innalladhīna āmanū wa-‘amilūs-swālihāti yahdīhim rabbuhum bi-īmānihim
Indeed those who have faith and do righteous deeds,
their Lord guides them by the means of their faith
(Sūrat Yūnus, No.10, Āyat 9)
To have faith and do good deeds are the pre-requisites for an all-encompassing guidance that guides the believer through life. It is a light that makes things clear and helps the believer steer clear of trivial distractions that seem cool and glamorous but are really only a waste of time. It helps in countering the whisperings of the Shaytān and the nafs-i ammārah. It also helps to show what must be done to fulfill life’s highest potentials and meet the expectations of the Lord.
Today marks the start of the Islamic New Year. It ushers in a new beginning, one that is accompanied by sad but inspirational reminders of the sacrifices made by Imam al-Husayn (a), his family and his companions to keep the mission of Islam alive. It is a time for new intentions and resolutions, to analyze the year that has passed and try harder in the coming months to achieve the ultimate goal of all believers – the pleasure of the Almighty.
In the Du‘ā for the last day of Dhul-hijjah, we say:
O Allah, what I have done in this year from deeds …that You were not pleased with …I seek Your forgiveness for them. And what I have done of deeds that bring me nearer You, then accept them from me.
After atoning for the past year, we are ready to begin afresh, hoping for guidance to live life in line with our goals. The Du‘ā for the first day of Muharram says:
O Allah, You are the ever Living God and this is a new year. I ask You for protection from Shaytān, strength over nafs-i ammārah –the soul which invites towards evil, and [the ability] to be occupied in that which brings me closer to You.
Making resolutions and planning for the New Year needs guidance from the Almighty. The Du‘ā specifies the needs: protection from Shaytān, strength to control the nafs-i ammārah, and the tawfīq to perform good-deeds. These needs will be provided for those who have faith and do good deeds. That leads to guidance, which leads to more faith and goodness.
Let this verse inspire you as you think of the year ahead. Hope for a guidance from Allah that will allow you to carry out your resolutions and aspirations for the months ahead. Be worthy of that guidance through your faith and the good deeds you do.
Sources: Āyatullāh Nāsir Makārim Shirāzī (Ed.), Tafsīr-e Namūneh; A‘maal of Dhulhijjah, Tayyiba Publishers; A‘maal of Muharram and Safar, Tayyiba Publishers