By Norhafazah Rashid
Muharram marks the first month of the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, making it a little different from the Gregorian calendar. Thus, the lunar month of Muharram shifts from year to year.
This blessed month is also one of the four sacred months, which Allah has mentioned:
“Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them….” [Surah At-Tawbah:36]
These four months, according to the authentic traditions are the months of Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, and Rajab.
All the commentators of the Holy Quran are unanimous on this point, because of the Prophet ﷺ in his sermon on the occasion of his last Hajj, has declared:
“One year consists of twelve months, of which four are sanctified months, three of them are in sequence; Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah, Muharram, and the fourth is Rajab.”
Since today marks the new day of the new year in the Islamic calendar, it would be the best time for one to look back on their past, contemplating every success and failure he has committed.
It is a well-known practice worldwide that people tend to evaluate themselves, reflecting upon all the actions they have done whether they are good or bad, and resolve to try their level best to implement that change.
One of the greatest people who ever existed, who was also popular among the Prophet’s companion has said:
“Judge yourselves before you are judged, evaluate yourselves before you are evaluated and be ready for the greatest investigation (the Day of Judgement).” – Umar Al-Khattab.
Ordinarily, this high spirit kicks off at the start of New Year and often it will gradually decrease during the process of completing the resolutions throughout the whole year. Why do you think this happens?
Because our approach to what our resolutions should be is rooted in far-fetched and broad ideas which are impossible to work towards.
This time, let’s try to set a smaller resolution and be consistent with it.
Abu Hurairah reported: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said,
“Take up good deeds only as much as you are able, for the best deeds are those done regularly even if they are few.”
I have my methods of making sure I will always try to be consistent in achieving my resolutions.
Identify and create a list:
Take some time to reflect on yourself. You should know yourself the best, to create a list of your good and bad traits. Identify and focus on the one you should improve. This could be something as straightforward as “time management” or something as specific as “always make my bed right after I wake up”.
Remember to set practical and realistic life-changing resolutions to make them achievable.
Make a timeline:
Draw a timeline of your resolutions and make sure you reach the deadline. Make this first day of Muharram as your starting point, and by setting yourself a deadline, you boost your chances of actually fulfilling the resolution in the first place.
Make a habit to always check your list and make sure you are consistent in moving towards your goals.
Aim for your ultimate goal:
Have you ever thought to yourself, “I will do my best to excel in this exam?” So you studied hard, you pray to Allah like there is no tomorrow, do lots of nafl prayers, practice qiyamul lail, in hope to get His barakah and His help so Allah will grant your wish. You become very dependent on Allah. And in the end, your hard work is paid off. You passed your exam with flying colours.
But then, what is going to happen after that? Would that be your finishing point?
Let’s change this habit.
Whatever it is you are doing, it should always come back to Allah. So by now, you should know that your ultimate goal is; to please Allah.
So, instead of hoping for the Dunya, we go for something more. Put a higher purpose in what we’re doing: serving Allah. You know, study is also one of the roots of Ibadaah. So renew your intentions regularly: To study and excel for the sake of Allah. So that when we graduate (excellently), we can be what we want, as for me: A Network Engineer.
Not just a normal Network Eng., but a Muslimah Network Engineer who excels in both Dunya and Deen.
See, if you put Allah in everything, you will have a never-ending goal. You aim to return to Him with that “first with distinction degree”. We will work hard to achieve that awesome goal and we place our trust and reliance on Allah (The Most High), in terms of both our worldly affairs, as well as our Deen forever. Isn’t that the most beautiful thing?
“And whoever trusts in Allah, He is sufficient for him. Surely Allah attains His purpose. Allah indeed has appointed a measure for everything.” [At-Talaq : 2-3]
With Allah as our goal, nothing can ever be in our way!
I understand, our imaan is not always constant (otherwise we wouldn’t be human.)
We have our ups and downs. Let’s pray with this motivation, we will not slack off from the right track. And even if we were, that “awesome goal” we just set will bring us right back on track.
So, now you see my theory?? Lets put our very best work in it, shall we?
In the lights of Muharram, why not you consider improving ourselves to become a better Muslim. There’s nothing wrong to overachieve, but set a goal in which you know you can fulfill.
Change takes time to develop, not everyone has the spiritual strength to have an immediate change. Indeed setting a goal to change is a stepping stone to develop further into a better Muslim.
Apart from reflecting, one can work to seek knowledge and understand more about our deen. You might want to check out AlKauthar Online courses offered, from personal development and Islamic tarbiyah, there are so many things that we can learn inshaaAllah.
May Allah grants us complete understanding and strength in renewing in our faith.