Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine
Zil-Hijjah / Muharram 1423 H
March 2003
Volume 16-03 No : 195
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News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Mission and Machines Muslim Perspectives Investigation Community Initiative Face To Face Women In Focus Book Review Children's Corner Photo Feature Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Religion Cross Fire - S. Abdullah Tariq Muharram Readers Right Living Islam Quran & Science Opinion Islam-My Way Of Life Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

Muharram


The Month of Muharram In the Light of the Quran and Sunnah
The Virtues Of Allah's Sacred Month Of Muharram
The Tragedy of Kerbala
Lunar Calendar for our New Year 1424 Hijri


The Month of Muharram
In the Light of the Quran and Sunnah

An example of the easiness of Allah's religion is that the calculation of the beginning and end of each
Islamic month is based on the sighting of the moon

By Shaikh Muhammad Al-Uthaimeen

All praise is due to Allah Who created everything that exists and Who masterfully perfected his religion. I testify that there is nothing worthy of worship except Allah Who has Power over all things. I testify that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger, the bearer of glad tidings, and the warner, who invites to Allah’s Grace by His leave and who is as a lamp - spreading the light of guidance. May Allah have mercy on him, his companions and their true followers.

O people! Revere Allah and always be conscious of him. Be aware that there is manifest wisdom in the alternation of the days and nights and in the succession of months and years. It is incumbent upon us that we utilize the days and nights by performing righteous deeds within them and differ from those that fill their time with evil deeds until death overtakes them.

Allah has given us two indicators in the day and night; in the day there is the sun while at night there is the moon. Upon the emergence of each new day, life is renewed and every worshipper summons up his energy to practice more acts of devotion. It is because of this that Allah has likened sleeping at night to death while likening waking up during the day to resurrection. He has said that which translates as: “It is He who takes your souls by night [i.e. when you sleep] and knows what you have committed by day. Then He revives you therein [i.e. by day] that a specified term [i.e. One’s decreed life span] may be fulfilled. Then to Him will be your return; then He will inform you about what you used to do” (Al An’aam: 60).

It is a manifestation of the mercy of Allah towards His worshippers that He has made the sun and the moon follow exactly computed courses. By observing the sun, people can know the different seasons and by looking at the moon, people will be able to deduce the beginning and end of each month. Allah has divided the year into twelve months as He said that which translates as: “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion [i.e. way], so do not wrong yourselves during them...” (At-Tawbah: 36).

Of the four sacred months, three are consecutive: Dhu’l-Qi’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Al-Muharram. The fourth is Rajab which lies between the months of Jumada Al-Aakhirah and Sha’baan.

An example of the easiness of Allah’s religion is that the calculation of the beginning and end of each Islamic month is based on the sighting of the moon. Therefore, every person will be easily informed of each new month, regardless of whether they are literate or not. The advent of a new month is known by the appearance of the crescent in the west after sunset; once the crescent is manifest, one month has come to an end and another has begun. Therefore, we also come to know that the day starts at the sunset and not at midnight, because the first day of the month is marked by the sunset of the last day of the previous month.

The Islamic calendar was first introduced during the era of the Amir Al-Mu’mineen, or leader of the believers ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab , may Allah be pleased with him, during the sixteenth or seventeenth year after the Hijrah, or migration of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, sought the people’s advice on when the Hijri calendar should start. Some held that it should have started from the birth of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, whilst others thought that it should have begun from the very first day that the Messenger of Allah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam began his mission. Another group believed that the calendar should have started from the emigration and the last group held that the calendar should have begun from the death of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, agreed with those who wished to start the Islamic Calendar with the Hijrah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam due to the fact that this marked the point in history when Allah differentiated between truth and falsehood by giving the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam real power and authority which was manifested in the form of the first Islamic State.

The companions were also consulted on which month should mark the beginning of the year; ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattaab and ‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan, may Allah be pleased with them both, chose Al-Muharram due to it being a sacred month and because it follows the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah, which is when the Muslims perform Hajj, or the pilgrimage, which was the last pillar of Islam that Allah enjoined upon the Muslims. Al-Muharram also follows the month in which the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam pledged allegiance to the Ansar (His Madinan supporters) to emigrate to Madinah and this pledge of allegiance was one of the introductory acts of emigration. Due to all these reasons, Al-Muharram was deemed the most suitable month to begin the Islamic Calendar.

Servants of Allah! We must be thankful to Allah for such an easy method of calculation. The Muslim nation must have a distinct and independent identity which is derived solely from the essence of Islam. It is incumbent on the Muslim nation that it be distinguished from other nations as far as morals, manners and entire way of life are concerned. This nation cannot be a subservient one that is always tending towards the blind imitation of others; this kind of blind imitation will not entail any goodness or prevent any evil. On the contrary, it will cause the Muslim nation to become weak and dependent on others and this will cause it to forget its past glories. This nation will never be reformed except by following the very same methodology that reformed it in the past. We have learned that the day starts at sunset, the month starts once the crescent is sighted and the year starts from the day of the emigration of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. This is the method followed by the Muslims of the past; their jurists recorded dates according to this method in their books when handling issues, such as the time of settling debts and other similar matters.

“And a sign for them is the night, We remove from it the [light of] day, so they are [left] in darkness. And the sun runs [on course] towards its stopping point. That is the determination of the Exalted in Might, the Knowing. And the moon - We have determined for it phases, until it returns [appearing] like the old date stalk. It is not allowable [i.e. possible] for the sun to reach the moon, nor does the night overtake the day, but each, in an orbit, is swimming.” (Yasin: 37-40).

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The Virtues Of Allah's
Sacred Month Of Muharram

Fasting on the Day of 'Ashura' Expiates the Sins of the Preceding Year

When the Day of Judgement comes, we will without doubt all desire to steer clear from our sins and wish that we had done more good deeds that would be a cause for removal of our bad deeds. Of much interest to us Muslims these days should be the fasting on the 9th and the 10th of Muharram. The Prophet (Pbuh), said about the voluntary fasting on the Day of ‘Ashura:

“It expiates the sins of the preceding year.” [Saheeh Muslim]

Ibn ‘Abbas, (RA), reported: “The Prophet, came to al-Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them about that”. They replied, “This is a good day, the day on which Allah rescued Bani Israel from their enemy. So Moosa observed fast on this day.” The Prophet said, “We have more claim over Moosa than you.” So the Prophet, observed fast on that day and ordered (the Muslims) to observe fast (on that day).” [Saheeh al-Bukhari, Muslim]

Ibn ‘Abbas also reported, “The Messenger of Allah fasted on the day of Ashura and ordered the people to fast on it. The people said, “O Messenger of Allah, it is a day that the Jews and Christians honour.” The Prophet, said, “When the following year comes - Allah willing - we shall fast on the ninth.” The death of the Prophet, came before the following year.” [Saheeh Muslim, Abu Dawood]

So it is recommended to fast on the 10th of Muharram and the 9th along with it as well.

Qadi ibn Rushd says, “in that the scholars disagreed whether the fast is to be done on the 9th or the 10th of Muharram based on the above traditions [Bidayat ul Mujtahid]. And I have found a recommendation to fast on both days in various books, such as “Mukhtasar al-Ahkaam al-Fiqhiyyah”, Jameel Zenos’ “The Pillars of Islam and Iman”, and Dr. Jaafar Sheikh Idris’ “The Fast.”

As for the wisdom behind this fast, the following is stated in the condensed version of Ibn ul Qayyims “Zaad ul-Ma`aad:” “The day of `Ashura was the day when Moosa and his men got freedom from the hands of the Pharaoh and it was in the sacred memory of this great event that the Muslims observed voluntary fasting. The idea underlying this is to stress the affinity amongst the messengers of Allah and to show that religious devotion is a constant flow from one generation to another. The Prophet came not to abrogate all the earlier religious practices but to codify and preserve them for all times to come in ideal forms.”

Allah’s sacred month of Muharram is a blessed and important month.It is the first month of the Hijri calendar and is one of the four sacred months concerning which Allah says: “Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so it was ordained by Allah 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...” [al-Tawbah 9:36]

Muharram is so called because it is a sacred (muharram) month and to confirm its sanctity. Allah’s words: “so wrong not yourselves therein...” mean do not wrong yourselves in these sacred months, because sin in these months is worse than in other months.

It was reported that Ibn ‘Abbas said that this phrase (so wrong not yourselves therein) referred to all the months, then these four were singled out and made sacred, so that sin in these months is more serious and good deeds bring a greater reward.

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The Tragedy of Kerbala

It is such victory of spiritual righteousness over material falsehood that Imam Husain procured in Kerbala,
which has largely been an inspiration for mankind.

By Qureish Raghib

Muharram ul Haram the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar holds much spiritual and emotional significance. Muslims across all sectarian lines maintain Muharram to be the month of great solemnity.

The reason d’être being the revival and perseverance of Islamic principles and human morality by Imam Husain, grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Pbuh).

Corresponding to 10th October 680 AD, Imam Husain with 72 family members and disciples were martyred in the scorching desert of central Iraq on Friday 10th Moharram, 61Hijri. This day is known as Yaume Aashura (Day of Aashura).

Nevertheless this Shahadat (martyrdom) is principally perceived to be affliction upon mankind at large. Allah significantly enunciates in Quran-e-Majeed that if one slew a person intending to murder or create adversity on earth, it is as though slaying humanity in whole.

Both Western and Muslim intellectuals and scholars proclaim the tragedy to be the epitome of self-sacrifice for the cause of betterment of humanity through awareness of socio-religious dynamics. It is believed to be a superlative exposition of tolerance and patience - the loftiest virtues of conventional norms of intellectual discipline, spiritual enlightenment and social justice.

Historians rightfully state Imam Husain and his companions to have braved severe hunger and thirst for three consecutive days before facing inhuman atrocities by armies of Yazid bin Muaviya, emperor of the Islamic State at the time (680-683 AD). Thus the prevailing fact is, when conscience, consciousness and conviction preponderate over material being, physical discomfiture and needs, cease to affect human kind.

Imam Husain with an enlightened heart, sincerely repudiated Yazid and his abettors’ conspicuous licentious and sinful activities. Later, amidst thousands of adversaries, he expostulated by initiating and appealing for re-adopting conventional ethical and religious norms people had deviated from.

Eventually, Hur bin Yazid - one responsible for strategically halting Imam Husain and his companions from where accessibility to the waters of river Euphrates would be unattainable - spurred his horse towards Imam Husain’s camp and earnestly sought pardon. Hur’s inner awakening ultimately motivated him to sacrifice himself for the cause of truthfulness as he subsequently got martyred.

Apparently, it is such victory of spiritual righteousness over material falsehood that Imam Husain procured in Kerbala, which has largely been an inspiration for mankind. These aspects hence, signify the importance of Imam Husain’s martyrdom and it’s influence in enlightenment and enrichment of mind and heart, material being and spiritual form.

The cognate message drawn from the tragic historical event urges one to uncompromisingly endeavour for selfless sacrifice through disciplined adoption of discerning human codes of conduct, even though in an environ of abject materialism and egocentrism.

(The writer is a freelance journalist)

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Lunar Calendar for our New Year 1424 Hijri

I would like to bring to the notice of the esteemed readers the dates of the commencement of each of the 12 months in the next lunar year 1424 H, that starts from 5th March 2003. The information provided here is most reliable and authentic as it is provided by the top Astronomical Observations in the world including the Royal Greenwich Observatory, London, the Positional Astronomy Centre, Calcutta and the International Islamic Calendar Programme, Malaysia of which I am a member:

 

Year 1424 Hijri (2003-04 AD)
1. Muharram 5th March
2.  Safar 4th  4th April
3. Rabi u Awwal 3rd 3rd May
4. Rabi u Thani 2nd  2nd June
5. Jamadi Awwal 2nd 2nd July
6. Jamadi Thani 31st  31st July
7. Rajab 30th  30th August
8. Shaban 28th  28th September
9. Ramadan 28th  28th October
10. Shawwal 26th  26th November
11. Zul Qaida 25th  25th December
12. Zul Hijja 24th  24th January

This calendar will be of great help to the readers who would like to plan their activities like Haj and travelling etc in the next year, cut it out and preserve it for future use. If any reader likes to know more about the lunar or solar calendars, past and future, including the period of our beloved Prophets, please do NOT hesitate to contact me. The next new year 1425 H starts from 22 February 2004.

Dr. Syed Abdul Zahir, M.S
Member
International Islamic Calendar Programme
Malaysia
Phone : 080- 6647960

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News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Mission and Machines Muslim Perspectives Investigation Community Initiative Face To Face Women In Focus Book Review Children's Corner Photo Feature Quran Speaks to You Hadith Our Dialogue Religion Cross Fire - S. Abdullah Tariq Muharram Readers Right Living Islam Quran & Science Opinion Islam-My Way Of Life Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us

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