2023: My commitments

INsights 031, Friday 30th December 2022


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Assalamu-alaikum. Peace be upon you.

In the introduction to INsights 005 which was published this time last year, I wrote the following: 

“Even though 1st January 2022 is just another day that carries no particular significance in the believer’s calendar, it’s worth taking advantage of the natural feeling of a new beginning to make some meaningful commitments.”

A year later, I feel the same way about 1st January 2023. I feel a strong desire to make the most of the coming 12 months. To that end, I’ve been doing some intense reflecting and planning. I hope to do a lot more this weekend to help make things even more concrete. But I thought I’d share with you where I’ve got to so far.

My hope is that letting you know my plans will motivate you to give some extra thought to your own agenda for the coming year.

In addition, a public statement of intent helps raise my own level of motivation and sense of accountability. We all want to be people of our word after all. Finally, I’m very fortunate to have so many genuine friends, supporters and well-wishers amongst you, and I know that sharing my plans with you will result in some extra supplications for me. Hint hint! 

So bearing in mind that God is the best of planners but also that I am fully responsible and accountable for my decisions, and that the prophets are described in revelation as exemplars of strength, vision and determination…

Here are some of my key aims and commitments for 2023:

My mission

Transform My Prayer: My team and I have a plan to help increase the number of people who go on the Transform My Prayer journey from just under 3,000 thus far to over 30,000 people this year.

Given that it’s taken three years to get to 3,000, I appreciate that growing ten-fold this year may seem a little too ambitious. But since I’m really keen for a lot more people to experience better prayers in their lives, I've made one or two radical decisions to make it a realistic aim. Watch this space for more details in the coming weeks! 

Club Revelation: After 18 months of a thematic approach to Qur’anic engagement through weekly online sessions, I’ve decided to start taking members of Club Revelation on a sequential journey through the Qur’an after Ramadan ends. If all goes to plan, the end result will be around 360 hours of high-quality, well-structured material that will help any English-speaking person get access to inspiring, actionable insights from any part of the Qur’an.

In the four months before then, there are still some really interesting topics to cover and in fact doors to Club Revelation are re-opening for a week on Sunday 1st January. Keep an eye on your inbox. 

Last Day Leader: My ambitions for Last Day Leader in 2023 are fairly modest. The main thing is making the programme available on-demand for the first time, so that anyone can start this critical journey at any time that they’re ready.

For any previous or new participant who reaches out to me for any kind of help or advice, I will also make sure I provide them with as much ongoing support as I can. So if you’ve taken the programme already, or you enrol soon, don’t hesitate to get in touch! 

Telegram: The main place where I like to share my random insights and reflections is on my Telegram channel. In 2022, I posted haphazardly, sometimes with intensity and sometimes very sparingly. In 2023, I aim to share a punchy insight or reflection at a consistent time every single day. 

Book: I’ve previously shared that I’m working on my first book but I haven’t really got very far with it. What’s it about? Well, it will be a set of reflections on verses in the Qur’an on the topic of prayer (salat).

I’ve got all the material in my head and also lots of notes in slide format. I just need to get it all out in coherent prose! I don’t feel I can commit to the timing of publication just yet, but what I am committed to is a minimum of one dedicated writing session per week this year. Let’s see how quickly it progresses. 

Friday sermons: I will continue to make myself available for three Friday sermons a month for congregations in and around my local area of Sutton in South-West London. 

My family

Top priority: Never speak or act out of frustration or anger towards my parents, wife, children or siblings. Of course, we shouldn’t behave badly with anyone. But I think it’s easier for most of us to lose control of ourselves, to be less patient, and to momentarily forget that God watches all, with those closest to us than it is with “outsiders”.

Would you agree? I’m sure we can all think of times when we behaved with our loved ones in ways in which there was no love at all! 

If I can go through a year where the nine people closest to me never experience the worst of me, I think that will be a big achievement. If I slip up, then I commit to instant remorse, speedy repentance and swift apology! 

Dedicated 1:1 time: Without going into all the specifics, the main aim here is to continue, and make some improvements to, my system of ensuring that each family member has scheduled 1:1 time with me at a mutually agreed frequency. To be clear though, I don’t yet plan to consult Laylah (3) or Noah (1) about exactly when this will be for them! ๐Ÿ™‚

Me

Prayer: This time last year I committed to making sure that I had a pre-planned 15-minute slot for each prayer, rather than deciding in the moment when to offer them within their respective windows. It’s not something obligatory by any means but I’ve always recommended it as an important and powerful discipline.

I had varied success with it myself in 2022, perhaps partly because I spent a good chunk of the year travelling abroad, but no doubt lapses in self-discipline played their part too. So I’m recommitting to this again, as well as giving extra attention to what I call The Golden Minute before each prayer begins. 

Devices: This is going to be a tough one but I’m going to do my best to switch off my phone, and hopefully my laptop too, by 9:00pm every day. If I can’t do that on certain days, then at the very minimum I’ll try to ensure that all messaging and social media apps are closed and don’t get opened!

Physical exercise: I’ve previously shared my intention to exercise regularly. I’ve been doing pretty well in the last few months but have decided to revise my basic workout routine a little.

I’m now planning five sessions a week, with a minimum of the following exercises completed in each session: 120 push-ups, 100 bodyweight squats and 100 abdominal exercises. This will probably take around 30 minutes each time. Anything else is a bonus!

That’s all from me. I haven’t shared absolutely everything, nor all the details of each item. But it certainly feels good getting this out of my system and onto ‘paper’ so to speak. And you know what I’m going to say next…

Over to you!

Do use the time this weekend to review your 2022 and think about your plans for the year ahead.

Critically, seek God’s assistance, write your plans down and share them with one or more people that you trust.

May God bless you in all your affairs. May He make your next year the best year of your life so far.

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On a parting note, I very recently saw an image of a painting called New Year’s Eve by the artist Safia Latif. I found it really powerful, so I’m sharing it here with you too…

 



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Have a blessed fortnight. I'll see you in two Fridays, God willing.

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