Monday, 6 December 2010
Muslim New Year 1432: Month of Muharram and Ashura
On Tuesday is the Islamic New Year insha-Allah. It is the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar and the start of 1432 AH. The New Year date changes every year as the Islamic calendar is roughly 11 days shorter than the Gregorian (solar) calendar.
The Islamic or Hijrah calendar is lunar-based, consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries (concurrently with the Gregorian calendar) and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic holy days and festivals. The first year was the year the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions (RA) migrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah where He (SAW) set up the first Islamic state in 662 CE, known as the Hijra. Each numbered year is designated either H for Hijra or AH for the Latin anno Hegirae (in the year of the Hijra).
Muslims in general don’t really celebrate the New Year but the 10th of Muharram (the day of Ashura) is very significant to us. Most probably it is going to be 15th or 16th December the day of Ashura, insha-Allah. We should fast this day as recommended by the Prophet (SAW):
'Ibn Abbas (RA) said "I never saw Allah's Messenger (SAW) so keen to fast any day and give it priority over any other day than this day, the Day of Ashura and this month, meaning Ramadan" - (Bukhari, Hadith 1867)
According to one narration, Muharram is called the month of Allah (SWT). Abu Hurairah (RA) reported: The Messenger of Allah (SAW) said, “The month for observing Saum (fasting) next after Ramadan is the month of Allah, the Muharram; and the best salat (prayer) next after the prescribed salat is salat at night (Tahajjud prayers) (Muslim).
Muharram is also one of the sacred months. The other three sacred months are Rajab, Dhul-Qadah and Dhul-Hijjah. It has been reported from Ibn Abbas (RA), the Messenger of Allah (SAW) observed fasting on the day of Ashura and commanded all the Muslims to fast on this day (Al-Bukhari & Muslim).
In another hadith, it is stated that when the Prophet (SAW) emigrated from Makkah to Al-Madinah, He (SAW) saw that the Jews were fasting on this day. He (SWT) asked them why they did this on that day and they told him that they did it for the reason that Allah (SWT) granted Prophet Musa (AS) emancipation from Pharaoh on this day and so they observed fasting as a token of their joy. On this, the Messenger (SAW) said that in this happiness of Prohet Musa (AS), Muslims have a greater right to observe this fast than the Jews. Consequently, He (SAW) also observed fast on 10th of Muharram. Then He (SAW) said that if he lived the following year, He (SAW) would fast on 9th of Muharram also so that they would make themselves different from the Jews. According to another Hadith, He (SAW) ordained Muslims to observe the fast of Ashura and in addition one more fast on 9th or 11th of Muharram in opposition to the Jews (Musnad Ahmed, Vol.4,p-21). That is why fasting two days either 9th and 10th or 10th and 11th of Muharram is a Sunnah of our beloved Prophet (SAW). We are also recommended to fast anytime during this month as it is one of the sacred months.
It is recommended to bring the night of Ashura to life with prayers, supplication and remembrance of Allah (SWT). It is also good to expand generosity upon children by giving them food they like and other gifts.
As today is probably the last day of Hijri year 1431, I would like to share with you a beautiful dua I have found in one of the Zaytuna journals, alhamdulillah. Now some people may question what the source of this is exactly. I must admit I don’t know but I believe my intention is pure and I want Allah (SWT) to forgive me insha-Allah. Just read the dua and you can decide yourself whether you would like to make this dua or otherwise. Allah (SWT) knows best.
It was mentioned in the book. The Treasure of Success and Felicity in the Supplements that expand the Chests (Kanzun-Najaah was-Surur), that if a person reads the following supplication three times at the end of the year, the Devil will say, “We tired ourselves with him/her all year and he/she ruined all that we have done in one moment.”
“In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful and Allah bless our teacher Muhammad and his family and companions and grant them peace. O Allah, whatever actions I have committed this past year which have not pleased You, which I may have forgotten though You do not forget, while You are forbearing with me though fully capable of punishing me, while You called me to relent and atone even after my audaciousness before You – O Allah, I surely seek Your forgiveness for that, so forgive me! O Allah, and as for my actions that have pleased You and for which recompense and forgiveness has been promised, please accept them from me. And do not dash my hopes in You, O Generous, O Most Merciful of the Merciful. And Allah, the Exalted, bless our Master Muhammad and his famly and companions and grant them peace. (Seasons: Journal of Zaytuna Institute Autumn – Winter Reflections 2003-2004).
May Allah SWT keep us blessed in the new year and help us to be better Muslims, ameen !