Tuesday 1 January 2013

Reviewing 2012 and Looking Forward to 2013

We don’t celebrate New Year as the Islamic New Year started in mid-November.  However this changing of the calendar is as good a time as any to review how we have spent the last twelve months and how we can do better in the coming year.

I received an e-mail in my inbox from Sheikh Muhammad Alshareef this morning which came at just the right moment (slightly abridged):

At this moment, as we bid farewell to 2012, I can tangibly feel the words of the Prophet,
sal Allah alayhi wa sallam, "The Pens have been raised, and the ink has dried."

2012's ink has dried. 
And it's time for reflection.

I'm NOT going to give you a list of questions to ask yourself.
Just one question, and it's all that matters: 


Because if Allah is pleased with what you've done, then success is yours.

Following the hadith of the Prophet, sal Allahu alayhi wa sallam, "Verily Allah is Good and Pure, and He only accepts that which is good and pure."

It made me think about the last year and what was significant for me.  I probably had one of the toughest years of my life with my sixth pregnancy taking everything out of me.  There was so much happening around me and I could not fully participate – Fashionista’s wedding, the Olympics, a review at work, new projects and opportunities.  It was a lesson in how life might look like when you don’t have your independence and health and full mobility that will stay with me always and which makes me grateful for my health.

I found the strength to keep on pushing myself and to keep on going and getting the things done I had to do.  When hubby left for South Africa late last year, I had to go back to being strong, independent and fairly disciplined.  It was just the thing I needed to remind me of the person I had once been before I turned into a mess last year and just the mindset I needed to move forward with my life.  I’ve gained many things from my husband going out to do the work Allah (SWT) willed for him, but the greatest of these has been to find myself in strong place which I believe I will be able to draw from for the rest of my life insh’Allah.

My pregnancy also made me see a side of myself I didn’t like so much – I was very down and short tempered, everything upset me and I took everything personally.  This impacted on my relationship with my mum-in-law as I did not have the patience to be gentle or to think of others.  We are on fairly good terms but I think there is need for a little bridge building in our hearts.  We may go to stay with her in Pakistan during the children’s Easter holidays if we can afford to, otherwise both she and dad-in-law will be back next summer and we will see how things go.

I also enjoyed working for the Olympic team set up in the organisation I work for.  It was a fantastic learning curve and I benefitted so much professionally.  When I went back to my old team, I realised that I could not do the job any longer or I would go crazy from the tedium.  Thankfully my maternity leave started at just the right time and I was able to step away from work for a while and my manager assured me the job would be very different when I went back, something I have set aside from my mind for now.

My younger sister Fashionista’swedding was a bitter sweet experience for me.  It was a fantastic wedding and we had so much fun partying for days and getting to be creative.  But she moved out of town and we see much less of her.  At the same time we have acquired the nicest brother in law you can imagine.

The sweetest moment of 2012 was the birth of my fourth child, my sweet, happy little girl.  The sheer relief and release of the moment and also finally meeting my lovely daughter was something I will never forget (as was the crazy twenty-minute labour).  Going in to 2013, she continues to be a source of pure joy and has changed our lives in so many ways.  She has made me look at my children in  a new way – the way they care for and interact with her, especially Little Lady and the reminder that they were once so tiny and sweet (except Gorgeous, that boy was never tiny).

Being pregnant and miserable also meant that my worship was at the minimum I could get away with.  Things are still not much better in this regard due to the tiring routines of a two month old, but I am working on it insh’Allah, this time with the kids in tow and by trying to include them.

I hope to go into 2013 with lots of positive energy and plans.  I have become more realistic in what I can achieve with the workload of motherhood and a busy home and so I hope to prioritise fewer things which are more important to me.

I am hoping to enrol in an Quranic Arabic course to improve my understanding of the Quran.  Sister Sumaiyah has helped me to find one which might be the right one for me insh’Allah (just waiting to hear of my application has been accepted).

One of the things we have been working on for the last two months or so is a daily study circle with the kids each evening.  This is less than half an hour and comprises of 15 minutes or so on hadith and ten minutes on the sunnah or traditions of our beloved Prophet (PBUH).  This has had a tangible impact on the children and is something we hope to work on further.

This is the penultimate year before Little Lady has to start high school (which is quite scary).  Instead of freaking out, I have started looking at our options and planning for various eventualities, so this might mean changes in our lives this year (whether moving house or spending a year coaching her for exams or getting ready to send her to our local catchment area school which I attended and which is pretty rubbish).

I saw very little of hubby last year due to a masjid project he was working on.  It was well worth it, but still hard to see so little of him.  So this year I plan to be selfish and take back some of his time, I think it does us both good and whilst patience is good, playing a martyr when it’s not in your nature doesn’t do  anyone any good.

The other things I hope to do for myself is to learn to drive and sew at some point and to get better at cooking.  I want to try new foods (other than curry and chapatti every day) and have a healthy diet for my family.

There was so much that was unexpected last year and much of it was good.  There will be so much this year and I hope to meet it with an open heart and mind and to make the most of what comes this way during the coming months, but this time with patience and grace.  After being a misery guts last year I want to find the positive, happy, adventurous woman I was in my twenties and introduce her to the stronger woman I am in my thirties who has much more purpose in her life and clarity of direction insh’Allah.

What will you remember 2012 for and what are your big plans for 2013?


  1. Nice post indeed mashaAllah! Reflection is always good. How else can we learn and grow? As for me? I haven't thought about it much. Okay, well that is a lie. I think about the trials I have faced in the past couple of years all the time. but I am still unsure how to apply it to the coming year.I guess one of the biggest lessons Allah has taught me this past year was GRATITUDE. I mean we talk about it all the time, but sometimes it takes for us to go through something to actually feel that deep sincere gratitude. Alhamdulillah, I pray Allah can keep this gratitude in my heart. I pray for all the Muslim mommies, may Allah give us ease and help us be strong and confident and full of energy so that we may take on the challenges that are yet to come! Ameen.

    1. Assalam-alaikam Dear Sister,
      I agree gratitude for what we have plays such a big part in living a contented and fulfilled life. Ameen to your dua's.

      PS - I'm really enjoying reading your blog right now.

  2. Assalam alaikum umm_Salihah,
    Nice post. Has this anything to do with age? I am wondering. I have this feeling that women in 20's are normally positive, vibrant and happy. In 30's, coping with a bit more than usual(maybe due to the pregnancies and child-care), develop a greater outlook towards life and have more clarity and direction masha'Allah. Maybe this is how Allah(SWT) wills to bring maturity into human beings as they grow in age.
    Alhamdulillah, I feel the same as you. More clarity and direction, but less physical strength(although it could be temporary due to maternity). Insha'Allah, I will work towards increasing my iman and being more gentle towards life, myself and my children.

    Keep Posting.

    1. Assalam-alaikam Dear Sis,
      I agree age and experience has a lot to do with it. I just look back on my twenties and remember how vibrant I felt and how I was known for being upbeat and happy, I would love to recapture some of that insh'Allah. Hope your pregnancy is going well insh'Allah.

  3. This is your nice post.This is a beautiful way to share the knowledge and provide the update to people. We should learn from mistakes we did in the past and try to avoid them in future.

  4. Assalam aleikoum sis, This is so funny SubhanAllah. I am currently learning to drive and inshAllah hope to have my practice test this year, I enrol to a 2 days intensive sewing class with my borough in March and I told my hubby that we had to spend more time, only the two of us. On a wider scale, I would like to enrol inshAllah in Sept 13 to Islamic courses and enrol my daughter the Madrassa.

    1. Assalam-alaikam Dear Sister Ummi,
      Sounds like we have a lot in common regarding our goals! Insh'Allah maybe we can encourage each other?