Salam Maal Hijrah 1431 and Happy New Year 2010.
I am blessed to celebrate two new years within two weeks apart from each other. 1 Muharram 1431 is the New Year for the Hijrah calendar that Muslims worldwide celebrated on 18 December 2009 and on 1 January 2010 is the New Year for the Gregorian calendar that most people in the world celebrated and most countries recognized as the standard calendar.
To most people, Hijrah calendar is unfamiliar and to some, even unheard of, and sadly, including some Muslims. There are non-practicing Muslims who are ignorant of their own religion and are Muslims in name only. There are practicing Muslims who pray and fast like rituals and read the Al-Quran but know not the meaning, and thus become nothing but recital of meaningless Arabic verses, and quotes the Hadith but care not to embrace Al-Quran and The Prophet’s Sunnah, and care not to learn how The Prophey and the Kaliphs, following Al-Quran and The Prophet’s Sunnah, successfully built Islam to become THE most powerful, revered and embraced religion in the world for more than ten centuries.
I confess, I was one of them, regrettably though, until that turning point that changed my paradigm.
After completing the ESQ Basic Training on 13 December 2009, I decided to turn around and dedicate my life to seeking Allah’s love and forgiveness. For, I have been a sinner for many years of my life – I committed sins of the heart, sins of the mind, sins of the body and sins of the soul. For, reveling in the pleasures that the material world has presented before me and subscribing to the paradigm of today’s hedonistic world that defies religion and spirituality, I have for many years turned my back away from God. For, I was losing my religion. For, I was playing hide and seek from the truth. For, I was a coward who was afraid of the truth that is in the Al-Quran.
Closer to Earth, let me quote Michael Johnson, one of the greatest sprinters of all time who said, “That first peak is the best place to pause and look back, to see if you took the easiest route, to learn the lessons from the first climb. And it is the best place to examine the terrain ahead, to change your plans and goals, to take a deep breath and begin climbing again.”
From the first climb, I fell many times, but am grateful that I have not fallen into the deep ravine, and I have been given the opportunity to pick myself up again. I have learned my lessons hard, expensively and painfully. I am bruised and broken but I survive, so it is a good sign that I am destined to live and thrive. I am now examining my terrain ahead, and I have decided to let go of the things that are not working in my life. I am throwing away all the worthless junks that have weighed me down me and keeping only the treasures that are worthwhile keeping.
As I embrace the third verse of Surah Al-Maeda [5:3] from the Al-Quran, the final revelation to The Prophet, “This day have I perfected your religion for you and completed My favor unto you, and have chosen for you as religion AL-ISLAM”, I embrace Islam holistically – in my heart, in my mind, in my body and in my soul from this moment on.
I found my religion. I found God. I found love. I am no longer afraid of the truth. For years, I have wondered what it meant when people say “the truth will set you free”. I still am not 100% sure what it means, but indeed, I feel free after surrendering to my Creator and His Will. I feel free in my heart, in my mind, in my body and in my soul.
In the name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful, I am now taking a deep breath and am climbing again.