Every New Year’s eve, Azkar and I discuss the things that we want to accomplish in the new year–essentially our New Year’s resolutions. To follow up with our resolutions, we spend the entire year making bucket lists: winter break bucket lists, summer break bucket lists, spring break bucket lists, etc. For over 4 years now, it’s allowed us to be productive with our time, specifically the time we have off from school and demanding responsibilities, and to do things that we would not do otherwise. Things like reading certain books, making key lime pie, sending a message in a bottle, walking a cancer walk, going to the Oprah Winfrey Show, being consistent with our daily thikr (remembrance of God), getting internships and jobs that reflected our desired career paths, having a hadith/ayah of the week, and so much more.
But last year everything was awry. We did not discuss our resolutions until January 3, three days after the norm. This was the first sign that foreshadowed our resolution slump. As we sat together for hours on January 3, 2013 trying to come up with our resolutions, we kept coming up blank. So we decided that maybe making a video of our resolutions would help get our thoughts flowing. But it didn’t. I have about an hour’s worth of video footage of Azkar and me laughing, crying, singing, making duaa and not coming up with our resolutions for the year.
On New Year’s day 2014, I watched our video for the first time since they were made last year, and I saw something that I never saw before: how scared, confused, and lost we really were. And I realized why it was so difficult for us to come up with our resolutions last year. It was not because we didn’t have any goals; on the contrary, our hearts yearned to accomplish so much. Rather, it was because we were living in the midst of uncertainty. There was so much that 2013 would bring that we were scared about and, as a result, there was a lot that we tried to avoid thinking about. It was difficult to come up with goals when we didn’t even know where we would be–literally and figuratively speaking–in a couple of months. Similar to our lack of resolutions, the year passed with feelings of confusion and uncertainty throughout. For the first time in years, we didn’t come up with any bucket lists, and there was very little we tried to accomplish during the year. We were just living life day to day with attempts at strengthening our faith along the way.
This year, as if the ending of 2013 somehow woke us from our slump, we were more active with our resolutions, alhamdulilah. We’ve slowly shifted from uncertainty to clarity, making it easier to focus our goals for the year. Azkar was even caught by Chicago’s NBC Channel 5 at Union Station on New Year’s day where she briefly discussed how she plans to stay on track with her resolutions this year.
January’s theme has been excellence–to strive to do everything to the best of our ability and to do it for Allah’s sake. It’s inspiration came from the Quran:
|قُلْ إِنَّ صَلَاتِي وَنُسُكِي وَمَحْيَايَ وَمَمَاتِي لِلَّهِ رَبِّ الْعَالَمِينَ|
“Say: Behold my prayers, and [all] my acts of worship [devotion,sacrifice], and my living, and my dying, are for God [alone], the Sustainer, Lord of all the worlds…” [6:162]
|Transliteration||:||Qul inna salatee wanusukee wamahyaya wamamatee lillahi rabbi alAAalameen
As mere humans, we tend to get caught up in worldy things. We want to graduate from the best schools, have the best careers, make the most money, get married, start families, and to ultimately be successful. All in that order. When we do these things without Allah in mind, then there is no blessing in what we do and once we achieve these goals, we find an emptiness because we have nothing more to live for. But when we do things for Him, we are doing them for a purpose. Instead of emptiness, we will be fulfilled knowing that everything we do is done to the best of our ability because it serves as a means to get us to Jannah. When we do things for Allah we find that our life goals don’t always happen sequentially, and that’s okay, because in the end, we understand that that is how Allah wanted them to happen and He knows that in this way, our vehicle to Jannah will not fail us.
The January theme could not have come at a better time. I pray that I can find excellence throughout the year as I follow my resolutions and that I can complete them all for His sake. Also, I pray that everyone finds this excellence and fulfillment in their lives. And I pray that those with a New Year’s resolution, stick to it this year and find themselves exactly where they want to be when 2015 rolls around. May this year be filled with happiness, success, excellence and faith for all. Ameen.
NOTE: Despite the fact that we did not come up with any resolutions in 2013, we did start this blog which is something that has been on our bucket list for years. Alhamdulilah.
To read Azkar’s part 2, click here.
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