Friday, December 28, 2012

A few reflections on 2012

2012. The year, according to the Mayans, the world in its entirety was to end. It didn’t. This may not perhaps be much of a surprise considering even Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) didn’t claim to have knowledge of the final hour. Indeed when the Prophet (peace be upon him) was asked by Angel Jibra’il to tell him of the last hour, he replied, “The one being asked knows no more of it than the one asking.” (Sahih Muslim) The discussion over the world ending however puts everything into context. One day, we know, we will each have to leave this temporary abode behind. One can’t help but ponder over what legacy will be left.
Time, as one proverb informs us, is “like a sword. If you don’t cut it, it will cut you!” Through reflecting on how our year has gone we are able to gain a better understanding of how we have used our time, and inshāAllah use our experience to better utilise what time we have left. Surah al-‘Asr emphasises the concept of time, where Allah swears by it: “By time. Verily man is at loss…”This highlighting of time in the Qur’an brings to head its importance.
Looking back at 2012, some key events stand out. Any international sporting event is usually met with great jubilation. The fact that the Olympics and Paralympics were brought to home soil this year boosted the experience. Branded as an Olympics set to ‘inspire a generation’, the focus was a noble one. Hope and inspiration work well in international events such as the Olympics. Equally however at a grassroots level do certain projects shine. The launch of the ‘Ilm 2 ‘Aml Curriculum across Muslim schools in Southern and Northern England too has geared a community to focus on educating and inspiring the next generation. Equipping the youth with an understanding of key citizenship and religious issues, alongside activating and encouraging them to be directly involved in local community projects, the progress of the curriculum will definitely be one to watch in its shaping of a next generation who are both positive and proactive.
Another defining moment of the year was when the Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier by freefalling 128,000 ft. Undoubtedly jaws dropped across the world as we watched him fall so fast from such a distance. The progress of science has moved fast in recent times. Technological advances in every field have gained momentum such that as humans we feel ever more in control of our affairs. Yet, we are reminded in the Qur’an to look further and realise that it is our abidingly real Creator Who sets to motion all the causes and effects in perfect harmony. We all attain highs in our personal lives, when we see our own plans come to fruition, duās get answered and things go our way. It is in such moments though, far from turning away and believing ourselves to have independently caused our success, we realise that in truth these moments are opportunities to get closer to our Lord through praising and thanking Him for such gifts.
The continued bloodshed around the world in 2012 has illustrated clearly that there is a bigger plan in motion. From Gaza, Palestine to Connecticut, America, both in the East and West have people faced a reality of injustice this year. It is in the time of difficulty that as Muslims we again are reminded to turn to Allah and turn to assisting the community. What occurs during these trials is the chance to assist those in harm. The aid convoys and continual charity being donated to war zones all over is a sign that the Ummah is rallying together to serve those in harm’s way. The contribution of Muslims to the multi-faith prayer ceremony for the Connecticut shooting also illustrated empathy and unity.
While many of us easily get excited about the synchronisation of numbers, (yes, 12/12/12 caused quite a stir this month, and 1/2/34 of the Islamic calendar which came about in December also got many a folk excited), looking at the synchronisation of our actions with the Qur’an and Prophetic guidance is of greater importance. As we reflect on what has past, both in global events and in our personal lives, and look forward inshāAllah to what is to come, it is worth going back to the source of direction, the Qur’an and contemplating again on the emphasis given in Surah al-Asr.
“By time. Verily man is at loss. Except those who have faith and do righteous deeds and join together in mutual teaching of truth and in patience. ”
(Written for

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