Muharram and the Welcoming the Hijri Year 1436

Muharram and the Welcoming the Hijri Year 1436

Kullu ‘Am Wa Antum Bi Khayrin Ma’assalama Was-Sihhah.

May Your Entire Year be filled with

Goodness, Peace and Well-Being.

Imam Dr. A. Rashied Omar

We welcome the New Hijri lunar year 1436 and pray that Allah, in his infinite Grace and Compassion will bless us and our families with good health, protect us from all calamities, and keep us busy in the new year with deeds that will draw us closer to Him and to each other, insha-Allah.

The Significance of the Lunar Month of Muharram

The lunar month of Muharram, the first month in the Muslim lunar year, is a special and sacred time for Muslims. The month of Muharram derives its significance and sacredness from the two most primary sources of Islamic guidance the Glorious Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

In the Glorious Qur’an in Surah al-Taubah, chapter 9, verse 36, Allah, the Sublime, proclaims:

The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve: so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and earth; of them four are sacred; that is the straight usage.

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) identified these four sacred months referred to in the above verse to be the following:

Dhul Qa’idah (the 11th month)

Dhul Hijjah (the 12th and last month)

Muharram (the Ist month)

and Rajab (the 7th month).

It is interesting to note that this was not an original formulation of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) rather these four months were regarded as sacred by pre-Islamic Arabs prior to the advent of Islam and its efficacy is confirmed by the Qur’an and the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The lesson is obvious: Islam is not a faith tradition that seeks to obliterate all cultural traditions and social norms. On the contrary Islam is a faith tradition that seeks to lift up and celebrate the good and morally sublime and useful aspects of any society, more especially if these resonate with that of its own teachings and values.

Another cogent example of this is the following report by Ibn Abbas (ra) that when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) first arrived in Madinah, shortly after his migration (Hijrah) there, he discovered that the Jews of Madinah were fasting on the tenth day of Muharram (which was known as Yawm ‘Ashura). On inquiring with regard to the significance of their fasting, he was informed that this was the way in which the Jews were commemorating the day on which Allah (swt) saved Prophet Musa (as) and the Children of Isra’il from the persecution of Fir`own. On hearing this, the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) without receiving Divine revelation to this effect but rather acting in accordance with the open and magnanimous spirit of Islam that he sought to engender in his followers ordered the Muslims to fast on the tenth day of Muharram. This was one of the first forms of fasting that the Muslims engaged in before the fasting of Ramadan and subsequently remained one of the one of the ways through which Muslims uphold the sacredness of the month.

Moreover, in the hadith literature it is related on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was asked:

“… which fasting is best after the month of Ramadan?

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) said:

“The month of Allah that you call the sacred one.”

(This hadith is related by Ahmad, Muslim and Abu Dawud.)

The scholars of Islam have recommended three formats of fasting that can be observed during Muharram:

Fasting for the three consecutive days of the 9th, 10th and 11th of Muharram.

Fasting two days, either the 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th of Muharram.

Fasting only on the 10th of Muharram.

Conclusion

May the New Hijri Year 1436 bring us all greater happiness and joy and Peace with justice.

 Du’a/Prayer for the Muslim New Year

O Allah! Thou art the everlasting, the beginning without end

Upon thy favours and bounties and generosity do we depend

This is a new year that has dawned

We ask and beseech thy protection in it from shaytan and his supporters

And protection against the base desires of our lower selves

And keep us busy with deeds that will draw us closer to thee,

O! Owner of all Glory and Honour

And place thy special salutations and blessings upon our leader Muhammad, his family and his friends!

Kullu ‘Am Wa Antum Bi Khayrin Ma’assalama Was-Sihhah.

May Your Entire Year be filled with

Goodness, Peace and Well-Being.

 

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