A Year Closer to 40

Bismillah wa solatu wa salaam ‘ala Rosulillah

Tomorrow marks another year of edging close to the number forty. Honestly, I find myself more scared than anything else because I’ve read that a person’s fate is somewhat sealed at forty; ie. what you see of the person’s character etc at that age is most likely to be how the person will be when he meets his Rabb. Of course, there are exceptions to the norm, but perhaps it is advise sound enough to take as-is.

If I were to write this a year ago, I probably would lament about how I am having trouble accepting my single-ness and lack of career as compared to peers my age. But alhamdulillah, something shifted within between then and now and I am happy to say that while I am still single and in the same job with pretty much no room for growth in the corporate sense, I have grown to be extremely grateful for them. I have come to realize that what God has given me is in fact, the Gift of Time. And if Time was The Gift, then the question would be, how have I utilised this precious Gift?

I chose two books – The Forty Hadith on Mercy and Those Who Show Mercy by Ibn Tulun and Islam, A Natural Way by AbdulWahid Hamid – as my company in this brief solitary reading retreat in Kuala Lumpur.

The former is a much needed self-reminder (I tend to be too hard on myself) that all is not loss, and that God’s Mercy surpasses anything I imagine it to be. Case in point: every single act of Mercy shown between us humans, between flora and fauna, every single emotional story of how the Prophet ﷺ displayed mercy, or the mercy shown between a mother and a child, from the very first of creation to the very last, everything is from one portion of God’s Mercy. The other 99 portions of His Mercy? Kept in His Storehouse, saved for when we need it most: the Hereafter. How do we even begin to comprehend that level of Mercy?!

So yes.

Be merciful to those on earth,
and those of the Heavens will be merciful to you.

– The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ

As for the latter title, my main takeaway from it is that the first step towards living a whole Muslim life is to undertake the task of islaah or reform. Which in essence means takings stock of myself – my shortcomings and wrongdoings – and to

  1. recognize,
  2. admit,
  3. repent, and
  4. repair

Interestingly I was just sharing with Kak LW yesterday that I think the stage of life I am in now is not so much one of learning new things, but of unlearning the parts of my life that have become one with me but shouldn’t be the case.

And there’s so many parts of me that shouldn’t be the case! In other chapters of the book, AbdulWahid describes the rights that others have upon each of us, and my, what a long list it is, innalillah wa inna ilaihi rajiuun. I mean… even the right my own body has over me is something that I have grossly tossed aside the past five to ten years of my life.

One mistake that I might repeat now is to once again, be overwhelmed with the million shortcomings I can see in myself, and then lose hope and just drown in despair. BUT NO. NO MORE. I will focus on one thing at a time, and place my hopes and efforts with Him and not myself, and attempt to undergo the process of islaah once again. A second hijrah, fifteen years after the first, if you will.

I turn 3X at the stroke of midnight tonight. Forty is still some years away, but who is to say when the Angel of Death is destined to come?

I make intention, right now, to begin this second hijrah of my life.

I will learn to love and accept myself – not in the self-love, healing manner popular today – but to accept all my quirks and the things He has written for me. I will maximise whatever gift He has given me towards something pleasing to Him, one of which is writing to motivate others. I will take care of this body and the limbs that He has graciously given me, both in the physical sense and in the spiritual sense; to eat well and mindfully, to move more, to rest better. I will choose gratitude over lack, barakah over budget, forgiveness over anger.

Which brings me to the harder of the two…

I will learn to accept people as they are, to not place expectations upon them, to not ask for my rights, to let go of grievances and remorses. I have been given the Gift … no luxury… of Time to reflect on my state and how I am with others, and still I find it hard to change myself to better serve others. So what about those who simply had no time to do so? Perhaps, no, for sure, their circumstance was different and they did the best they could from what limited they know. Now, I will look inwards towards what rights I have to fulfill, and fulfill those instead of asking for mine to be fulfilled. He will ask me with regards to what I have done, not what was done unto me. And with Him I seek Divine Mercy, Gentleness and Assistance.

There are more for sure (as I said, the list is long), but these two will be my focus in the upcoming months. To take care of myself – physically, mentally and spiritually – and to mend my broken relationships with those that are supposed to be near and dear.

May Allah swt guide me to goodness, grant me tawfiq, and accept from it.

Alhamdulillah for the past years, with all of their highs and lows.

And Alhamdulillah for the coming year, with all of its intentions sowed.

May peace and blessings be upon the Seal of the Prophets, the Messenger of Mercy, Muhammad ﷺ .