With 2019 fast approaching, it can be easy to get swept up in the festivities and fireworks. While taking time out to enjoy each other’s company is important, it is also equally important to take a step back and reflect on how to better ourselves for the new year.
In the spirit of the new year, and in the hopes of remembering how to live our lives as proactive and conscious Muslims, here are 10 new years resolutions we can all implement into our lives.
1. Be more patient
“Be patient, indeed Allah is with the patient.” [Quran 8:46]
An important lesson both the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophet taught us was to be able to stay patient with whatever may challenge us in life. Whether it be with our own souls or with the obstacles we face in this world, it is always important to stay patient and steadfast no matter what the adversary might be.
“Noone can be given a blessing better and greater than patience.”
2. Give more charity
“Those who spend their wealth in Allah’s cause are like grains of corn which produce seven ears, each bearing a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies (His reward) for whom He wills.” [Quran 2:261]
Charitable acts in Islam, whether it be giving in the form of money to those in need or simply giving a heartfelt smile to a kind stranger, is a requirement on us all. By giving more to help our fellow human beings, we are in fact enriching our own lives as well.
3. Make more dua
“When my servants ask you concerning me, (tell them) I am indeed close (to them). I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on me.” [Quran 2:186]
While we focus (rightfully so) on our required prayers throughout the day, it is also important to remember the importance of praying and making dua’a outside of our required prayers. Connecting with and spiritually loving Allah can be manifested in many different ways, but by making an extra dua’a one can connect with our spirituality on a whole different level.
“The most excellent worship is Dua” (Sahih Al-Jami). And another says: “A slave becomes nearest to his Lord when he is in prostration. So increase supplications in prostrations.” (Sahih Muslim).
4. Focus on prayer
“And when you have completed the prayer, remember Allah standing, sitting, or [lying] on your sides. But when you become secure, re-establish [regular] prayer. Indeed, prayer has been decreed upon the believers a decree of specified times.” [Quran 4:103]
Although it can be easy to procrastinate or make excuses to skip or push back our daily required prayers, it is imperative that we all make a commitment to better ourselves when it comes to prayer. The Holy Quran, as well as the Prophet, helps remind us that prayer should always be one of the things we strive to be better at the most.
5. Educate yourself
“Read! In the Name of your Lord Who has created (all that exists). He has created man from a clot (a piece of thick coagulated blood). Read! And your Lord is the Most Generous. Who has taught (the writing) by the pen. He has taught man that which he knew not.” [Quran 96:1-5]
One especially unique aspect of Islam is the fact that learning, education, and treasuring intelligence is an important part of being Muslim. Believing and practicing is not a simple act of only physically praying or saying the shahada, it also means that as Muslims, we must constantly be reflecting and learning about our religion, our history, and our universe.
“Seeking knowledge is an obligation upon every Muslim.”
6. Don’t be quick to anger
Following both the sunnah and as well as what our Holy Quran reminds us to do, we should all remember to not be quick to anger, and to instead learn how to control irrational emotions to better conduct ourselves in society as well as to be at a better peace with our own nafs.
“The man is not a good wrestler; the strong man is in fact the person who controls himself at the time of anger.”
Another hadith teaches us how to combat anger: “If one of you got angry while standing then sits down, or if sitting down then lay down. If anger does not go away then do Wudu” (Abu Dawood).
7. Stop yourself from gossiping
“Oh you who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth, lest you harm people unwittingly, and afterwards become full of repentance for what you have done.” [Quran 49:6]
Gossiping or backbiting is one of the most harmful aspects of our society, and Islam rightfully warns us of the dangers of spreading false knowledge or hurting someone simply for a story to tell. What may seem like simply a good story might in fact be gossiping and hurting others, and it takes a lot of patience and strong will to rid ourselves of the habit of gossiping.
8. Read more Quran
“A Book (the Quran) which We have sent down to you, full of blessings that they may ponder over its Verses, and that men of understanding may receive admonition.” [Quran 38:29]
It may be hard to take time out of our busy days, but to take even five minutes to read or listen to the Quran will greatly benefit us, and should be something we all collectively try to improve on for the new year. As the word of Allah, by reading more Quran we are therefore listening to Allah more closely and hopefully will become better Muslims through it as well.
“Verily the one who recites the Quran beautifully, smoothly, and precisely, he will be in the company of the noble and obedient angels. And as for the one who recites with difficulty, stammering or stumbling through its verses, then he will have twice that reward.”
(Sahih Al Bukhari)
9. Be more forgiving
“And let them pardon and overlook. Would you not like that Allah should forgive you? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” [Quran 24:22]
Learning how to forgive can be one of the most difficult we as human beings can learn, however it is also one of the most rewarding experiences as well. The Holy Quran reminds us numerous times that being able to forgive is an important part of being a true believing Muslim.
10. Keep Allah at the center of your life
“And We sent not before you any messenger except that We revealed to him that ‘There is no deity except Me, so worship Me.'” [Quran 21:25]
Remembering the concept of Tawheed, and the oneness of Allah is one of the most central aspects of Islam. It can be hard to implement this in our daily lives, but as we grow and learn in our religion we should always be aware of the depth and importance of the concept of tawheed.
“Say: Verily I call to my Lord and I do not ascribe any partners to Him at all.” [Quran 72:20]