Nia and the New Year

by Nazaahah Amin

2016. 2016. 2016. Lawd. Just hearing that number could induce shudders in many. Last year was a year of great loss in our Black Muslim community as we said farewell to many prominent leaders and community members. We also felt a loss of hope as the light that Obama’s term brought to our lives began to dim.

But as the year came to a close the dawn of a new year came to us just as bright as she wanted to be.

And with this new year came a sea of resolutions, ambitious promises and lofty goals. While goals like, “Lose 25 pounds.”  or “make more money” may sound like something we should say at the start of the year, we have to check and see is it something that we really want to achieve. Is our true intention to release the weight or gain the money or does it just sound right?

While resolutions can bring us closer to our goals we need to consult our hearts about why we even have these goals. This is why I like the word ‘intentions’.

Intentions. This is a word we hear often in the Muslim community. In Arabic the word is Nia and it’s also seen in the Nguzo Saba (The Seven Principles of Kwanzaa).

As Muslims, we know our “Actions are according to intentions…”¹  and most things we do in Islam start with intentions. Salah, fasting, zakah can all be void if not done with proper heart-felt, Allah-centered intentions. So if these acts need intentions, shouldn’t the start of the year be filled with them as well?

So let’s take a moment to set positive intentions to get this year off to a glorious start!

Set aside 60 minutes of quiet time in your bedroom or other private place to complete this intention activity. Turn off your cell phone and let your family or roommates know that you will need to be alone during this time.

  • Grab a cup of warm tea or water, a journal or paper and a pen
  • Light an incense or your favorite scented candle to encourage a positive space
  • Say ‘Bismillah’, take a deep breath in through your nose and slowly out through your mouth and answer the following questions in your journal:
  1. What thoughts, people, behaviors or situations do I need to leave behind in 2016?
  2. What do I intend to bring into my life in 2017?
  3. What is my theme word for 2017?
  4. How will I bring peace to my community this year?
  5. How will I regularly make time for myself this year?
  6. What 3 things will I do to get closer to Allah this year?

Put the answers in a place that you will see them throughout the year. Revisit your responses and when your year seems to be getting off course come back to this activity.

  1. The year of hope and renewal.

Yup I’m claiming that for all of us this year.

May Allah bless us all with an abundance of love, light, hope and peace in 2017!

¹ related by Bukhari and Muslim

nazaahah-amin-headshotNazaahah Amin is a yoga and wellness teacher with over 15 years of experience. She’s taught hundreds of students at many black women owned wellness spaces in the Baltimore/DC area. Off the mat, she’s connected with her tribe through teaching and speaking at national conferences, spiritual retreats and women’s wellness events throughout Maryland, Washington, DC, New York, Pennsylvania and Connecticut. In 2011, while looking for an all-women yoga class, she started her own series Sistas Yoga Sundays. In 2013, she founded Ama Wellness, a wholistic wellness company. That company has since blossomed into the brand Nazaahah Amin {Yoga + Connection for Women of Color}.  Visit Nazaahah at

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