Our year of 2018 is quickly coming to a close. Like every year, it was one of ups and downs, and it treated every person who experienced it in a unique way. I was curious to see what different American Muslims had to say about the past twelve months. There were common themes that popped up from one person to the next, and as such we grouped them by theme. Their reflections, from the personal to the political, are below.
“I’ve taken important steps towards embracing honesty in my life in a radical way. I don’t mean just not lying. I mean being forthcoming with my feelings to my peers, my friends, and my family. It’s been painful and awkward at times, but I feel much better Alhamdulillah (all praises due to God) for not losing myself in the gray and instead addressing any tension openly.” — A Daughter, Sister, & Friend.
“This year I made sure to value myself and who I am outside of my work and career. These past few years have been focused on getting my education and then a job. But I tried focusing on being more conscious of the fact that I’m more than my job position and that I do find fulfillment outside of my career.” —Young Woman with a New Job
“Never in my life did I realize how much a mother does for her child, even when that child has a child of her own. She never stops serving her family. There’s a reason it’s ‘your mother, your mother, your mother.’” — A New Mom
This remark comes from a friend who welcomed her first child into the world this past year and as a result, found a new appreciation for her own mother. Her reference of “your mother, your mother, your mother” comes from a narration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him):
“A person came to Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) and asked, ‘Who among people is most deserving of my fine treatment?’
He (peace be upon him) said, ‘Your mother.’
He again asked, ‘Who next?’
‘Your mother,’ the Prophet (peace be upon him) replied again.
He asked, ‘Who next?’
He (peace be upon him) said again, ‘Your mother.’
He again asked, ‘Then who?’ Thereupon he (peace be upon him) said, ‘Then your father’” (Bukhari).
“This year, Allah really showed me that His plan for me is not one that I can foresee. I always ‘knew’ this, but this was the first year that really taught me this lesson head on. The second half of the year completely took me by surprise, and the planner in me is learning more and more to let go and let God.” —A Planner
“Life has a lot of ups and downs, but Insha’Allah, it all works out. Allah is the best of planners.” —A Job Hunter
“The point I am at in my life at this moment seemed like an impossibility just a few months ago. The journey, surprisingly, has been smooth, Alhamdulillah (all praises due to God), but it makes me nervous that there is some bump coming up in the road soon. All I can do to prepare for that unknown is put my trust in God, for He will only send me what’s best.”— An Expectant Mother
The three contributors of the reflections above express a common sentiment Muslims remind each other of—everything is a part of Allah’s plan. The Quran refers to Allah as Khayr ul Maakireen (The Best of Planners) on more than one occasion. Often when a Muslim experiences an unexpected turn or events or is facing the unknown future, there is a calmness that comes with submitting to God’s plan and knowing His way is the best course for us.
“I learned to be more appreciative of my health when I got my keloid removed. It was such a minor procedure, but I had to go through the whole process of a surgery at a hospital. This made me realize I should appreciate that I can live my life relatively pain-free and without worrying about my health.” —Healthy & Happy
“I’ve really realized in the last few months that life is full of ups and downs, but nothing is more important than your mental and emotional and physical health. Being kind to everyone has helped me feel more stable and healthy in my own life, for myself and my family.” —A Friend
“I’m proud of all the Muslims that ran in the election this year!” —Politically Proud
“We will not have a voice if we do not stand for what we believe…there is great value in building for a stronger, more confident, and prepared community in these challenging times.” — A Voice for All Muslims
The recent midterm elections in the United States this year were historic in that many Muslims ran for office. Not all were crowned the victors, but a handful were—like the two first Muslim congresswomen Ilhan Omar from Minnesota and Rashida Tlaib from Michigan. Our most heartfelt congratulations to these two pillars in the Muslim community, as well as all the other minorities who had the courage to run. This is just the first step in building a better tomorrow for all Americans.