The beginning of a new year is usually a time when people make resolutions — promises to themselves of what they’ll change, try, or improve in the year that lies ahead.
As Muslims, our primary goal in life is to do what we can to please God and reach Jannah (Paradise) by His mercy. So what better resolution to set than to do what we can to rejuvenate our iman (faith)? But before you start setting some huge goals, keep this in mind: The Prophet (saws) said, “The deeds most loved by Allah (are those) done regularly, even if they are small.” [Sahih Bukhari]
Rather than setting grand (and probably unsustainable) goals, here are a few simple things we can do to achieve that New Year’s resolution of strengthening our faith:
1. Renew Your Intentions
This is the first step to reviving one’s faith, because if our intentions are messed up, our actions won’t count for anything. So let’s take this opportunity to remember why we are trying to improve our faith to begin with.
2. Reflect, reflect, reflect
What do we truly believe in? Is this life worth more, or the next one? Are we willing to sacrifice people’s pleasure for God’s? These are some things we need to think about in order to truly come to terms with what our faith means to us, and what we need to do to prioritize it.
3. Pray more, or pray better
If you aren’t praying your required daily prayers, set a goal to fulfill 1 of the 5 prayers, on time, every day — no matter what. Once you do this for some amount of time (which you decide), increase it to 2 prayers, and so on.
If you’re already praying all 5 during their designated times, try to increase your focus and learn (or think about) what you’re reciting. These prayers are meant to bring us closer to Allah, but sometimes we just rush through them as if they’re something to get out of the way.
The Messenger (saws) said that Allah (swt) said, “My servant does not draw near to Me with anything more beloved to Me than what I have required of him.” [Sahih Bukhari]
4. Prioritize Your Du’a
This is such a simple thing to do, but for some reason, many of us tend to get lazy about it or forget how important it is. Du’a is vital for keeping our connection with Allah strong. It reminds us that He is always listening to us and is aware of our situation; it makes us recognize our faults as we repent; and it helps us recognize our innumerable blessings as we express our gratitude to our Creator. Take those few minutes out every day (even better if it’s after every prayer) and talk to God.
5. An Ayah a Day Keeps the Shaytan Away
Don’t quote me on this one… But you get the point. Just like your body needs certain nutrients as nourishment, your soul needs some things, too. And one of those things is the Qur’an. Whether you read one ayah (verse) or 5 pages, set a realistic daily goal for yourself, and go for it! Just don’t forget to read the translation in English or your native language as well, so that you know what God is saying to you.
6. Give Your Relationships a Fresh Start
Okay, so maybe this isn’t always easy, but don’t let that discourage you! Try to forgive and forget if the people in your life made some mistakes in the past, and recognize that you’re not perfect, either. We all mess up at times, and just as we expect others to acknowledge their mistakes, we should admit ours, too. It’s never too late to improve ourselves, and a new year gives us an excuse to start over with a clean slate.
These are some personal goals that I set for myself, first and foremost, but I’m sharing them with the hopes that they’ll benefit you all as well. We might not see a drastic change overnight, but by trying these 6 things and doing our best to stay sincere and consistent with them, inshaAllah we’ll see a positive change in ourselves and our iman.
What are some goals that you’ve set for yourself this year? Share them below to inspire others.