The Beginning of a New Islamic Year
This week marks the beginning of a new Islamic year, which was initiated after the Hijrah, or emigration, of the Prophet (pbuh) and which marked the formation of the first Muslim nation within an independent Islamic territory under the rule of Muslims.
The Muslims had no formal annual calendar until the caliphate of ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab, may Allaah be pleased with him. In the third or fourth year of his caliphate, ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, received a by I Want This">message from Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’ari, may Allaah be pleased with him, who suggested that their future correspondence be by I Want This">confirmed with the appropriate date. Therefore, ‘Umar, may Allaah be pleased with him, gathered some of the surviving companions of the Prophet (pbuh)and consulted them on this matter. Some of them suggested adopting the Persian Calendar; others proposed adopting the Roman Calendar; others still proposed that the Muslims should form their own calendar and that it should by I Want This">start from the birth of the Prophet (pbuh); another group agreed but thought that the new Islamic Calendar should start from the day on which the Prophet (pbuh) embarked upon his mission; another group believed that this new Islamic Calendar should begin from the emigration of the Prophet (pbuh)while a final group believed that should start from his death. After a discussion they, may Allaah be pleased with them all, agreed unanimously to adopt the position of those who held that the Islamic Calendar should start from when the Prophet (pbuh)emigrated from Makkah to Madeenah and that the first month of this new Calendar be that of Al-Muharram. This is because Al-Muharram is a sacred month and because it follows Dhu’l-Hijjah which is the month in which the Muslims perform Hajj, or the pilgrimage, which is the last of the five pillars of Islaam that was enjoined upon the Muslims. Al-Muharram also follows the month in which the Ansaar (the Madeenan supporters of the Prophet (pbuh)) pledged allegiance to the Prophet (pbuh) which was prior to his migration to Madinah. This pledge of allegiance was one of the introductory acts of the emigration itself and therefore Al-Muharram was deemed the most suitable month to start the Islamic Calendar by the companions of the Prophet (pbuh).
For the Muslims, the passage of years does not constitute a real cause of happiness; rather, what counts is the amount of time spent in obedience to Allaah during these years. The years that have passed will be considered as successful if they were spent in obedience to Allaah and miserable if they were spent in disobedience of Allaah. Therefore, the most evil person is he who has lived a long life and has committed evil deeds throughout. It is a must that we receive our days, months and years while in obedience to Allaah. We must bring ourselves to account, redeem ourselves from our bad deeds and duly perform our responsibilities towards our wives, children and relatives.
Servants of Allaah! Fear Him and perform the responsibilities about which you will be questioned on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah the Almighty says that which translates as: “O you who have believed, protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is people and stones, over which are (appointed) angels, harsh and severe, they do not disobey Allaah in what He commands them but do what they are commanded.” (At-Tahreem: 6).
Discharge responsibilities properly and know that your limbs will testify against you on the Day of Resurrection. Allaah says that which translates as: “Until, when they reach it, their hearing and their eyes and their skins will testify against them of what they used to do. And they will say to their skins, ‘Why have you testified against us?’ They will say, ‘We were made to speak by Allaah, who has made everything speak; and He created you the first time, and to Him you are returned. And you were not covering [i.e. protecting] yourselves [By fearing Allaah] lest your hearing testify against you or your sight or your skins, but you assumed that Allaah does not know much of what you do. And that was your assumption which you assumed about your Lord. It has brought you to ruin, and you have become among the losers.’” (Fussilat: 20- 23).
Servants of Allaah! The advent of every New Year is marked by many Muslims with sincere resolutions and plans to improve and become closer to their Lord, but the days and hours slip away while the peoples conditions remain the same, the inevitable result of such failures will be loss and disgrace in this world and the next. Therefore, we must invest our time in obedience to Allaah and make sure that our spiritual condition is improving from year to year; for the more time runs away from us, the closer we are drawing to our graves.
O servants of Allaah! I swear by Allaah that improvements in our worldly lives do us absolutely no good if our spiritual lives are not improving at the same time. I also swear that none can attain honour and dignity without submitting to the Lord of the worlds. Safety, tranquillity and welfare cannot be attained except by adopting the methodology of the messengers of Allaah. Be very clear that if any of you see welfare and pleasure accompanied with sins and deviation, then this is definitely a mere respite that has been given by Allaah ahead of a total ruin. Thus, we must all stand firm in the obedience of Allaah in order to protect ourselves from His punishment. Allaah the Almighty says that which translates as: “…And turn to Allaah in repentance, all of you, O believers, that you might succeed.” (An-Noor: 31).