It has been a topsy-turvy twister of a year. A year of high achievements and extreme lows. We have all been on an emotional rollercoaster. Plans have been made and plans have been dashed. We kept ourselves together trying to hold our heads above water. We have all been pushed beyond our capabilities – and we have held it all together with grace and dignity. But as we come to the end, we find those threads falling apart.
We have been keeping quiet and sane at all the crazy responses that we have been getting, holding on to our patience and akhlaq by the skin of our teeth. Now as you are giving out your kids thank you gifts to teachers, greeting colleagues and wrapping up a year that took everything from you. It is always right at the final moments that a believer is tested with the test of ‘an ending’. The Holy Prophet (s) has highlighted this to us in a hadith: “Actions only depend upon their endings”. It is extremely easy to begin any action on a high note, to be kind when we are fresh and have energy. It is only when we get closer to the end that the real tests begin to kick in. You find yourself snapping at your children and your co-workers. After a year of being kind you fall into the trap of ‘mann’, following up your kind acts with reminding everyone of all the good that you have done.
It becomes so easy, in those final moments to destroy a year of charity, kindness and good work. As a parent, you might find yourself arguing with your kids, and fatigue makes you explode at your spouse. At work you find yourself longing to get away and hating the work that you normally are so passionate about. The longing to get to holiday mode makes you short tempered and changes your focus from gratitude for a means of income to feeling chained to your work. The end often unravels us, in that we don’t realize that it is those final moments that Shaitaan waits to rob us of a year that was full of benefit and reward.
Ending the year on a note of acceptance.
You have done so much this year, and now as you bring this chapter to a close, your focus should be on bringing this chapter to a close with three main qualities.
The Holy Prophet (S) ended every single act with the words of ‘Alhamdulillah’- ‘All praises are due to Allah’. This shows us the deep sense of gratitude that permeated every action that he went through. As you end this year, it doesn’t matter how the year might have gone, it doesn’t matter if you might not be where you would like to be, we thank Allah for every moment. It is in this sense of gratitude for the lows and the highs that allow us to bring the year to a close with appreciation and understanding that we are exactly where we are supposed to be.
When the Holy Prophet Ibrahim (as) constructed the Ka’bah with his son Ismaeel (as), he completed his efforts with a plea of acceptance. He understood that it did not matter if he had built a house of Allah for billions to worship. What mattered was that Allah had accepted this work, for without the acceptance of Allah our good actions simply become leaves scattered by the wind. Reflect on all that you have done, all that you have achieved and ask Allah Ta’ala to accept those actions. It is only the acceptance in the court of Allah that our work gains any value.
Every action and interaction with people are always affected by our human errors. We are not perfect, so we are always making mistakes or losing our tempers. We may have done such great work and then we ruin it by our own shortcomings. In seeking forgiveness for our actions, we allow our actions to be cleansed, to remove our egos and ask Allah to forgive the many errs that we have done.
These three qualities, redirects us to look at our work and our responsibilities with a sense of gratitude and grace. To remove the focus from ‘I’ and the whispers of Shaitaan that deceive you into looking down on everyone else and understand that everything you have gone through and everything you have done is only the extreme fadhl of Allah Ta’ala.