Seizing the opportunity to make amends in Dhul Qa’dah

It may be a close friend, an acquaintance, or someone closer to home. You may not have spoken to kindly them, or at all, for a few hours, days, or even longer.

You may long to hear their voice, to wrap your arms around them and pour your heart out; making up for lost time. You miss them sorely; you just can’t bear to admit it. Some evenings you select their number, type ‘I’m sorry’ and then delete the text before sending. You may re-record that voicemail for the tenth time.

A part of you wants to make amends, to move forward. You are constantly reminded that life is short. The news of someone passing makes you re-evaluate the pain and resentment buried deep in your heart. But it still isn’t enough; you still think that it won’t happen to you; that you will still have a chance to make amends before it is too late.

This past year has opened our eyes to the fragility of life. It has reminded us that we are not even in control of the next few seconds. People have lost their spouses, their parents and their children in a blink of an eye, forever more deprived of the chance to spend one second longer with them.

Yet something stops you in your tracks when you want to make amends. It may be a fear of rejection, or you can’t bear to forgive what was said or done. So much time may have passed that you can’t even remember why you stopped talking. It may seem like there’s no hope of reconciliation.

But this doesn’t need to continue. You don’t need to carry the weight any longer. The month of Dhul Qadah is the perfect opportunity to let go of what you have been holding onto, and cleanse your heart.  In this sacred month, it is prohibited to fight. This was a tradition that was upheld by ancient Arabs for when the pilgrims were making their journey to Hajj.

Whilst we may not be faced with the prospect of physical conflict, we can embody the sanctity of this month, and its prohibitions, and apply it to our own lives.

In a month where our sins and good deeds carry greater weight, we should strive harder to please Him, and be ever more fearful of committing any acts which could incur His Anger.

“Indeed, the number of months ordained by Allah is twelve—in Allah’s Record since the day He created the heavens and the earth—of which four are sacred. That is the Right Way. So do not wrong one another during these months….And know that Allah is with those mindful (of Him).” (9:36)

In this month, where peace is encouraged, we should aim to bring peace to our own lives and hearts. It can be difficult to take that first step, to be the bigger person and to overlook a person’s shortcomings. However, in this sacred month, if you have mercy towards others, and forgive, surely your reward is awaiting you with Him.

“Whosoever forgives and makes amends, his reward is upon God.”(Quran, 42:40)

In these days, we can also follow in the footsteps of our beloved Prophet (saw). The greatest example of character and conduct. He (saw) was merciful to both believers and non-believers, even when some did not deserve it.  We are reminded of his immense mercy, when he was chased out of Taif, where he had travelled to spread the oneness of Allah.  The chiefs of Taif rejected his message and insulted him. Their taunting and harsh words were not enough for them. They unleashed the children of the tribe to throw stones at him and drive him out the town.

He sat alone, with blood-soaked feet, seeking shelter. In that moment, think if it were you or I. We would be broken, hurt, and seeking revenge. But the Prophet’s (saw) heart was devoid of such sentiments. Instead, when asked by the Angel Jibril that by the will of Allah he could crush the people of Taif with two mountains, he chose otherwise.

Instead he said to Jibril: “I pray that Allah blesses their children to be Muslims and worship Allah alone. Even if they have rejected Islam, I pray that Allah blesses their progeny to be Muslim.”

The Prophet (saw) was a mercy to mankind. The story of Taif is a reminder of the gentleness of his character, and the example we should try out utmost to emulate. It puts into perspective our own outlook on forgiveness, and forgiving. Although it is perfectly normal to feel hurt, saddened and angry when you are wronged. It is a true test of character of what follows. He (saw) was able to look at the bigger picture, and hope for the good that could come from such people, despite his personal injury, however poor their behavior had been.

At times, you may have to be the first person to apologise, to admit your part in the misunderstanding, and be willing to make amends. Alongside the reward for forgiving, and having mercy, there are other benefits to making amends and letting go of negativity.

When you are holding a grudge, or are unwilling to make amends it can impact your daily life. As humans, we are social creatures, and not being able to talk to someone as you usually would can have an impact. You may feel isolated, alone and unable to communicate.

It can also create added pressure and stress to your daily life, impacting your career, your relationships and your health. Bottling your feelings up, and burying how you truly feel can be detrimental to both your physical and mental health. Having an honest and open conversation will leave you feeling heard, and hopefully, understood.

You may be contemplating taking that first step, but may feel hesitant. That is completely normal, but even considering it is a huge accomplishment. It is important to take it step by step, and at your own pace, knowing that if you take one step towards Allah, He will take ten towards you.

It if helps, talk it through with a trusted person, or journal your thoughts on how you would like to reach out. You may wish to reach out via a phone conversation, or a text message or others may prefer speaking face to face. If you find it difficult to express yourself, or feel nervous, it could be better to write a letter or email to detail how you feel.

It is also beneficial to think of the outcome of your actions. Each situation is unique, and the response you receive may be positive, or it may be something you are unprepared for. Either way – and even if it is not what you had hoped for – you will feel lighter and more at peace knowing you have done your bit, and your reward is with Him.

Dhul Qa’dah is the perfect month for you to get closer to Him. To pour your heart out and maximize on the rewards of the sacred month.  Use this month to prepare for the best ten days, and get into the habit of creating peace in your life, praying and having patience.

As we approach the best days of the year, aim to increase your good deeds and cleanse your heart by giving in charity, praying extra prayers, and asking for forgiveness. You should try your utmost to stay away from bad habits, surrounding yourself with people that will benefit you both in this life and the Hereafter.

May Allah allow you and your loved ones to make the most of what remains of this sacred month to draw closer to Him, to bring about peace in your hearts and your homes, and to follow in the footsteps of our beloved (saw).