There is a beautiful poem by William Butler Yeats called “He wishes for the Cloths of Heaven” where the last line of the poem reads:
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
I’ve always loved that line, and when someone says something thoughtless, or asks me a question that is unintentionally hurtful, I often say the words to myself when my nafs want to say something stronger instead.
For the new year though, I’m resolving to tell myself that message, and to work on concentrating on that which concerns me. A few years ago on the 2008 Rihla, Shaykh Abdul Hadi Honerkamp went through Imam Nawawi’s collection of 40 Hadith, and when we reached Hadith 12 where the Messenger of God, may God bless him and grant him peace, said, “Part of the beauty of a man’s Islam is that he leaves alone things that are no concern of his, Shaykh Abdul Hadi said that this trait is part of beauty because time is finite. Since there are only so many things that you can focus on, when you’re focused on what doesn’t concern you, that invariably means that you are not focusing on things that actually do matter. And he reminded us that there is so much for us to focus on: our work, purifying our hearts, perfecting our character traits, and learning more about the deen, and it is necessary to keep our attention centered on these things in order for our Islam to become excellent.
I recently watched a clip (below) with Shaykh Hamza Yusuf where he tells us something similar, and reminds us to keep focused on the things that are our business. In 2012, I’d like to insha’Allah strive to do this, and give the different roles I’ve blessed to have their due. Being an excellent student, planner, sister, daughter, friend, residence advisor, aunt, Muslim, and fulfilling the rights of myself (with healthy food, adequate exercise, inspiring company stimulating books, dhikr, Qur’an etc), these are the things that I want to insha’Allah keep my thoughts occupied with over the next twelve months.