Let us increase our taqwa to Allah s.w.t. Obey all of His commands and abstain from all His prohibitions. Let us extend our deepest gratitude to Allah s.w.t. for blessing us with time and longevity to witness the new year. May we continuously strive to better ourselves and improve our deen. Amin.
The start of 2018 is a great opportunity for us to map out and determine our goals in life. It is highly encouraged to ensure that our time here is filled with meaningful and beneficial acts. Those who have the initiative to do so will never be at loss, even when they are tested with various challenges and hurdles in life. Let us reflect on what Allah s.w.t. mentions in surah Al-‘Asr: which means: “By time. Indeed mankind is at loss. Except forthose who believed and done righteous deeds, and advised each other to truth and advised each other to patience.” The loss that was mentioned in the aforementioned surah is a potent reminder that we should always strive to optimize our time living on this earth. A mukmin should realize that he has been bestowed with blessings from Allah s.w.t as mentioned in surah Al-Israa verse 70, which means: “And We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea, and provided for them the good things, and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference.”
Beloved Jemaah, Let us grasp this opportunity at the start of the new year to draw up meaningful resolutions and instil the desire to undertake beneficial deeds. If we find lapses in our deeds and ibadah, then let us strive to better equip ourselves with religious knowledge. If we find ourselves disappointed by our examination or work results last year, then let us strive to find the grit and determination to excel in our work and studies. If we have been practicing many unhealthy habits, then let us imbed the discipline in ourselves to further prioritize our health and wellbeing. Whatever our resolutions may be, let us ensure that it will lead us towards positivity. A positive attitude in life is crucial as it remains to be the sole drive that will help us throughout our journey, especially when we are tested with countless obstacles. A believer (or mukmin) who has a positive outlook on life will always find the good in every situation. He will constantly search for the silver lining behind the clouds. Remember a hadith that was reported by Imam Muslim which means: “Wondrous is the affair of the believer for there is good for him in every matter and this is not the case with anyone except the believer. If he is happy, then he thanks Allah and thus there is good for him, and if he is harmed, then he shows patience and thus there is good for him.”
Jemaah, let us take note from what was mentioned in the hadith, describing the best way one should respond when we are faced with either good or bad circumstances. One should always try and optimize the situation he is in, so as to be able to benefit from it. The ability to remain patient and grateful despite every hurdle, demands that we embody a positive attitude, that does not give up easily nor does it lose hope. Hence, to commemorate the beginning of this new year, allow me to share several suggestions that can help boost our positive attitude.
First: To remain optimistic
To be optimistic requires one to have faith (iman) in facing any challenges. It is also the foundation for building a positive attitude in oneself. Optimism trains us to look from a positive standpoint of any situation that we are in. However, we do acknowledge our lapses as mere servants of Allah s.w.t, as occasionally, the tribulations we face may dampen and crush our spirits. Hence, in order to heighten the sense of optimism in ourselves, Rasulullah s.a.w. taught us a supplication that encompasses all forms of goodness and positivity, Rasulullah s.a.w. mentioned, which means: “O Allah, I ask You for all that is good, in this world and in the Hereafter, what I know and what I do not know.” [Hadith reported by Ibn Majah].
Second: To be aware of the intention behind every action.
In Islamic law, there is a legal maxim which states that: Every action is based on its intention. It means that the status and ruling of every deed is based on its intention. If we ponder on the meaning of this legal maxim, we will understand that the resolutions and goals that we have set for ourselves at the start of the year, serves as an intention. Our intention to take action, to put in efforts and to improve ourselves throughout the year. No matter how small the accomplishments we achieve or efforts we undertake, if it is borne out of noble intentions and a pure heart, it will surely be rewarded. If we are mindful of the close correlation between intentions and the rewards that follow, I am confident that a positive attitude will always be present, even when we are facing the toughest challenge and obstacle.
Third: To constantly seek help only from Allah s.w.t.
Allah s.w.t. mentions in surah Al-Ankabut, verse 2, which means: “Do the people think that they will be left to say, “We believe” and they will not be tried?”
Jemaah, it is evident that the life of a believer will never be shy of Allah’s tests. Find solace in knowing that every test will surely come to an end, and while we may not have the power to determine its outcome, Allah s.w.t. has blessed us with the freedom and the will to strive. Hence, it is only through constant strive and determination, will it leave an impact on the outcome of these difficult situations. In addition to this, we also have been taught by our beloved Messenger s.a.w. to always supplicate to Allah s.w.t. and to be mindful of His presence in life, especially in times of trials. Rasulullah s.a.w. used to recite this supplication, as captured in a hadith reported by Ibn Hibban, which means: “O Allah, there is no ease except in that which You have made easy, and You make difficulty, if You wish, easy.” May these brief reminders assist us in becoming better believers who will always remain positive. May our efforts to achieve our goals bring us closer to Allah s.w.t Amin, Ya Rabbal ‘Alamin.