The best of people are those with the most excellent character" [Tabarani, Sahih]
We’ve heard it many times: “This year, you’re going to meet a completely different and changed person. Welcome the new me with the new year.” Unrealistic? Most likely. Ridiculous? Absolutely. People tend to think that change and new resolutions are directly related to the beginning of a new year, however, we beg to differ.
With the current year coming to an end, our focus as Muslims should not be on worldly, superficial issues, but something far deeper: our Iman. The problem these days is that most Muslims tend to forget their faith and go about their everyday life without any conscious effort to better themselves. We’ve become more and more immersed in Western culture and their ideals, trying to make them accept us, sinking deeper into the lure of sin and fitnah. But ask yourselves this. Do we really need their acceptance? And just because our beliefs and ideologies differ from theirs, does it truly mean that we have to deviate from a course that was set to us by Allah just to satisfy them?
The beauty of our religion has been tainted and smeared by many, and it is in part our fault. We’ve forgotten to show the world that a simple act of kindness can speak a thousand words. We’ve forgotten to smile in the faces of strangers for fear of suspicion. We’ve abstained from speaking the truth and raising our voices for fear of judgment. We’ve slowly begun to conform to society’s ways that we’ve completely lost our individuality, dreading the idea of becoming an outcast among our peers. However, it is these traits that were once our pride and glory, traits that were the norm in our beloved Prophet’s (SalaAllahu Alayhi wa Salam) routine. So why have we strayed from his example?
Change is not exclusively related to the new year. In fact, all these presumptuous notions of new resolutions with every coming year are both absurd and hypocritical. These ideals are not in accordance to what our Prophet (SalaAllahu Alayhi wa Salam) has taught us. Islam, the religion of mercy and forgiveness, taught us that change is an everyday process. We are all human, all mere slaves of Allah Subhanahu w Ta’ala, and thus Allah gave us the wisdom to distinguish and choose between right and wrong. A person’s change can happen over the course of a few measly hours or a few years. At the end of the day, it is the strength of our character that is the decisive factor.