Let us strive to increase our taqwa to Allah. Heed all His commands, and abstain from what He has prohibited upon us. May we be prosperous in this world and the hereafter. Amin.
We are at the end of the year 1437 Hijriyyah. How fast time flies. Indeed, time waits for no one. Tomorrow is the last day of the year, and the day after will be the first day of the new year, 1438 Hijriyyah.
The passage of time, the change from day to night, the passing of the months and years – these are all among the signs of Allah’s greatness. Allah says in verses 190 and 191 of Surah Ali Imran:
Meaning: “Indeed, in the creation of the heavens and the earth and the alternation of the night and the day are signs for those of understanding. Who remember Allah while standing or sitting or [lying] on their sides and give thought to the creation of the heavens and the earth, [saying], "Our Lord, You did not create this aimlessly; exalted are You [above such a thing]; then protect us from the punishment of the Fire.” (Q.S Ali Imran  : 190 -191).
Blessed Jemaah, I believe that many of us here make all sorts of resolutions at the start of the new year, especially us believers. Surely we do not want the time and years to go by, without any improvements to our lives and ourselves.
What were our resolutions and plans when we ushered in the past year? And after a year has passed, what are the outcomes? Have we worked hard to try and fulfil those resolutions? Which of them were successful? And which ones remained only as resolutions?
No one can deny that as human beings, we are Allah’s creations with plenty of weaknesses. No matter how strong we are physically, or how smart and wealthy we are, there are still boundaries and limitations.
However, unfulfilled goals do not equate to outright failure. There are many factors that could hold us back, or prevent our efforts from bearing fruits. In fact, some of these factors are beyond our control. However, what is important are the efforts and diligence that we put in, for those are the valuable qualities in the sight of Allah. As believers, we are taught in the Quran to be resolute and have the desire to try. We are also taught to be confident that Allah rewards us based on our diligence and efforts. Allah explains this in verse 105 Surah Al-Taubah:
Meaning: “And say, "Do [as you will], for Allah will see your deeds, and [so, will] His Messenger and the believers. And you will be returned to the Knower of the unseen and the witnessed, and He will inform you of what you used to do.”
Blessed Friday Jemaah,
It is normal to be tested with challenges as we strive to better ourselves or attain our dreams. But for the believers, words like bored, disappointed, to sulk, or to give up, do not exist in their dictionary. Instead, every step forward is a success for him, because Allah will reward every effort. Allah determines whether or not he will reach the end, or attain his objective. That is the sweetness of the concept of tawakkal – it motivates one to rise after facing failures. A believer will plan his steps so that he will continue to move forward, even with the possibility of falling. In fact, he will feel that it is a big loss to not take any steps simply because he is haunted by the possibility of failure.
Hence Jemaah, continue to strive diligently to add more meaning to our lives. Do not give up even if our plans fail. And do not ever blame others, fate or the situation if we have yet to attain success. Whatever our backgrounds, and no matter how dark our days were, Allah promises success for us if we continue to be diligent in our efforts and in supplicating to Him.
Learn from the lives of the Prophets and Messengers, especially from the sirah of Rasulullah s.a.w. His life was full of challenges from the time he was born, yet he never used them as excuses not to move forward. Nor did he use them as barriers from fulfilling his responsibilities in spreading mercy and goodness. Our beloved Messenger s.a.w. was born as an orphan, for his father passed away when he was still in the womb. His mother, and then his grandfather who cared for him, passed away when Rasulullah s.a.w. was still a child! When he called his people to believe in Allah, his own people hurt him and all sorts of accusations were thrown at him. Rasulullah s.a.w. then lost his beloved wife and uncle, two people who stood by him and were his strongest supporters when life was extremely challenging. He then had to migrate, leaving behind his beloved homeland. After moving to Madinah, our beloved Rasulullah s.a.w was still tested with various challenges and trials. There were also enemies from within Madinah, as well as outside of the city, whom he had to face with resolute and perseverance.
But did the Prophet s.a.w. ever give up? Did he ever whine and complain, or blame his fate? Did he ever blame others for the pain and trials he faced?
Instead, Rasulullah s.a.w rose to change the situation and the environment that worked against him, and became a great leader attaining success that was granted by Allah.
The same determination and strength were reflected by the Companions radhiyallahu anhum. Let us recall the Battle of Uhud. Yes, the enemy defeated them during the battle. But the defeat did not dampen their spirits. Instead, they quickly learned from their mistakes, and planned their next moves in order to earn Allah’s pleasure. We read about how after the defeat at Uhud, Islamic history was filled with stories of the excellence that they achieved in all aspects of life, and how the world respected them! When in fact, prior to that, they had nothing!
So jemaah, another new year awaits us. Let us develop the confidence and belief that success will be ours, because Allah has promised it. Allah says in Surah al-Munafiqun verse 8:
Meaning: “And to Allah belongs [all] honour, and to His Messenger, and to the believers, but the hypocrites do not know.”
However, there are conditions to Allah’s assistance. These include a strong iman, being diligent in our efforts, and a sense of tawakkal that will never be broken. We must also have a strong sense of patience or sabr. Sabr does not simply mean to be resolute in the face of challenges, but true sabr is to develop the strength and braveness as well as the confidence to rise and better our situation. Sabr does not only mean to not break when being thrown, but to be like a ball that will bounce back when thrown or kicked. In fact, the stronger the ball is thrown to the ground, the higher it bounces.
Let us plan our steps, move forward together to continue to boost our iman and improve our lives. With sabr and confidence in our hearts, let us make this new year a better year for us, our families and our community, just as how we have always strived to make today better than yesterday, and tomorrow even better than today. May Allah grant us the strength to strive to attain His pleasure. Amin ya Rabbal alamin. Amin Ya Rabbal Alamin.