Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem and greetings to our beloved Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad SAW
Just as the sun breaks through the darkness of Fajr every morning, Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, symbolizes a fresh beginning, bringing hope and aspirations. It is a time for Muslims to reflect, remember, and renew. Although it may be less known than Ramadan and Zulhijjah, Muharram is honored as the “month of Allah” and holds a sacred status. Its name, meaning “forbidden,” signifies the prohibition of warfare, emphasizing its importance.
Being the first month of the Islamic calendar gives an opportunity for Muslims to evaluate their lives, assess their actions, and make resolutions for positive change. Just as the new year prompts people to set resolutions, Muslims can take advantage of the arrival of Muharram to sharpen their past resolutions or establish new ones. This month serves as a reminder to recommit to living a life that aligns with the teachings of Islam and to strive for personal and spiritual growth.
Historical Events in Muharram
Muharram is associated with several significant incidents in Islamic history. The Migration (Hijrah) of Prophet Muhammad SAW and his people to Madinah marked a turning point for Islam, establishing a new Muslim community and laying the foundation for its growth.
The Battle of Karbala, which took place in the year 680 CE, witnessed the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, grandson of Prophet SAW, and his companions, who displayed unwavering courage and commitment to justice when they were confronted by a large army sent by the Umayyad caliphate.
Fasting on the Day of Ashura, the tenth day of Muharram, is a practice that commemorates the rescue of Prophet Musa from Pharaoh’s oppression, and fasting on this day is an act of gratitude and remembrance.
Muharram is also linked to the victory of Prophet Noh when his ark came to rest on Mount Judi in Muharram, marking the end of the great flood. This event symbolizes the victory of faith and the preservation of believers in the face of adversity.
Through these events, the sacred month serves as a catalyst for change, a time when we are called to reassess our actions and strive to be a better human being. In fact, as we set our niat or intent for this new year, let us draw inspiration from the Prophet Muhammad SAW’s life and how we can strive to embody his virtues of kindness, compassion, and justice. Let us set our intentions to be better individuals, both for ourselves and for the benefit of our families and society. Emulating the Prophet’s exemplary character, we can embark on a journey of personal growth, spreading kindness and striving for justice.
Here are some ways to emulate Prophet’s way as we enter the new year with new inspiration and hope.
- Strengthening our Relationship with Allah
The new year offers Muslims a chance to enhance our relationship with Allah through prayer, Quran reflection, seeking knowledge, fasting, remembrance, charity, and acts of kindness.
Surah Ar-Rad (Chapter 13, Verse 28)
“Indeed, those who have believed and whose hearts are assured by the remembrance of Allah. Unquestionably, by the remembrance of Allah, hearts are assured.”
This verse highlights the importance of remembering Allah, which brings peace and strengthens our bond with Him. Prophet Muhammad SAW had a deep and devoted connection with Allah. He would spend nights in prayer, seeking closeness to Him and reflecting on His words. He consistently engaged in supplication and sought forgiveness from Allah. We can emulate Prophet’s dedication to enhancing our spiritual growth and strengthening our relationship with Allah.
- Cultivating Good Character and Morality
Good Muslims are recognized for their good character and high morals, and Prophet Muhammad SAW exemplified impeccable character. He consistently demonstrated honesty, kindness, patience, and forgiveness in his dealings with others. His teachings emphasized the importance of good character, and he practiced what he preached, leaving behind a legacy of moral excellence for us to follow.
In Surah An Nahl (Chapter 16, Verse 90), it says,
“Indeed, Allah orders justice and good conduct and giving to relatives and forbids immorality and bad conduct and oppression. He admonishes you that perhaps you will be reminded.”
In our daily interactions, we encounter various challenges and deal with diverse personalities. To become better individuals, we should prioritize improving our character and moral conduct. Let us practice honesty, kindness, patience, and forgiveness in our interactions with others. By aligning our words and actions with the beautiful teachings of Islam, we can strive to be positive influences in our communities and make a meaningful impact.
- Nurturing Family Bonds
Prophet Muhammad SAW said, “The best of you is the one who is best to his family, and I am the best among you to my family.” (Tirmidhi). He emphasized the importance of being a good Muslim to one’s family and exemplified love, respect, and compassion within his own family. Muslims can take inspiration from his teachings and strive to be more loving, understanding, and supportive within their families. Unplug from technology, spend quality time, resolve conflicts amicably, and offer emotional and practical support. By following these practices, we can strengthen family bonds and create a harmonious home environment.
- Serving the Community
Muslims serve the community for various reasons deeply rooted in Islamic teachings and values. They do so to fulfill Allah’s commandments and follow the example of Prophet SAW.
“Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.”
(Surah An-Nisa, Chapter Chapte 4, Verse 58)
Prophet Muhammad SAW embodied principles of justice, fairness, and compassion. He championed the rights of the oppressed and marginalized, emphasizing the importance of treating all individuals with respect and dignity. His teachings on social justice, charity, and community involvement serve as a wonderful guide for Muslims in their interactions with others.
- Continuous Learning and Personal Growth
Muslims are strongly encouraged to seek knowledge continuously for personal betterment. This was emphasized in the Quran in Surah Ta-Ha (Chapter 20, Verse 114)
“And say: ‘My Lord, increase me in knowledge.”
Prophet Muhammad SAW exemplified this by having a deep thirst for knowledge and urging his companions to do the same. He emphasized the significance of seeking knowledge in religious matters and various disciplines. By actively seeking knowledge, we expand our understanding, broaden our horizons, and make positive contributions to our communities. Let Prophet’s dedication to learning inspire us to adopt a mindset of lifelong learning, ensuring that we constantly grow intellectually, spiritually, and socially.
- Reflecting on Our Actions and Seeking Repentance
Reflecting on our actions and seeking repentance is a continuous process of self-improvement and spiritual growth. Prophet Muhammad SAW demonstrated this through regular self-reflection and seeking forgiveness from Allah. His humility and willingness to rectify his actions serve as a powerful example for us. By adopting the Prophet’s approach, we become more conscious of our actions, seek forgiveness, and strive to become better individuals.
The Quran says in Surah At-Tahrim (Chapter 66, Verse 8)
“O you who have believed, repent to Allah with sincere repentance. Perhaps your Lord will remove from you your misdeeds and admit you into gardens beneath which rivers flow [on] the Day when Allah will not disgrace the Prophet and those who believed with him. Their light will proceed before them and on their right; they will say, ‘Our Lord, perfect for us our light and forgive us. Indeed, You are over all things competent.'”
Continuous Journey of Self-transformation
The gift of another year is truly a blessing. As we enter the new year, let us seize the opportunity to reflect, seek forgiveness, and embrace the teachings of Islam. By embodying the virtues and values exemplified by the Prophet, we can embark on a journey of self-transformation and positively impact our lives and the lives of those around us. As we strive to become better individuals, we not only strengthen our bond with Allah, but also spread light and compassion in our relationships, families, and communities. May Allah guide us and grant us the strength to overcome our flaws, embrace the teachings of Islam, and embody the virtues of a true believer.