A new year is upon us. New opportunities, new chances to do good, to change myself and my community to the better.
Every so often I try to keep track of the Islamic date. Allah swt. tells us :
“God decrees that there are twelve months – ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth – four months of which are sacred…” [9:36]
Still, I failed to take notice that we had entered the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic Year. One of the 4 months mentioned in the verse above as Abu Bakr ra. relates from the Prophet saw. :
“The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred: Three are in succession Dhul-Qa’ da, Dhul-Hijja and Muharram, and (the fourth is) Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumadi-ath-Thaniyah and Sha ban” [Bukhari Vol 004, Book 054, Hadith 419]
A holy month in which both good deeds and sins are greater in their value than in other months. As the Ayah carries on saying:
“…this is the correct calculation(deen). Do not wrong yourselves in these months…” [9:36]
Knowing this I feel guilty, guilty for sinning continuously. Sometimes I feel as if I could drown in my own sins.
It ultimately is myself that I am wronging. Allah swt. is not affected by it, it is I who is harming myself. Whether that be physically, mentally or spiritually. I know, that whatever Allah swt. has forbidden He has done so to test me, to protect me, to save me from succumbing to my own self.
As I sit here reflecting over the past year, I see holes that need filling. Mortar has fallen of my foundations, a renovation is needed.
I cannot afford for my foundations to crumble. I’d be lost without it. Lost, wandering from place to place. Homeless. Unsheltered. Taking what I can to stay alive in this society. Just surviving.
The cards are stacked against me.
Negative influences get stronger, his whispers shaking the ground on which my house of cards is built.
Can it withstand that single rain drop falling on top of this collapsing structure?
I’m scared. The wind blowing, a storm is brewing. The cards silently lifting off the ground, up into the sky, into freedom. Or what I perceived of it. The clouds growing thicker, darker, bigger robbing me of my sight, thunder robbing my hearing. My screaming echoing in my throat, not allowed to leave its confines.
A strong gust leaves me hanging, in the unknown. Although… its getting warmer now, the darkness lifting slowly. Branches… I’m stuck in a tree. “Don’t worry” it tells me, “you’re safe for now. Look around you, you’ll find that many are experiencing the same thing as you do”
Indeed, this tree with its roots buried deep into the ground was of a different kind. It’s foliage all kinds of cards. Its branches decked in spades, hearts, diamonds and clubs as if growing out of the tree.
A community is born in the branches of this new World, different than any other, strange even, very strange.
I thank Allah swt. for granting me another year. With each year passing and my birthday only 2 days ago, I remind myself that I also passed my death-day. So the question I ask myself is, what have I prepared for it? What was my struggle? Have I done enough to die happy on my next breath?
Or did the status I have and my own arrogance, that I have in spades, deter me from lowering my head, from dirtying my head on the ground, from being humble towards my Lord? It is He who decides true nobility, for He is the King of all Kings.
Have I become a clergy of this world, enslaving myself to it? Has the world filled up my heart, instead of being filled up with the One that created it? The world should be in my hands, be like a traveller in this world. Benefit from its shade and move on.
Has my trade distracted me? Have I become a bankrupt merchant, selling my Religion for a small temporary win. All the diamonds and treasures in the world do not amount to the worth of this Deen.
Have I become a peasant? Being used day and night, gaining nothing, but spending Friday nights in clubs forgetting all about it? I’m as slave indeed, my name does say so. I am the slave of the Almighty, the Lord of all the Worlds, the Most Merciful to all of His creation.
I am Abdur-Rahman.
Have I forgotten my purpose?
Kul am wa antum bikheir