strange town, or for whatever reason.
Giving and sharing is something which should become second nature to us, and I hope it is something we can take from this month of Ramadaan and make a permanent part of our lives.
Onto the topic of the post: New year’s resolution.
For me, my annual cycle runs from Ramadaan to Ramadaan. Eid ul-Fitr, for me, marks the beginning of my new year. I know that Islamically there is a different date for the new year, and in the Gregorian Calendar it’s obviously January 1st – but I think personal measurements like this are important, and this Eid, each year, marks the beginning of my new year.
So, as is customary to many people, a new year means new year’s resolutions.
Ramadaan is the perfect training ground and classroom, because in it, Allah shows us the very best of ourselves: what we are capable of achieving, the very best we can be – in character, in ibadah, in speech, in action, in thought, in everything.
So the last few years, at the end of Ramadaan / on Eid, I’ve made a list of the things I want to take out of Ramadaan; lessons, self-development goals, improvements, etc.
On this day of Eid, our slates are wiped clean. All our sins are forgiven, and we have a clean start. (NB: This doesn’t apply to major sins – Tauba must be made for those)So this is another reason to make it the personal start of the new year.
My biggest resolution, my biggest ambition for the new year, is Taqwa.
We’re often told that Taqwa means “consciousness of Allah”, or “fearing Allah” – and I always understood that, but understood it kind of superficially. You could say the impact of that word – the true meaning as it relates to me personally – didn’t make it’s impact on my heart; until now.Now I understand what it is – what it is to me, and this understanding, I hope, is the key to trying to consciously work towards this goal.
My personal definition of Taqwa – as it relates to me – is as follows:
- A deep, intimate, and permanent (i.e. absolutely constant) awareness of Allah.
- Knowing He is WITH me. Not just as some ‘external’ entity ‘watching’ me – but actually WITH me. (As He says, He’s “closer than your jugular vein”).
We can’t comprehend HOW He is “with” us – but we don’t have to. Allah does not fall into the realm of space or time, because space and time are created – and He is the Creator of those things. So it’s not for us to wonder ‘where’ He is, or ‘How’ He is…but just to know that He is; and most importantly on a personal level, that He is WITH US.
Your definition may be different; and a scholar may differ too – but at the end of it all, it boils down to your personal relationship with Allah. And no book, no scholar, no one else can ‘instruct’ you on what your relationship with Him is. It’s the most personal thing you have.
My resolution is:
- To remember this Taqwa, treasure it, nurture it. Let it underlie every intention I have, every decision I make, every action I take.In short, I want this Taqwa to be my guide in life.
- And in protecting it, to keep away from anything that would undermine or harm my relationship with my Creator.That bond, that deeply intimate personal relationship with my Creator, is the most important thing to me. And every act, and every influence, every thing that threatens that relationship – is an act, an influence, and a thing that I want to stay away from; because to lose this relationship would be to lose everything, to be totally hopeless both in this world and the next.
So, I know this is a big ambition – but like so much in life, I don’t intend to try and achieve it all in one go. Little by little, starting with the core, I hope to work at this, and insha-Allah eventually achieve this goal – this goal which is not one-off, but continuous and eternal.
The biggest challenge would probably be the ‘protection’ part of this goal – keeping away from the influences and things that I want to avoid.
But, Alhamdullilah, unlike previous years, I have more going for me this year. I’m on the brink of starting a new life, a stage on which I believe I am capable of reaching my potential, becoming the best I can be, insha-Allah.
So, this is the time to take the opportunity.
I have the will to achieve this new year’s resolution. I now need to work on the way to doing it. And, insha-Allah, I’ll soon have the environment / structure in place to support me in getting there.
In closing, whatever your personal annual cycle is, and however you make your resolutions and plans for your life, I hope that this month of Ramadaan has built you up to a position of strength; a platform from which you can move forward and advance towards becoming the person you dream you can be.