Janazah in January?


INsights 005, 31st December 2021

Janazah in January?


- INsights 005 -
31st December 2021

Assalaamu-alaikum, Peace be upon you.   

Have you been thinking about what you’re hoping to achieve in 2022? Or are you one of those who’s given up on the idea of New Year’s resolutions altogether? If so, I can empathise, having previously had many plans born in December but whose Janazah took place in January!

Nonetheless, life is only getting shorter. 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. 

So in this edition of INsights, I’ve woven in some of my own resolutions into the reflections below, which I hope might inspire you to step up your own game too!

On Prayer:   

Yesterday I taught the final session of the Winter Holiday Edition of Transform My Prayer. It’s always quite emotional once this course is over, but it was also a nice way to draw 2021 to a close. To the hundreds of first-time participants, this is your official public welcome to the 2,000 strong TMP family!

One of the things that sunk even deeper for me whilst teaching the course this time is the importance of being in a relaxed state and giving ourselves enough time for each prayer.

Perhaps this was because December was an intensely busy month for me and I became increasingly conscious that I was putting some of my prayers under a time pressure that negatively impacted their quality. 

Giving ourselves enough time doesn’t necessarily mean a long time, but as much as required to avoid beginning a prayer thinking about how little time we have left before we get onto our next commitment. 

This happens when we haven’t planned well enough in advance, when prayer ends up being randomly inserted into our schedule at the last moment, even if it’s within the allocated window of time for that prayer. 

Then what almost inevitably happens is that our movements become more rushed, our articulation more unclear, our minds more scrambled, our hearts more distant. 

Knowing the night before precisely when you’re planning to have your five meetings with God the next day really does help a lot.

My resolution: Each night, starting tonight, I’ll be allocating a fixed, no compromise 15-minute window per prayer for the next day. I’ve put a daily 9pm reminder in my diary to review and confirm the next day’s prayer schedule. 

On Revelation:   

If you’re around this time next year, what do you hope to know in relation to the Qur’an which you don’t know today?

  • Will your recitation be improved? 
  • Will you learn a little Arabic?
  • Will you memorise a chapter or two that you haven’t learned before?
  • Will you establish a regular recitation and reading habit?
  • Will you set some time to ponder and reflect on what you’re reading?

If it all feels too much, just think about one or two of these areas and what you want to do between now and Ramadan, the month of the Qur’an. It’s important we all expose ourselves regularly to some divine guidance but for many of us, this happens very haphazardly or not at all. It’s time to put an end to that, even if it’s with an initial commitment of just ten minutes a day. 

I’m really conscious about deepening my own knowledge of the Qur’an in a consistent way in the coming months, especially as I’m hoping to launch a new and upgraded version of my Qur'an course – Club Revelation – in May, God willing. There are a number of topics I want to research and think through more deeply for my own personal development, but also in order to help me establish the most useful and inspiring curriculum I can for all those who take part in the new programme.

My resolution: Between now and Ramadan, each morning, starting tomorrow morning, I’ll be allocating a fixed, no compromise 60-minute window purely for Qur’anic study. Again, I’ve put in a daily 9pm reminder in my diary to review and confirm this study slot for the next day.

On Leadership:   

This Sunday, God willing, I’ll be teaching Session 4 of Last Day Leader – my leadership development course – and the topic is Overcoming Barriers. It’s all about how we can confront the obstacles that typically get in the way of us fulfilling our potential, especially once we have clarity on what it is exactly that we want to achieve. 

A typical self-defeating cycle looks like this:

Step 1: have a great idea or ambitious plan

Step 2: decide it’s something you should be doing

Step 3: think of what can go wrong or what can’t be achieved

Step 4: give up on the idea or plan

Over time, Step 1 happens less and less until it stops happening altogether. The ideas and plans stop because what’s the point?! Disaster! 

By contrast, a winning cycle looks like this:

Step 1: have a great idea or ambitious plan

Step 2: decide it’s something you should be doing

Step 3: know that things will “go wrong” and also that anything is possible

Step 4: trust and get started

Step 5: learn and grow from the things that “go wrong” as well as the achievements

Step 6: adjust and keep going

That’s more like it!

My resolution: My #1 ambition for 2022 is, with God's help, for the Ramadan Edition of Transform My Prayer to be the most impactful version of the course that I’ve ever taught and for it to reach thousands across the world.

It’s scheduled to begin on 3rd April, God willing, so that gives just over three months to pull off a seriously ambitious plan. It will require a tonne of work and lots of people, organisations and resources to come together to support the effort. Even though it’s daunting, my commitment is to trust fully in God, give it everything I’ve got and not let any fears or worries get in the way whatsoever!

Before You Go:   

Someone just shared details of an upcoming course with me; you may wish to consider it for your children. The Secrets of Salah is a 5-week online course starting on 15th January 2022, specifically for kids aged 9-14 years old, being run by NoorKids. I can't vouch for the course myself, but I recognise that my own prayer content is more tailored to older kids and adults, so I thought it was appropriate to share this with you.

If you use the Telegram app and you’d like to join my Channel where I share short, regular insights, click here.

I hope you enjoyed and benefited from this edition of INsights.

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

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