By Aaliyah Gohir
Here we are – January 2023, the start of a new year. For most people, this is a time of new beginnings, new year resolutions, goal setting and reflection. While change and becoming a better person shouldn’t wait until the new year, we can all admit that the start of the new year brings an overwhelming sense of motivation and marks a fresh start. I thought I would share some of my goals for the new year as a Muslim woman, particularly focusing on spiritual wellbeing and Islam.
Managing your mental health is an ongoing journey and process; it’s not something that can be fixed overnight, nor is it something to ignore or consider a stigma, as it can be in some Muslim communities. You can use Islam to help you better your mental health, and this wasn’t something I began doing until just last year in December 2021 (coincidentally before the new year of 2022!).
Before December 2021, I didn’t really have a strong sense of iman. Don’t get me wrong, I still felt like I had a relationship with Allah in my heart, but my iman was limited, and I definitely wasn’t a practicing Muslim. But in December 2021, I felt a seed was planted in my heart to realise the importance of my faith, and since then I have tried to become closer to Allah and plan to continue this even more so in 2023.
So without any further waffling, these are my goals this year to better my iman. I hope I can do my best to fulfil these and hopefully this list can also help other fellow Muslim women improve their spiritual wellbeing.
Goal #1 - Read More Islamic/Spiritual Books (at least 1 per month)
I think it would be nice to read books more about Islam, whether it be reading about the history of Islam, or about the life of the Prophet (pbuh), or about the spiritual wisdom of Islam, surely whatever I read will be interesting and will inform the way I live my life and better my mindset. So, the action point I made for myself was to find 12 books I can read his year (1 each month) so all I need to do is order them! I actually ended up finding 15 books to read, the list is below. Note,you may wonder why some well-known books aren’t listed, for example The Secrets of Divine Love by A. Helwa, and that’s simply because I already read that last year!
Goal #2 – Convert Spending Money into Charity Money
Naturally I have always wanted to help others and give to charity when I can, again I think it’s something Allah has planted in my heart but also because of my mum’s career in the charity sector which I have been exposed to all my life. But I can also be very greedy and find myself scrolling on Uber eats debating whether to splash out £20 on food just because I’m craving sushi (one of my favourite foods) or scrolling through clothing brands tempted to spend chunks of my money on trainers or a new outfit. I have ordered expensive sushi and have bought brand new pairs of trainers - plenty of the time we all give into our cravings. But I am self-aware, and want to use Islam to reinforce my self-awareness.
The thing about this world is that it is inconsistent, trivial, temporary, and materialistic - and the cravings of this world (whether it be money, power, attention, etc) are insatiable. And these things don’t come to the grave with us because Allah doesn’t care about the things of this world, He cares about what’s in our heart. So, my goal is to fight off greed when I feel a strong craving for food or new clothes, and instead put the money aside that I would’ve spent in an envelope for charity. Don’t get me wrong, I’m human and will probably treat myself every now and then, but I will try my best to convert unnecessary spending money into charity money.
I hope I can keep this up and hold myself accountable - the new year has barely started, and I need to find an envelope and put £30 in! I also have a £3 direct debit with Nisa Global Foundation; their mission is ‘improve the lives of women and girls from disadvantaged communities by providing support and creating lasting change in a transparent and dignified manner.’ You can sign up for a monthly debit here if you are interested!
Goal #3 – Manifesting Using the 99 Names of Allah
When wanting to change your life, manifesting is usually a popular tool that many use, and even swear by, to attract positivity into their lives – and I do believe that what you think and say, is what you’ll get (our minds are more powerful than we know!). However, something has never sat right with me when I hear manifestations that begin with “the universe will allow me to…”. To Muslims, everything comes from Allah, and I think it is very important to acknowledge that when manifesting, which is why utilising His names are a great way of attracting and asking for what we want through Allah, who is our provider.
Remember, the Prophet (pbuh)said, "Allah says: 'I am just as My slave thinks I am”, meaning Allah can do for us what we think of him. If we doubt Allah or see Him in a negative way, then negativity is what we will attract into our lives. On the other hand, if we see and call Allah by His divine names, then we will attract blessings and positivity into our lives. So, my plan is to research and write out all the 99 names of Allah, and then write a manifestation for each one. Here are four examples I have so far, it is on my to do list to write out all 99, and then fold them into little notes to keep in a jar for easy access (instead of making a list of notes on my phone, and then never looking at those notes – which happens often!).
See, this is so much better than asking ‘the universe’ for help! And this will allow me to learn the 99 names of Allah.
Hopefully this new year is going well for you so far and I hope these goals help motivate you to strengthen your iman this year! I do have more goals, for example being more consistent with praying, however this blog is quite long, so I will probably write a part two to this blog so I can go into more depth :)
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