24 was a splendid year alhumdulillah. New beginnings, personal growth, and a heightened sense of excitement for life people only read about in novels. :)
The themes for the past year were many but I wanted to document a few that I hope will carry on through the next several years inshaAllah.
Al Akhir: I thought of Allah’s name Al Akhir a lot over the last few months. When we turn to Allah (swa) for something specific, and He is SO generous in blessing us and answering our call, it is incumbent upon us to intensify our du’as and shukr after seeing Allah’s response. Sometimes we make du’a for something and if for some reason Allah had a different plan, we feel our du’as are not working, but we fail to realize that Allah (swa) is not just our means, but Allah is the end. Our nearness to Allah (swa) is the ultimate goal and by either granting us what we asked for or preventing it from us, Allah is making known to us His encompassing knowledge and wisdom.
Creativity: Having so much time off over summer proved to be exactly what I needed. It’s amazing the kinds of things you realize you can do when you have free time and health. I got into writing, painting, mixed media art, read a lot more, executed complicated recipes. It was a wonderful summer with an even more wonderful culmination alhumdulillah. Making time for creativity is essential and I’m glad I’ve opened that door for myself to make it a weekly habit. My perfectionism still gets the best of me at times but I’m trying hard to quiet the doubts that prevent me from initiating art or any other form of creativity. When my paintbrush finally gets moving or my pen makes that first imprint of ink, there is a pure sense of rejuvenation and catharsis that comes from starting from scratch.
Husn ad-Dhann Billah: There has never been a person who relied on Allah and had a good opinion of Him, subhanahu wata’ala but was left disappointed. When we think well of Allah and see His rahmah in every situation He places us in, our tawakkul increases, our heart softens, and we realize our own limitations, thereby making Allah (swa) our source of ease and comfort .. not seeking it out through worldly means. There is no one more truthful, sincere, compassionate, and loving than Allah (swa) so why turn to anyone else? I thought of how Allah (swa) brought me up over the past years. We grow physically, mentally, homes change, families change, ups and downs, laughs and tears. Allah sees us through all of this, He supports us, makes things easy for us :) Seeing positive intentions and having a good opinion of Allah (swa) should not just be limited to Allah, but we should try to see these positive traits in others as well especially when there are apparent differences over any kind of issue.
Balance: This is probably the most important theme and one that will always be a work in progress. I was at my alma mater two days ago and walked by the same study areas where friends and I spent hours laboring away on assignments just a few years back. Little had changed – the same buzzing of fluorescent lights in the JC, students chatting away about every topic imaginable, MSA students heading to the musalla for salah. Being back there reminded me of a lot of things I gained while in school but also of how imbalanced my life was at that point .. or perhaps, it was balanced for that time and place. I’ve always had a tendency to outstretch myself but this year I made an intentional effort to give every part of life its due right.
Patience: The fruits of patience make a person wish they were never impatient in the first place! I told a dear friend about some great news and a recent visit to Canada and she looked back in awe .. “Asma the only place I’ve heard you talk about for the last year was Canada! See.. Allah listened!” :) One of my favorite quotes on patience: “Patience means to be farsighted enough to trust the end result of a process. What does patience mean? It means to look at the thorn and see the rose, to look at the night and see the dawn. Impatience means to be shortsighted as to not able to see the outcome. The lovers of God never run out of patience, for they know that time is needed for the crescent moon to become full.” – Elif Shafak
Salawat: Among the many lessons we learned from Umrah was the importance of making consistent salawat upon the Prophet (saw). There are many virtues of sending Salwat and among them, I’m especially motivated by knowing the Messenger of Allah (saw) returns our greeting and naturally, our love for him increases. Allahumma Salli’ala Muhammad <3. Such an easy thing to do throughout the day.
I’ve been experimenting with a new form of creative writing tied into a new art journal as seen below.. It felt kind of cool writing about myself like a literary character. After writing this, I found myself being more observant of my students the next day as I tried to describe their story in third person. Neat way to look at the world. :)