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New Year’s Resolutions: Setting Goals

Reverts After The Shahadah Stage:
Take benefit of five before five: Your youth before your old age, your health before your sickness, your wealth before your poverty, your free time before you are preoccupied, and your life before your death. (Prophet Muhammad)
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It is up to all Muslims, reverts especially, to be ambassadors of the Islamic faith

As we prepare to turn the page on yet another year, the time has come to make resolutions for the upcoming year.

Typical New Year’s resolutions, such as committing to lose weight or putting an end to a certain habit, are well and good.

However, for a revert to Islam, placing an emphasis on resolutions that can strengthen the faith while increasing one’s Islamic knowledge are much more rich and result in greater dividends that transcend our worldly existence.

The problem with making New Year’s resolutions is that many of us soon forget about them within a week and go through the motions of another year without even contemplating on the goals we wanted to achieve. That is until another New Year approaches and we make the same empty promises without a clear goal for achieving them.

Why not shake things up this year and make New Year’s resolutions that you can strive to apply to each and every one of the upcoming 365 days?

It’s as simple as making a list of all of the New Year’s resolutions you would like to fulfill and keeping track of your progress throughout the year.

Here are just a few New Year’s resolutions that are beneficial to reverts and will help get them started!

Improving Patience

There are many different kinds of patience.

The ability to keep calm in a distressful circumstance is one type of patience. Being able to cope with hardship and having total faith in God Almighty’s decree is another form of patience. For a revert to Islam, patience is one of the greatest virtues that a Muslim can acquire. To be patient means that you put your very existence into the trust of God Almighty and accept whatever good or bad that befalls you. Prophet Job (peace be upon him) was an exemplar in patience and his story serves as a reminder for all of us even today.

Blessed with riches and loved ones beyond most people’s wildest dreams, Prophet Job had it all and was generous with everyone who crossed his path. It wasn’t until the wiles of the Satan, under the permission of God Almighty, caused him to lose all of his worldly possessions and even his health. And even at the end, when he was a mere shell of a man with nothing to alleviate his suffering, not once did he ask God to remove it nor did he ever give up his faith. As a reward for his patience, God Almighty doubled his wealth and world possessions.

Making a New Year’s resolution to learn Arabic is often one of the first ones that many new Muslims make.

This year, make it a point to remember the story of Prophet Job and really work to be patient in all circumstances. Guard your faith and place all of your trust in God just as the Prophet Job did.

Perfecting the Prayer

The importance of the prayer in Islam, as one of the five pillars of Islam, simply cannot be ignored. Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said:

"The first matter that the slave will be brought to account for on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. If it is sound, then the rest of his deeds will be sound. And if it is incomplete, then the rest of his deeds will be incomplete." (Abu Dawud)

For reverts to Islam, especially for non-Arabic speakers, learning the Islamic prayer in Arabic can prove difficult. However, just because the task of learning is complex does not mean that you can ignore this obligatory act in Islam. The Islamic prayer is a duty and a veritable call to faith every single day of your life.

For reverts whose prayers are lacking in any way, whether in performance or timing, make a New Year’s resolution to perfect your prayers. There are countless ways to ensure that your prayer is perfect whether enlisting the help of a trusted Imam to teach you how to pray or investing in a new smart phone app that plays the adhan (call to prayer) each time the prayer is near. In our age of digital technology, with an abundance of resources at our fingertips, there simply is no excuse for not being able to perfect your Islamic prayers.

Learn Arabic

The language of the Quran is Arabic. The reason being is that the Ummah is one community with one Lord and one language to unite us. Whether you find yourself praying in a mosque in Spain, or even China, you’ll find that the Islamic prayers are consistently delivered in Arabic. Having one language is truly a blessing as there is zero room for ambiguity or confusion. All Muslims have an obligation to learn as much Arabic as required to fulfill our Islamic duties, such as remembering God. Others may go further and learn the entire language, which will also facilitate reading the Quran in its original state of Arabic.

It is up to all Muslims, reverts especially, to be ambassadors of the Islamic faith.

Making a New Year’s resolution to learn Arabic is often one of the first ones that many new Muslims make. However, in order to truly succeed in learning Arabic, you must take a series of steps to achieve this goal. Perhaps you might enroll in a beginner’s Arabic class at your local Mosque or turn to the Internet and engage in an e-learning program. No matter which medium of learning you choose, learning the Arabic language is one New Year’s resolution that can enhance your life exponentially. One day you might find yourself in a position to teach others the Arabic language or, most importantly, the message of Islam in Arabic.

Be an Ambassador of Islam

It’s no secret that Islam often gets a bad rap in the media. However, it’s important to note that it also gets a lot of negativity from some misguided preachers of different faiths who purport a false image of Islam to their parishioners. The negative message they deliver about Islam is often cloaked in fear and trepidation so that the worshippers in these faiths swallow it without question. It is up to all Muslims, reverts especially, to be ambassadors of the Islamic faith. The best way to discredit the negative imagery is to serve as a shining beacon of the Islamic religion.

There are several ways to do this. The first is, of course, to always carry yourself within the dignity of Islam while enjoining what is good and forbidding what is evil.

The second is to surround yourself with like-minded Muslims who engage in activities to uplift the community, whether through community service or other good works.

Last but not least, wear your faith proudly by dressing in accordance with the Islamic faith and accessorizing with a welcome smile that is endearing to even to those confused about Islam.

First published in December 2012
Related Links:
Raising Yourself from Humanity to Spirituality
Peace: What Would Muhammad Do?
Reverts' Journey After Shahadah (Folder)
Ways for New Muslims to Find Inner Peace
A Humorous Australian Atheist Finds Islam
Sumayyah Meehan reverted to Islam almost 16 years ago. She is a Waynesburg College graduate with a BA in Criminal Justice. Sumayyah is currently working on two Islamic book projects. She is a regular contributor to Al Jumuah Magazine and The Muslim Observer Newspaper. Sumayyah resides in Kuwait with her husband and four children.

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