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Saturday, December 31, 2011

A new year, a new beginning

New year's are happy things, like new school books; blank and ready to be filled with our writing and numbers. They hold great promise. I used to make a long string of resolutions, which if carried out correctly would make me practically perfect in every way. Needless to say, those resolutions would hold for a week or so and then would fade away, even before I got used to writing the new date instead of the old. This year I got a different idea, which is not new or original at all, but older than when people had diaries and wrote resolutions in them, older than the start of this way of calculating years.

As I was listening to the Juma khutba yesterday, the Imam reminded us that the first thing we will be asked about on the Day of Judgement will be our five daily prayers. He went on to say that if the condition of our prayers would be good, the rest of our questioning shall be easy. This means that if we try our best to observe the five daily prayers, the rest of our lives will naturally reap the blessings of that devotion and mindfulness. All our affairs will be blessed as we will be aimed for the straight path. If we don't pray, or pray without being mindful, then the very first thing we account for and that we are responsible for, will be a big flop and the rest will come crashing down after it. May Allah protect us from that.

Our prayer is really a little resolution and accountability session in itself, if we choose to think about it that way. When we stand before Allah at various times during the day, we are in different states. In the morning, fajr is like the start of a new year, a new day, a fresh page. We have a chance to ask for guidance for the entire day, and to resolve to do what is right. After the entire morning, usually devoted to work or school, we stand for Zuhr. We have a chance to think about the direction in which our day is going. If we are not doing what we aimed for, we can change the direction with Allah's help, asking for His guidance. The same is true for Asr and Maghrib. Isha is like the final station for our train before it rests for the night. We are tired and sleepy by now, the day is almost done. We have a chance to ask forgiveness for the mistakes we made, to check in and make sure our souls are still on track. What a beautiful way to be accountable for our lives, to live a life of great purpose!

So I don't think I shall sit down with a diary for this years resolutions. I have just one. One thing I can attend to, put my focus and energy on and it will help regulate and improve the rest of my life. It feels much simpler than before. Surely I can honor this one resolution? Well, if I forget, I shall have five chances every day to get it right!

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