As another year came to a close and a new one began, nations across the world euphorically celebrated with magnificent firework displays across major cities. Sadly, for many this only occasioned a pretext to drink, socialise and engage in merry-making. For believers, however, the beginning of anything new is an opportunity to render thanks and praise to Allah, the Almighty, for His bounties in the past and to beseech Him to bestow on them even greater bounties and shelter them under the mantle of His impenetrable protection in the future.

While for many the New Year will give rise to trite resolutions about eating, drinking or shopping less, the believers resolve more than ever before to enhance their standards of piety and righteousness, to become more sincere in their devotion, more eager in their response to the call of duty and to proliferate their supplications and prayers in the future.

The dawn of each year reminds us that we are on this earth only for a finite time and draws our attention to the following Divine exhortation of the Holy Qur’an:

By the testimony of time, surely, man is in a state of loss, except those who believe and do good works, and exhort one another to accept truth, and exhort one another to be steadfast. (Ch.103:Vs.2-4)

Humphrey Fisher  accuses Ahmadis of translating ‘Asr in the above verse as ‘time’ “rather than the more commonly understood ‘evening’” shows how little he understands Arabic because an evening rendering would be entirely meaningless. Paying heed to the heavenly guidance, the inception of a new year should bring with it an increasing imperative. More than a composite of the usual emaciated resolutions, we should resolve and strive to instil within ourselves a relentless yearning to achieve a pious change in our lives, to act with remarkable kindness, humility, gratitude, justice and truthfulness in every sphere of life, to instil greater God-consciousness in our hearts and to stand tallest among the servants of Allah.

The birth of any new period of reckoning is indeed a time for self-evaluation but it is only by making it a time for true spiritual awakening would we be included in that righteous class, described in the following terms by Allah, the Almighty, Himself in the Holy Qur’an:

They believe in Allah and the Last Day, and enjoin what is good and forbid evil, and hasten, vying with one another, in good works. And these are among the righteous. (Ch.3:V.115)

May Allah enable everyone to enjoy a blessed, peaceful and prosperous 2011. Ameen.

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