The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said, “If one gives charity, it does not diminish his wealth; if one forgives others, God bestows more honor on him; and of one humbles himself for God’s Sake, He exalts him higher.” [Muslim]
Resolutions That Matter!
By Taha Ghaznavi
Intro to Islamic Calendar
and New Year:
- How the Islamic calendar
- Umar ibn al-Khattab
and keeping track of letters with time-stamps, uniting the different dating
methods of his time
- Counting back to
the year of the Hijrah to determine when to start
- 16 July, 622 CE
= 1 Muharram, 1 AH
- Our year begins
with Sacrifice (hijrah of Muslims, of Prophets) and ends with Sacrifice
(hajj, hijrah of Hajra, hijrah of Ummah to Makkah)
- Not from someone's
birthday, or some king or ruler's orders, but from the foundation of the
Islamic community, on brotherhood and unity we begin and end
- Lunar: Based upon
the moon, accurate, close, visible, reminder of the beauty, order, submission
of Allah's creation but also its imperfection, its rise and fall, it needs
the sun to shine, we interact with the signs of Allah when we look for
the new moon every month, it is not passive time-keeping and time-passing,
it's natural, animals, sea-creatures, oceans, plants, even human cycles
are lunar timed
- We rotate through
the seasons, dynamic, perpetual, summer is not just in June, Eid is not
just in winter, a nation of all times and all seasons, we remain steadfast
no matter what the season
- Note the meaning
of the names of the months and compare to the pagan Gregorian names:
- Muharram ["Forbidden"
- it is one of the four months during which time it is forbidden to
wage war or fight]
- Safar ["Empty"
- Rabia Awal ["First
- Rabia Thani ["Second
- Jumaada Awal
- Jumaada Thani
- Rajab ["To respect"
- this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited]
- Sha'ban ["To
spread and distribute"]
- Ramadan ["Parched
thirst" - this is the month of Islamic daytime fasting]
- Shawwal ["To
be light and vigorous"]
- Dhul-Qi'dah ["The
month of rest" - another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
["The month of Hajj" - this is the month of the annual pilgrimage
to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
- We look at history
through the Seerah, the greatest life ever lived, everything is either
before or after Hijrah, "Allah has renewed time", it's a universal new
beginning in the history of man and civilization with the Hijrah of the
Prophet and our forerunners at its centre piece
- Need and benefits
of making resolutions
- Commitment to betterment,
- Prophet made resolutions
(e.g. to do Hajj, to do jihad, to free slaves, to fast Muharram, etc.)
and kept them
- Sets goals, vision,
challenges for the coming year
- Organizes life,
prevents efforts from going to waste on unworthy activities and causes
- Sense of accomplishment
at the end, new horizons for new year
- Write them down
in your planner, put them up on your wall/desk, and read them every day
to remind and renew your resolve, don't let them be forgotten
- Pick and choose
from the 33 resolutions mentioned the one's that are closest to your heart
and you believe you can implement, don't take up too much and then be
- But remember always:"He
whose 2 days are equal is a sure loser!" Hadith
- Your greatest challenge
is not to be better than someone else or to be like some scholar or personality
or to 'get with the programme' but to be constantly better than, to outthink,
outdo, outsmart, impress, surprise yesterday's you!
Worthy New Year Resolutions
- Will join a Halaqa
- an Islamic study group
- gain knowledge for
personal improvement and service to community
- strengthen brotherhood
and work with others
- make sacrifices to
attend and share with others
- re-charge spiritual
batteries after week of studies, cure weak lazy Iman
- learn leadership,
critical thinking and public speaking skills
- fall in love with
the Quran and engage in Allah's remembrance
- Will not let myself
be bored or sit idle
- Not waste hours
watching TV, playing video games on the latest 'playstation 10' and 'game-tetrahedron'
(face the Ka'aba not the Cube!)
- Will find work to
do and take initiative myself without anyone asking
- Boredom is a disease,
sign of poor life management, lack of direction or purpose, life is too
exciting too be bored!
- Entertainment is
not a replacement, don't expect others to entertain you or find things
- "One who helps someone
in his need, Allah helps him in his work, and one who removes any worry
or trouble of any Muslim, Allah, in return, removes anyone of his worries
on the Day of Judgment"
- Lost time is lost
- Will get to know my
neighbours and give them a gift on Eid.
- Do you know who they
are? What is their name? What do they do? Do they need you? Can you approach
them? What have u ever shared with them?
- Kindness towards
neighbors is actually a duty in Islam. The Qur'an says, in Sura'tul Nisa,
Ayat 36, "Serve Allah, and join not any partners with Him; and do good
- to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near
[relatives], neighbors who are strangers [non-relatives], the companion
by your side, the wayfarer and what your right hands possess. For Allah
loves not the arrogant, the boastful."
- Amr-bin-Shuaib reported
from his father who [reported] from his grandfather that the Messenger
of Allah said, "Do you know what the duties of a neighbor are? Help him
if he seeks your help; give him safety if he seeks your safety; give him
[a] loan if he seeks your loan, give him relief if he is needy; nurse
him if he falls ill; follow his bier if he dies; cheer him if he meets
any good; sympathize with him if any calamity befalls him; raise not your
building higher so as to obstruct his air without his permission; harass
him not; give [to] him when you purchase fruit; if you do not, take it
secretly; and let not your children take it out to excite thereby the
anger of his children" (Maulana Karim, pp. 253-4).
- Ibn Mas'ud reported
that a man asked the Holy Prophet, "Oh, Messenger of Allah! How can I
know when I do good and when I do bad?" The Holy Prophet said, "When you
hear your neighbors say you have done good, you have done good. And when
you hear them say you have done bad, you have done bad" (Maulana Karim,
- Will find a poor,
needy, unemployed, sick, orphan, lonely Muslim in my community and befriend
him or her.
- This is the sign
of a true Muslim, selfless altruistic love and concern for others, remembering
those who are oft-forgotten, caring for the uncared, speaking for the
- Do you know a poor
Muslim in your building, your area? Do you know who to give Zakat, Qurbani
too even? It's not that they don't exist, we just don't make an effort
to find out such Muslims and families
- Abu Hurairah (RA)
relates that the Holy Prophet (SAW) said, "A man set out to visit a brother
in the neighboring town. Allah deputed an angel (for his protection) on
his way. When the man met the angel en route, the latter asked him, 'Where
are you going?' He answered, 'I want to visit my brother who lives in
this town.' The angel asked, 'Are you going to take some valuable thing
to him?' The man answered, 'No. I have no desire except to visit him,
because I love him for the sake of Allah only.' The angel said to him,
'I am a messenger from Allah sent to tell you that Allah loves you as
you love your brother for His sake.'"
- Remember Allah in
Surah al-Maoon says the person who does not ENCOURAGE the feeding of the
poor or does not do the SMALL ACTS of kindness has belied the Deen, is
untruthful/insincere in it, and then Allah curses the one's who pray to
be seen as their Salah is useless if it done to just show outward Islam
whereas the inside, the heart, is empty and sealed from mercy and goodness!
- Will not eat (out)
alone, will always share my food
- Make every meal a
time for gathering and sharing
- Learn to share from
your food, you will see the effect it has on you
- Have family dinners,
don't just wake into your home and eat while watching TV and checking
mail, get together with parents and siblings and have a proper meal
- This is where families
meet and discuss their days and lives, be part of it, and start this tradition
if it does not exist anymore in your home!
- Will give gifts to
5 people I don't know for no reason and expecting nothing in return
- That's one person
who won't forget you next Eid or ever for that matter!
- The Prophet used
to give to his Sahabah from everything he received
- Will give up an addiction
Will do something
for the environment.
- could be internet,
pornography, games, cigarettes, parties, music
Will not enter the
home without a smile on my face and saying salaam
- It never ceases to
amaze me how, even though Allah calls Muslims the "best of peoples, evolved
for mankind" (Holy Qur'an, Sura Ali Imran, 3:110) and has appointed humans
as his "agents, inheritors of the earth" (Sura Al An'am, 6:165), we are
often very negligent when it comes to caring for this Earth that is our
home and that of our children and their children as well.
- Allah commands us
to be mindful of the resources that He has placed at our disposal - He
forbade the unnecessary cutting down of trees, and He emphasizes the need
for cleanliness (which would extend to our environment and, thus, make
polluting the earth abominable). Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also reminded
us of the importance of cleanliness when he said, "Cleanliness is half
of faith." We are ordered to make ablution before prayer, and also to
make sure that our places of prayer are free of contamination and filth.
Since the entire world (except restrooms, graveyards and other forbidden
areas) is a potential place of prayer for us as Muslims, it follows that
we should be mindful of preserving it in a state of cleanliness.
- As Allah's vicegerents,
surely, we should be foremost in efforts to protect our environment -
in any manner that we might possibly do so.
Will 'adopt' and be
a mentor/role-model to a small brother or sister in the family, at the mosque,
Islamic school, or among circle of family friends
- They deserve it,
think of how their day was, what they did to allow you to go out and do
whatever you were doing
- Greet them at the
door, make them feel special and loved
- Sign of a healthy
Will take a course
to help the Muslim community
- To find Islamic role-models
is one of the hardest things today
- Be that one that
families, children, youth look upto as an example of a good Muslim, human
being, successful in all aspects of life, and there for others
- Children run around
our Islamic centres coz no one cares to talk to them or play with them
while the 'adults' discuss their important matters
- Who is going to take
care of these matters when the 'adults' are gone? The children!
- Your brother/sisters
gets enough negative brainwashing at school and on TV, you are lucky if
the time you spend with them barely neutralizes that effect much less
gives them confidence in their identity, self-respect, uniqueness, special
Will promote women's
rights, representation, equality in some way
- e.g. conflict resolution,
anger/addiction management, grief counseling, family/youth/marriage counseling,
small business management, running a charitable non-profit organization,
interacting with media, negotiating/leadership, project management.
- "The best of you
is the one most useful to others"
- Just because you
are willing to help does not mean you are able or equipped to handle every
- Need to be professional
in how we run our masjids, schools, etc.
" At masjids, youth groups, Islamic work: Get sister's input on matters effecting
both brothers and sisters
" Stand up against prejudice or gender bias from a person
" Don't ignore half the Ummah, they are probably the better half and have
been for the last few centuries when Muslim men gave up their duties, responsibilities,
struggles for Islam
" Their jihad in the home has continued with or without support
Will join a
" e.g. illiteracy, poverty ("hateful to Allah"), third world rights, women's
abuse, homelessness, soup kitchens, food banks, blood donation
" It's not 'volunteer work' for Muslims, it's caring, guardianship for the
creation of Allah who Allah made us a Khalifah of
" Being Muslim is not just about attending Halaqas and coming to gatherings
but social justice, harmony
" Islam is and has been a socially conscious, useful, and egalitarian way
of life, we believe we are only as good as the poorest, weakest amongst us
" Remember Abu Bakr's speech on becoming Khalifah!
" Allah connects Taqwa, Iman, Ihsan and all other "religious concepts" to
practical humanitarian work
" Nobody gives a damn about humans in today's world, Islam is all about humans,
individually and colelctively
Will read, learn
and memorize the Seerah and stories of Sahabah
" The greatest, most inspiring story on earth, never get boring, never loses
" The reminders and lessons of the lives of these great women and men should
run off our tongues and permeate our minds
" To everything, we must know what did the Prophet do? What would he have
done? How did Umar think? What did Ibn Masud say? Etc.
Will visit a
sick or dying Muslim whenever I hear about it no matter who, known or unknown,
Paki, Indian, Arab, or Somali.
" Ali (RA) reported, "I heard the Messenger of Allah say, 'There is no Muslim
who visits a Muslim in illness at morn except that 70,000 angels pray for
him till evening, and if he visits him in evening, except that 70,000 angels
pray for him till morning. He will have a garden of fruits in Paradise.'"
at least one funeral prayer, will help carry the bier, and stay still burial,
" it becomes wajib upon you when you hear about it anyways!
" The feeling and atmosphere is indescribable
" Nothing gets your life back in order, your priorities straight, and your
head and heart where they belong, than seeing death so near
" We are made to forget death in our everyday lives, it is trivialized on
TV, nature hides death from us, but it is closer to us than our feet (Hadith)
" Attending a funeral, praying for another Muslim's forgiveness, watching
the family grieve, offering your support, secretly helping changes you (unless
you intentionally remove it from our mind), who will pray for me? Where will
my janazah be? Where will I be buried?
" Quite bleak stuff but helps to think about it every once in a while!
Will honour and
respect my parents so much that it shows
a Muslim who is not of my ethnic, cultural background, language or nationality.
" Get rid of latent, hidden racism and cultural jahiliyyah
" Look at your circle of friends, who are they? Do others feel welcome in
Will talk to
my father about my plans
" for the future, for my studies, my marriage, my career, my personal life's
goals and expectations and ask for his advice and guidance, that is what he
is there for
Will stand up
for a just cause when nobody else will,
" for Allah's sake even if alone, will not compromise on a principle when
everyone bends the rules, will speak the truth when everyone else got away
" Think of the story of 3 who were left behind for jihad but did not lie to
get away but Allah forgave them and honored them
Will fast Mondays
o Start with the fasts of Muharram
o Prophet recommended fasting at least 3 days a month
o Could also fast on the Days with "white nights" (13, 14, 15th of a month)
o Develop and maintain habit of voluntary fasting, develops self-discipline,
regularly exercises will, determination, inner strength/resolve, sense of
accomplishment, special feeling of closeness to Allah, get a head-start on
the week on Monday and prepare for Jumu'ah on Thursday
Will pick up
an Islamic art
o Graphic Design
o Music, Songwriting, Nasheeds, Hamds
o Poetry and prose
o Storytelling, writing children or adult fiction
o Chronicling a life, a leader, your mother, a community, a masjid's history
o You have gift, find it, and if you can't, support others who are trying
Will make special
" for friends, classmates, young people, parents, Imam, a person I don't like
" draws you close to the person from within
" what you wish for Allah to grant another person is what Allah will grant
" don't rely on your own dua's for yourself, pray for others so that they
may pray for you!
Will take care
of my health - drink more water:
o "We made water essential for every life," (Qur'an 21:30) Very few people
drink the doctor-recommended eight to ten cups of water a day. Most people
drink only three cups of water a day or less. Even worse, many people cancel
out what they do drink by drinking coffee, green tea or sodas which cause
dehydration in the body. One can solve many health problems simply by drinking
eight to ten glasses a day.
Will give up
o The Prophet said, "Allah has forbidden you ( 1 ) to be undutiful to your
mothers (2) to withhold (what you should give) or (3) demand (what you do
not deserve), and (4) to bury your daughters alive. And Allah has disliked
that (A) you talk too much about others (B), ask too many questions (in religion),
or (C) waste your property," (Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 6).
o Everyone seems to have a bad habit that harms his or her health. Drinking,
smoking and overeating are the most popular. However, there are many other
bad habits that are unhealthy as well, such as: drinking excess coffee or
colas, eating junk food, harboring bad feelings for people, yelling, gossiping,
stealing, lying, cheating, watching too much TV, gambling, and many others.
o Keep in mind that any activity that is forbidden in Islam is unhealthy.
Also keep in mind that any activity that starts to become and addiction (such
as television, coffee, a friend and even your job) is also unhealthy.
o Make a pledge to yourself to identify your addictions and stop them (in
the case of alcohol or smoking) or at least reduce them to a healthier level
(in the case of indulgent socializing, work and television).
o "A strong Muslim is better than a weak Muslim, and there is good in both"
o There are people who smoke, people who eat junk food, people who have a
family history of disease and people who have stressful lives. But are very
healthy. Why? They exercise!
o Their enthusiasm for joining a health club, swimming and sports teams, or
their dedication to walking once a day, or taking a KungFu class on a regular
basis, has more than made up for their lack of dedication in other health
areas. I do not recommend eating badly or smoking, for doing so will eventually
catch up to you, but if you could change just ONE thing related to your health
it should be to exercise.
o Keep in mind that exercise can even be as simple as praying five times a
day. Many people have compared the benefits of the Muslim prayer with those
of yoga, and it's far more meaningful!
Will have a more
positive and friendly attitude:
o "Give Glad tidings to those who exercise patience when struck with adversity
and say, 'indeed we belong to God and to him is our return' such ones receive
blessings and Mercy of their lord, and such are the guided ones," (Qur'an
o Start cultivating a positive attitude. There is a mountain of physical and
medical evidence now to support that a positive attitude can work miracles
both on your health and in your interactions with others
o Be happy, don't find excuses to be depressed, lazy, give yourself credit
o Being friendly and happy raises your threshold of anger and you will not
be easily upset by trying situations
o Maintain a level head, be moderate in your emotions, Allah knows we need
more people like that in our masjids and councils and committees! :
Will sleep on
o "Lo! your Lord is Allah Who created the heavens and the earth in six Days,
then mounted He the Throne. He covereth the night with the day, which is in
haste to follow it, and hath made the sun and the moon and the stars subservient
by His command. His verily is all creation and commandment blessed be Allah,
the Lord of the Worlds!" (Qur'an 7:54).
o Allah created night time for a reason - to rest, but it is amazing how few
people use that time to actually sleep. In fact, many research studies show
that lack of sleep can exacerbate almost any health problem from hypoglycemia
and diabetes to pain and mental illness. Even missing an hour of sleep on
a regular basis can harm your health.
o Sleeping on time, after praying 'Isha, and waking up for Fajr and going
to the Masjid, is an amazing feeling
o The time after Fajr is the most productive time of the day, you will get
more done between 6-9 in the morning than you will all day. Try it with any
Will pray more:
o A man who was stung by a scorpion was brought to the Prophet [peace be upon
him]. He said: Had he said the word: "I seek refuge in the perfect words of
Allah from the evil of what He created, "he would not have been stung, or
he said, "It would not have harmed him," (Bukhari: Book 28, Number 3890).
o " And when I sicken, God heals me," (26:80 Qur'an).
o There are entire sects and groups of people who do not use conventional
medicine at all, but, rather, use prayer as medicine. Even the Prophet himself
used prayer alone as medicine in many instances. In addition, many new studies
have found that prayer does have healing effects - for the prayer as well
as the prayed for
o People who pray live longer, healthier, are more balanced and calm. That
is if you need medical reasons to pray more!
Will keep good
o "The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: Allah has cursed wine, its drinker,
its server, its seller, its buyer, its presser, the one for whom it is pressed,
the one who conveys it, and the one to whom it is conveyed," (Bukhari: Book
26, Number 3666).
o In many cases in the Qur'an and Hadith it is mentioned that you do not actually
have to perform a bad act to be affected by it. Muslims are encouraged to
"hang out" with people they would like to emulate and not with those that
are a bad influence on them. This influence, in fact, can come in many forms.
o Do you hang out with friends that drink, smoke or consume too much coffee?
Does your office always have donuts available for breakfast and your local
grocer always have goodies on sale? Start hanging out with people who have
the good habits of eating well and start shopping in stores that offer healthier
whole grain and organic foods. Reduce time spent with people or in places
that are a bad influence.
Will laugh more,
o Allah's Apostle said, "The strong is not the one who overcomes the people
by his strength, but the strong is the one who controls himself while in anger,"
(Bukhari: Volume 8, Book 73, Number 135).
o Laughing, instead of yelling, has enormous healing potential. Tell jokes
to your children, listen to comedy on radio or television, buy comedy tapes,
and read the comics in the newspaper. Laughing has been found to have therapeutic
o On the other hand, anger has been found to reduce immune system function.
my time equally between personal work, family time, and Islamic work:
o Will be your greatest challenge to achieve this equilibrium
o The division is not always constant, a dynamic process of allocating time
and resources, changes from week to week depending on urgency and priorities
o Use any extra time you find for personal 'ibadah, take it as a gift from
Allah that you found free time and use it to grow close to Him
o Make sure you know what is personal e.g. studies, academics, career, internet,
emailing, what is family time e.g. going out with family, house work, visiting,
and what is the time you give to Islam and to your community e.g.
o Don't be satisfied with just one use of your time or thinking one replaces
the other or being 'busy' is a valid excuse for abandoning one or the other
o Allah knows, the community desperately needs our service. And there are
plenty of programs, within our own community and without, that channel the
efforts of volunteers to meet these needs - tutorial and mentoring programs,
senior citizen programs, food bank and housing programs. So there is definitely
not a shortage of opportunities to provide service.
o Then why aren't so many of us more involved in helping those who are in
need? I bet that if most of us were to ask ourselves (or others) that question,
the answer would be that we don't have enough time. Time, time. We have empowered
what is actually an abstract and intangible concept. We have allowed "Time"
to become our master… even, perhaps (Astaghirullah), our Lord.
o An Imam once offered Tafsir on the ayat in Qur'an (Sura'tul Baqarah, Ayat
268) that reads, "The Evil One threatens you with poverty and bids you to
conduct unseemly." He suggested that this threatened poverty implies not only
a loss of material resources but that of time and energy as well.
o Many of us are too busy or preoccupied with our personal affairs to be of
much service to anyone else, or to the community. However, we might wish to
take note that BUSY can stand for: Being Under Satan's Yoke (unknown author).
Will act upon
what I learn and learn what I act upon:
" Make action points from everything you learn, e.g. what can I do put a book
I just read into practice
" If your reading, learning, experiences in Islam are not effecting you day-to-day
life then it is quite useless. Learn the way of the Sahabah
" But also will not take 'lack of knowledge' as an excuse for not doing something,
but instead use it as an opportunity to learn, that is practical useful knowledge
that becomes wisdom, instead of just data, facts, and tidbits
Date/Time Last Modified: 1/2/2007 10:32:07 AM
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