We have entered 2024, and this gives us an opportunity to reflect on our past, to strengthen our resolve and renew our intentions.
Firstly think about:
Think about the positives, the wins and successes. Why?
For every difficulty there is always a silver lining, sometimes you’ve just got to take another look; extract the gems. ‘So, surely with hardship comes ease’. (Quran 94:5) — that’s eases, plural! Often we may find ourselves focusing only on the negatives. For many of us this has been a year in which we’ve seen some of the worst horrors imaginable. The silver lining of this is that it’s a wake-up call for us. A way to realign ourselves with our true purpose on this temporary world. When we soak up the gratitude for even the small moments, the little things, we realise that we really don’t need much to be truly happy. All we need is a little gratitude.
We can’t know the good without the bad. Things are known by their opposites. So when we see the worst of the world it helps us to appreciate and better understand the good. This leads us into reflecting on The Challenges:
Recognise in yourself what’s not been so great. What are we holding onto, what habits, or character traits are we clinging to that do not benefit us, but instead harm us? It’s not a call to dwell or despair on it, but instead to gently recognise it so that we can do something about it. “The mujahid is the one who strives against his own desires.” (Tirmidhi)
—Sayyidi Habib Umar bin Hafiz
The suffering of even one of us affects the whole, the Ummah. So the efforts we make to rectify ourselves, and heal, also affect the whole. “The example of the believers in their affection, mercy, and compassion for each other is that of a body. When any limb aches, the whole body reacts with sleeplessness and fever,” this Hadith from the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ teaches us about the collective responsibility we have to change ourselves, and to do what we can to alleviate the suffering and oppression that the Ummah faces. When we reflect on this, we allow ourselves to think about what really matters in our lives, and thereafter renew our intentions to engage in better actions which benefit you and the Ummah in this world and the next.
Here’s one key questions to ask yourself. How do I want to be? When you ask yourself this, you’re pushing yourself to envision what excellence looks like for you. And for us, the goal is to develop character like that of our beloved Prophet Muhammad ﷺ. So think about what he ﷺ is like, and how you can emulate that noble character! What do you need to change, and what are the steps to take to get you there?
If you want to begin that long journey into yourself, that journey of change and transformation, see our Islamic Studies for Total Transformation masterclass. It’s design is based in Ghazalian methodology, a tried and true method for spiritual betterment that has been used in the Islamic world for centuries!