A New Year's Resolution
(Bringing Islam to the World One Concept at a Time!
Taking the Qur'an to Every Home and Heart that Needs It --
And which One Does Not?)
Every Day Is New Year's Day
If you are a Muslim, every day is New Year.
Every day is the first day of the new first year of the rest of your life. So, even when it comes to celebrating the New Year, Islam gives you more than anyone else. It gives you more than you ever thought you could get.
Islam gives you a New Year's Day every single day.
Night and Day
Allah says in the Qur'an that he structured his creation in pairs. Among them is light and darkness; life and death; illness and health.
Night, says the Qur'an, Allah made an occasion for rest. Night drapes around God's creation the way garments drape around the human body.
And day, Allah says in the Qur'an, he made so people would strive for their livelihood.
Qur'an: Wa ja'alanallaila libaasan.
Paraphrase: We made night a garment.
Qur'an: Wa ja'alnannhaara ma'asha.
Paraphrase: And we made day a livelihood.
Subhaanallah, how beautiful, crisp and clear are the words of the Qur'an.
Life and Death
When it is night, prepare for death, for, don't you see how closely sleep resembles death, in spite of all the differences you may cite.
And when the dawn arrives it brings with it the stirrings of new life everywhere. So, every day is the beginning of an entire new life for you, if you only knew and understood it.
So, fear Allah during the night. And prepare to serve Allah and his creation during the day. For, he watches over you during the night and he monitors your every movement during the day.
How difficult is that idea to grasp?
Allah's Remembrance Is the Key
Thus, in both life and death - during night as well as day - thinking of Allah is the key. That is part of the culture that Islam came into this world to teach people: to constantly connect and reconnect with the real source of all energy, light, hope and power in this world - God Almighty.
Thus did Prophet Muhammad, Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam, teach us the proper etiquette of sleeping - as well as waking up: Lie down on your right side and place your right palm under your right cheek.
And then you say: "With your name, my Lord, I die and live."
This is my paraphrase of the original of course. Here are the original words of the Hadith - 1400 years old - transmitted through some of the most authentic books on earth and through an unbroken chain of generation after generation of those who remembered, read and practiced them, down to our own time.
Hadith: Allaahumma bismika amootu wa ahyaa.
You got a better model, a grander or nicer or a more profound or practical way of doing it, I say to you with all love, respect and humility: Bring It On!
Put it on the table and let us talk about it.
Dawn of a New Day: Picking Up the Thread
Then a new dawn cuts open the dark mantle that night had so mercifully draped around you. Wakefulness stirs your bones and muscles giving you a new lease on life for this day.
But who could tell for what amount of time even during this one day - this new day of the rest of your life - your own personal, custom-made New Year's Day, as it were?
So, what mindset do you bring to this new day - to this fresh start that God has given you on a new life? What reaction do you show to this enormous favor that has been conferred upon you?
Well, how about showing some class?
How about, for example, kissing the hand that feeds you? The hand that lulled and rocked you to sleep last night, and does so every night; the hand that did not choke life out of you while you were asleep; the hand that gently, without your even realizing it, tugged you back to full life this morning, and does so every morning.
You say: "I thank God Almighty for giving me life after death. Now I know what resurrection is all about. Being raised from the dead is all about."
Why take my paraphrase of the real thing? Here is the original Hadith for you.
Hadith: Alhamdulillahil-ladhee ahyaanaa ba'ada maa amaatanaa wa ilaihin-nushoor.
That is what you say if you have any class or sense of gratitude.
So you pick up the thread in the morning exactly where you left it last night: Your life and death are both firmly and squarely in the hands of Almighty Allah. Your past life ended last night. And you are starting a new life this morning.
So, Ladies and Gentlemen, you got a better way of doing things, I submit to you: Bring It On!
Resolution at the Dawn of a New Life
If any of what I said earlier is true, anyone with any sense will know what resolution to make for the first day of the rest of one's life.
And for the remainder of one's life, if the above model has any validity.
That resolution would include things like the following:
"Of course Lord," you will say. "You are my lord and master. You don't need anything or anyone and you certainly don't need me. But I am your creation and I am entirely and totally dependent on your mercy and grace for everything in every single moment of my life.
"So Lord," you will continue, "I do hereby resolve, commit and undertake to spend the rest of my life in knowing you; and in learning your commands; and in serving your creation in every possible way that I can."
"And in so doing Lord," you will further state, "I resolve to work tirelessly to improve my own life as well as the lives of those around me and to make this world a better place for all of your creation."