By Ikram Benzouine
By Ikram Benzouine
Rabat – The Hijri year is the religious calendar of Muslims. It commemorates the emigration (or Hijrah) of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him) and his Companions from Makkah to Medina for the sake of call to Allah.
In fact, the Hijrah is a turning point in Islamic history. It marked the rise of a new Islamic era in view of the resplendent accomplishments which contributed to the moral and material welfare of the city as well as of the whole Muslim Ummah (i.e. nation).
Heedless of the grandness of this sacred event, Muslims do not celebrate the new Hijri year in the same profligate way Christians do on the first day of the Gregorian calendar. Rather, for Muslims, the Prophetic Hijrah is a numinous celebration of the true Islamic spirit and an occasion to glorify the virtues embodied by Prophet Muhammad. Upon the arrival of the new Hijri year, Shaykh Saalih Al-‘Uthaymeen stated in a Jumu’ah Khutbah:
“O Muslims! We are approaching a new Islamic Hijri year. It is not a practice recorded in the Sunnah to celebrate this day or to congratulate and greet one another on its occasion. One does not rejoice by dint of having lived for many years; rather, the real joy is when he has specifically spent these years in the obedience of Allah, while these years are a source of evil for him if he has spent them otherwise. This is because the best of people is he whose life is long and whose conduct is good, while the worst of people is he whose life is long and whose conduct is evil, as stated by the Messenger of Allah (Peace Be upon Him). We must receive our days, months and years whilst in the obedience of Allah. We should hold ourselves to account and reform and rectify any evil in our conduct and deeds…”
This Friday speech proclaims that it is needless for Muslims to greet or congratulate each other on the first day of Hijri year. Rather they should work on bettering their deeds and cleansing their souls. Hence, the inviolability of this event made the Hijri year transcend its historical crux.
The lessons conveyed in the life of the Prophet during his Hijrah should not be regarded as a mere historical story, but one should espouse it as a must-follow paradigm of moral value. To begin with, it must be highlighted that fasting during the month of Muharram (the first month of the Hijri year) is the most rewarding as has been narrated from the Prophet (Peace and Blessings Be upon Him). In point of fact, Prophet Muhammad labeled Muharram as “month of Allah” to shed light on its stately worth. Thus, Muslims are urged to fast throughout the month to strengthen their faith to be able to keep away from what Allah has forbidden.
Given that Prophet Muhammad and his Followers managed to end hostilities with the Madinah tribes, Muslims are also encouraged to establish solidarity and support with other communities. They should offer others assistance and meet each other’s needs in bittersweet times. To illustrate with, when the prophet arrived to Madinah there were no educational institutions. He, then, founded schools as well as mosques in favor of the residents of the City with the help of his Followers.
The Hijri year is also a reminder of brotherly love amongst Muslims. In fact, brotherhood is the prevailing spirit during Prophet Muhammad’s Hijrah [and lifetime]. The Prophet (Peace and Blessing Be upon Him) said:
“The believer is friendly and easy to befriend. [And] there is no good in the person who does not befriend and does not get befriended.” Musnad Imam Ahmad.
This very concept of brotherhood is highly revered in Islam, since it is purely established for the sake of Allah and a sign of a perfect Deen (i.e. faith) and a pure heart. This demands Muslims to vacate any worldly interest that is likely to damage their bond with one another.
In short, the Hijri year is a consecrated occasion wherein Muslims invigorate their magnanimous conscience and ethos. The lessons and examples typified in the life of Prophet Muhammad along with his Hijrah from Makkah to Madinah could be a watershed in the life of Islamic Ummah. The Hijri year is not a valueless calendar, but rather an inscription of altruistic morals such as peace, brotherhood and well-being. It inculcates us, Muslims, with the need to aim for both moral and material good of the whole community.
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