I begin with the Name of Allaah, the Entirely Merciful, the Especially Merciful.
“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allaah on the day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred. That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein…”Qur’an 9:36
Today ushers in the beginning of the Lunar (Hijri) calendar, a calendar peculiar to the Muslims. The new year in itself is a demonstration of how fast time flies and how irreversible time is. For the Muslims, it is not known in the Shariah that they celebrate the new year as do people of other faiths.
A renowned scholar of this century, Shaykh ibn Uthaymeen said a Muslim should not initiate greetings such as ‘happy new year’ because of the absence of any report to show that the salaf (early generations of Islam) congratulated one another on the occasion of new year, rather they did not regard the first of Muharram as the first day of the new year until the caliphate of Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allaah be pleased with him). However he said that when such greetings have been initiated, then it is permissible to respond.
The month of Muharram is honorably called the month of Allaah, this shows the level of veneration it deserves by attributing it to Allaah. It is a blessed month, a sacred month among the four sacred months concerning which Allaah Exalted be He, says: “…of them four are sacred…” Qur’an 9:36.
Regarding the sanctity of this month, Imam Al-Bukhari in his Sahih and Imam Ahmad in his Musnad recorded a narration on the strength of Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) from the Prophet (may peace be upon him) that: “…The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred: three consecutive months, Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab of (the tribe of) Mudar which comes between Jumaada (Ath-Thaniyah and Sha’ban)”. According to Shaykh ‘Alam ad-Din As-Sakhawi in his small book entitled Al-Mashhur fi Asma’ Al-Ayam wash-Shuhur, Muharram was so named to emphasise its sacredness.
In this blessed period, the Muslims are encouraged to travel down memory lane to assess themselves objectively with regards to what they were expected to have done as Muslims and how well they have fared in doing that. Identify the minus factors and repent and seek Allaah’s forgiveness because time is ticking away like the melting of the ice.
There is approximately 8,760 hours in a year, how judiciously have they been utilised because Allaah Exalted be He, says: “O you who believe, have Taqwa (fear, piety) of Allaah and let every person look to what he has set forth for tomorrow and fear Allaah. Verily, Allaah is All-Aware of what you do.” Qur’an 59:18.
Ibn Katheer said the statement of Allaah “let every person look to what he has sent forth for tomorrow” signifies that you should hold yourselves accountable before you are recompensed, and contemplate what you have kept for yourselves of good deeds for the Day of your return being paraded before your Lord.”
Sadly today, most Muslims are not aware of the sacredness of the month of Muharram, the dangers of sinning in it as well as the greatness of righteous deeds therein. The great companion of the Prophet (may place be upon him) Abdullah ibn Abbas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said, concerning the words of Allaah “So wrong not yourselves therein” (the command not to wrong yourself) applies in all months, then Allaah singled out four months and made sacred, and emphasised their sanctity, and He made sin during these months more grave, and He made righteous deeds and reward thereof greater.” Tafseer of Ibn Katheer.
With respect to virtuous deeds in the Month of Muharram, Imam Muslim has a narration in his Sahih on the strength of Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleaded with him) said: The messenger of Allaah (peace be upon him) said: “The best fast after Ramadan is in the month of Allaah Muharram.”
In conclusion, unlike our worldly endeavors where we get appraisals for our excellent deeds and feel happy about it and get criticised for our failures, our religious deeds are appraised by the One above the Heavens Who rose over the Throne as it befits His Majesty and Honor. We can only get to know if our deeds have been accepted when we stand in front of Him. This should serve as an encouragement for us to increase in our righteous deeds and fill our calendar and time-table with pious deeds because we do not know the result of our righteous deeds of the past years. May our days be filled with piety.
Mr Abdul (Penabdul), an architect, teaches at the Baze University, Abuja. He is also the Chairman/CEO of Sustainable Project Works (SPW) Ltd. He can be reached on Twitter: @Penabdull and Instagram: @Penabdul