By Sheikh Ibrahim Raji
In the Name of Allah, The Entirely Merciful, The Especially Merciful. May the peace and blessing of Allah be upon the Messenger, His household as well as his companions.
The Muslim Ummah all over the world, a few days ago, welcomed a new Hijrah year based on lunar calendar. As at today, Friday the 9th of Muharram 1442 AH (corresponding to the 28th of August 2020), it is exactly 1441 years, one week and two days ago when Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him migrated from Makah to Medina.
This new year, like all other previous ones, came in without too much fanfare and celebration by adherents in the Islamic world at large, as well as our own part of the world. To some, especially those who belong to different faiths apart from Islam, it looks so strange to bid a previous year farewell and welcome another one without noise, merry making singing and dancing that accompany such a notable occasion.
The reason for that is not farfetched. As Muslims, we are strictly bound to adhere to the teachings of our religion as taught by our Noble Prophet (SAW) about whom Allah said in Quran 53:3&4: “Nor does He (Muhammad) speaks of (his own) desire. It is only an inspiration that is inspired.” Inspiration from where? Of course from The Almighty Allah Who is the sole director of the affairs in the universe. As a result of that, Muslims are absolutely exempted from introducing any novel thing into Islam. Every aspect of the religion must emanate from the glorious Quran or the Prophetic tradition. Otherwise it would be classified as innovation (bid’ah), no matter how well polished, glorified and publicized. We should therefore, bear it in mind that Islam is not a man made religion that we can just be practicing the way we like. Nay! It has to be done the way approved by our Maker and in accordance with the practice of His Messenger.
Allah The Almighty warned His believing servants thus: “O you who believe! Put not yourselves forward before Allah and His Messenger SAW, and fear Allah, Verily! Allah is All-Hearing All-Knowing”. Quran 49:1.
Putting oneself forward before Allah and His Messenger is trying to modify any segment of the perfected religion of Allah by either adding to it or omitting from it.
Of course, we should glorify Allah for preserving our lives to witness another new year. In fact, the Noble Prophet taught us on daily basis, immediately we wake up before getting off our beds to say “Alhamdu lillahi -ladhee ahyaanaa ba’da maa amaatanaa wa ilayhin nushoor”. (All praise be to Allah, Who gave us life (back) after death (sleep is a form of death) and to Him shall we be raised and returned).
Having said that, what then is expected from us as Muslims on this seasoned occasion as a way of expressing gratitude to Allah? We simply need to follow the instruction of the Prophet (SAW) who recommended that we fast the ninth and tenth day of Muharram, being the first lunar month. Doing so according to him, (the Prophet, SAW) Allah will wipe off our wrong doings of the previous year. What a bountiful reward by the All-Benevolent for such a little act of worship performed!
Beside showing gratitude in modesty for witnessing a new year, a true believer should meticulously ponder on the events that transpired in the previous year, praise Allah for his achievements, sincerely repent his sins and make a strong determination to perform better in the new year by trying to draw more closer to Allah; bearing in mind the address of Allah to the believers thus: “O you who believe! Fear Allah (by keeping your duty to Him). And let every soul reflect on what it has sent forth for the morrow. Fear Allah verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do. And be not like those who forgot Allah (i.e. become disobedient to Allah) and He caused them to forget their own selves, (let them forget to do righteous deeds). Those are the Fasiqun (rebellious, disobedient to Allah). Not equal are the dwellers of the Fire and the dwellers of the Paradise. It is the dwellers of the Paradise that will be successful”. Quran 59:18-20.
Praise be to Allah Who had pre warned us to be moderate in all our affairs and not to be extravagant in spending our wealth and also avoid wasting time on unnecessary things. There is a popular saying that time is money, whereas time, I believe is far more valuable than money because, one may lost thousands out of his wealth today and the same person may regain millions afterward. As of the time, one second lost can never be regained forever. It is pertinent here to quote the saying of the Messenger of Allah (PBOH) narrated by Hassanul Basry: “On every blessed day at dawn, there is a proclamation thus: “O you the son of Adam! I am but a new creature that is keeping a close watch on your activities and as well, recording same. So, perform good deeds, for I will never return till the Day of resurrection”. And according to one Arabian poet, he said and I quote:” It gladdens mankind that nights and days are swiftly passing by, whereas their quick succession is an indication to his expiration.
Finally, we invoke upon Allah The Most High to grant us His blessings in this New Year, forgive us our past sins and increase us in knowledge, wisdom and faith. May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon His Messenger, his household and companions.