In the spirit of the Hijri New Year, I’d like to welcome all the new brothers and sisters to our big family, those who have decided to migrate to a new path of spiritual fulfillment by joining the religion of Islam.
You’ve probably been overwhelmed by the warm welcome of the Muslims in your community when you first said your shahadah, and you’ve probably also wondered how long the cheer and support would last.
Well, it should last a lifetime, even if you don’t feel it because people get too caught up in their own lives, remember that your place is the same in our hearts, what’s more, you’re now also entitled to pay forward the love and support to new Muslims who join your community from now on.
My New Year gift to you is this reminder of your new privileges, to see you through the down times when there is no one around to take your hand along the way, and also to be your virtual flashcard of how to support other new Muslims you might meet.
Welcome to the Family!
Remember, you haven’t just subscribed to a new set of beliefs; you’ve actually just joined a global family of 1.8 billion brothers and sisters who love you and pray for your wellbeing five times a day even though they’ve never met you and probably don’t know you well.
You owe them the same: pray for their happiness and wellbeing and ask God forgiveness for them, because as you do that in good faith, you are granted the same that you ask for others whether you know them or not.
God is not Just a Concept
God is really there for you, He knows you by name, He loves you personally and is watching over you every second of your life. He listens when you call on Him and He grants you when you ask.
So ask Him everyday for every minute need you have, He’s not too busy to listen to you, and His treasures are endless, so don’t hold back, He loves to give generously.
Nothing You Do is too Big for God’s Forgiveness and Mercy
His mercy encompasses everything He created. So although you should feel the shame and guilt of disobeying Him in His infinite glory, you should also hope for His unlimited compassion.
Get down on your knees, put your forehead on the ground and say you’re sincerely sorry, from the bottom of your heart, let your tears flow to clean your soul, talk to Him and implore Him to forgive you and give you strength to be a better person, and be certain that He listens and forgives.
By the time you sit back up, your slate is once again sparkling clean; it’s up to you now to re-write the story right from the beginning.
Faith is a Life-Long Journey
The results of our deeds are only known after we leave this life to the next, so there’s no limit to how much goodness you can learn and do until your last breath.
No one is the ultimate authority on Islam except Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
Those you learn from now are only a few steps ahead of you because they have worked harder, not because they are entitled to some special privilege. You too could be like them and even surpass them if you acquire more knowledge and work harder for more experience.
Islam encourages the concept of constructive competition, the type of tenacious will to learn, improve, and evolve with the unrelenting dream of being way out there at the forefront of the believers who do good deeds and remind others to do good deeds in a gentle and wise way.
Good deeds are not just acts of worship, but all things that cause your and others’ prosperity and wellbeing in society, economy, technology, and even the arts. Your journey starts today, enjoy every step and fill your heart with dreams of the unparalleled destination.
Get Back in Touch with Your Soul
We are misleading into ignoring the needs of our souls in order to “free ourselves” and let loose our bodies and our minds. This is a big mistake of modern civilization.
Without your soul you are a machine, not a human. Without the light of spirituality shining on the dark corners of your being, you’ll risk getting sucked into the black hole of emptiness.
There’s a void in our hearts that is designed to be filled with soul-fuel and to be re-filled daily to keep it brimming, if we fill it with fake fuel or leave it empty, we end up deteriorating, literally and figuratively.
Don’t Be a Control Freak!
Contrary to what modern life teaches us, our control over things is limited. Believers are calmer and more content in their hearts, not because they hold on to an illusion, but because they have relinquished some of the control they imagined they possessed to the one whose control is the operating system of the entire universe and everything in it, from the atoms to the galaxies and beyond.
The day you realize that no matter how much you shout, worry, cry, or will things to happen, only what God wills will happen; that day you will attain happiness and tranquility, because you’ll know that as long as you’ve done your part to the best of your ability, you can trust and believe that God too will do His part to His exalted ability.
Today is Just a Step on the Way
The “here and now” is just the result of the past and the blueprint of the future. Your life is one unit, you can’t isolate today from yesterday and tomorrow.
So while you shouldn’t waste today brooding over the past, which you should have repented, or worrying over the future, which you should entrust to its Creator, you should also recognize that what you do today will affect how you live tomorrow, whether tomorrow will be yet another day in this life, or the first day in the next life. Your short-term plan is as long as your life, because your long term is eternity!
Focus your eyes on the goal, which you should derive from the answer to these questions: Why am I here? Where did I come from and where am I going to, and how can I get where I’m going looking and feeling my best?
Wishing you health, wealth and strength to reach your destination with a smile and a winner’s record.
This article is from Reading Islam’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.