Start the New Year with Good Deeds
In the passage of time, there lies great mystery and miracle. Allah ﷻ says, “Behold! In the creation of heavens and earth, and the alternation of night and day, there are indeed signs for men of understanding” (Quran 3:190). We ask Allah ﷻ to make us among those of His servants who awaken themselves from the lull of the infatuation of the worldly life and become witnesses to His signs and miracles.
The year quickly comes to a close. It is sealed like an envelope never to be opened on this journey of no return until the Day of Judgment when all men and women will stand before their Lord to account for every year, day, and hour they spent on this earth. Allah ﷻ says, “Oh you who believe, fear Allah, and every soul must consider what they have sent ahead for tomorrow. And fear Allah. Surely Allah is fully aware of what you do” (Quran 59:18).
Like other years that have passed, this year had its bitter and sweet moments. Many people were born, and many died. Once the Hijri year begins, so does a new page in our own life story, a blank canvas ready to be filled with our deeds’ blackness and whiteness. We begin the year with a choice endowed to us by our Creator millions of years ago when He created our father Adam and his wife Hawa; that is, choosing if we will grasp the rope of guidance and adorn our books with good deeds or let it loose and soil our books with evil deeds. Who will fill this new year with committing major sins and persisting on minor sins? Who will continue in their arrogance and envy? And who will be among those who humble and purify themselves by accounting for their deeds? May Allah ﷻ make us among those who account for their souls before they are accounted for by Him.
We begin the Hijri year commemorating our Prophet ﷺ and his companions Hijrah, or migration, to the Prophet’s city that was illuminated by his presence ﷺ. We recall the first community of Muslims and their brotherhood under the leadership of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. We remember how the Muslims were few and how Allah gave victory to His Prophet ﷺ and the believing men and women. We reflect over the Khilafah of al-Siddiq and al-Farooq and the righteous men who followed them, may Allah be pleased with them, and consider how Islam, the Quran, and Sunnah, have been preserved for us until today as Allah ﷻ had promised over 1400 years ago.
In this reflection, we must keep in mind the words of Hasan al-Basri, “Oh son of Adam, you are no more than a number of days, every time a day passes so does a part of you.” Let us ensure that we take advantage of the guidance which Allah ﷻ has chosen to bestow upon us by planting good so that our baskets will be full on the day of harvest.
To be among those who will reap the delectable fruits of their harvests, we must first begin with evaluating our obligations to our faith, from prayer to Zakat to fasting. Should we find a shortcoming in their performance, we must be hasty in rectifying it.
Second, we must cease committing acts that we have been forbidden from, repent to Allah ﷻ, and perform good deeds to wipe away those evil actions. We should seek every opportunity to do good as outlined for us in the Sunnah of our beloved Messenger ﷺ. Such acts include asking Allah to bestow mercy and forgiveness to believing men and women. The Prophet ﷺ promised we would receive a good deed for every believing person we prayed for as related by Obaidah. Volunteering our money and time for the sake of Allah ﷻ is also an easy way to adorn our time with good deeds and earn the pleasure of Allah ﷻ upon us.
Third, we must evaluate our words and actions with a keen eye, the eye of a blameful soul. In the night, we assess the activities of the morning, and in the morning, we evaluate the night’s actions. Considering our time should be a habit as we should be reciting daily from the Quran. Start with the recitation of a few verses a day to not overburden yourself and give up too quickly. Every month or so, you can increase the number to ensure you are consistent in performing good deeds, which is most pleasing to Allah ﷻ. We should keep ourselves among those people who are as critical of their time and remind us to do good by remaining connected to the Masjid. We should be resolute in attending every Friday prayer, congregational prayer, and attending a weekly remembrance circle.
We should also become people of thikr by grasping every opportunity to remember Allah ﷻ and praise His Messenger, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. We should ask Allah for forgiveness persistently during the day and night for those things we know we did and those we do not. Those who ask for forgiveness are those who fear Hellfire the most. We should become aware of every opportunity to gain expiation of our sins, such as fasting the days of Tasooa’a and Ashoora’, the 9th and 10th of Muharram, which are around the corner.
My brothers and sisters, let us take advantage of our every heartbeat and every breath in this worldly life to buy our home in the next life, the final destination, and abode. Let us be among those whose hard work pays off reclining on beds in al-Jannah, surrounded by what no eye of man has seen, no ear has heard, and no mind could have imagined. Oh, Allah make our last deeds the best deeds and the conclusion of all our deeds good and the best of our days the day we shall meet You. Allahuma Ameen.
By Sh. Jamal