Happy Hijri new year 1432 - "Never lose hope"

This is the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, and the month of the Hijri new year. The story of the Hijrah, from where the Islamic calendar got its name, goes as follows:

Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, found it impossible for him to continue his mission of inviting people to the True religion, Islam, in Makkah; and that his own life and that of other fellow Muslims were at risk. So, he started looking at nearby populations that would accept his message and provide him a base to establish a model Islamic society. After hearing about the message of Islam and the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, the people of the nearby city of Yathrib, later to be known as Madinatunnabi (the city of the Prophet) or Madina, invited the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, to migrate to their city. They offered him submission and unconditional support, and graciously accepted to accommodate all fellow Muslims with them.

After a couple of years of careful planning, the time had finally come when Allah ordered the Prophet to leave Makkah for Madina. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, made the journey with Abu Bakr as his companion. Despite the fact that Allah was `the third with the two of them', the whole journey of Hijrah was scrupulously planned and executed with extreme care and caution. When they finally reached their destination, the people of Madina were filled with joy at having the greatest of man as their fellow citizen, and sang the famous song 'tala`al badru `alaina' while welcoming him.

Years later, this important event of Hijrah was chosen by Caliph Umar and his counsel to mark the beginning of the Islamic Calendar.

Why Hijrah to mark the Islamic Calendar?
1. Hijrah is a major milestone in the mission of Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him. It marks the beginning of establishment of Islam as the complete way of life.
2. It is a very special occasion for Muslims as it highlights the importance of submission of one self to Allah the Almighty.
3. It reminds us of the sufferings of early Muslims in Makkah, and how they left all worldly pleasures to please Allah the Almighty. It is only because of their sufferings and sacrifices that Islam is what it is today.

Lessons from Hijrah
1. If something is not working out as planned, look for alternatives (Prophet`s seeking alternative land for establishing the deen when efforts at Makkah failed)
2. Don`t do anything hastily. Proper planning is the key. (The Prophet took few years seeking alternatives to Makkah. He went to taif, and had contacted other nearby tribal leaders. He migrated more than two years after people in Madina started accepting Islam and opened their doors to him)
3. Rely on Allah, only after diligent planning. (The Prophet and Abu Bakr (r) journey was not a straightforward trip along the regular route. It was very well planned and well executed)
4. There is no fault in taking help from experts (Prophet had a trusted non-Muslim bedouin who knew the area well as a guide)

Finally here is an excerpt from an article on onislam.net about attaining true Hijrah

Five Important Areas for a True Hijrah: To attain true Hijrah, here are the five areas we have to work on
1. Faith: We should work on strengthening our faith to be able to pull away from what God has forbidden.
2. Knowledge: Only with good knowledge could our faith see us through the trials and tests of staying on the straight path. (Knowledge is not limited to religious information only)
3. Acts of worship: Migrating away from what God has forbidden to worship, which not only brings us closer to God and supplies us with essential strength, resolve and tranquility, but also humbles us enough to see we’re only creatures like the rest of the creation, and that we have to maintain an ethical relationship with the universe and other people.
4. Desire: Controlling one’s urges and desires is prerequisite to how much success in this life one achieves as a migrant to God.
5. Ethics : A person who is full of great concepts and no deeds to prove it is a loser. Unless our Islamic ethical system is apparent through our everyday behaviors and manners, there is no hope for us to be true Muslims and a true migrant in the way of Allah.

In short, a true immigrant is an ethical, well-mannered and pious Muslim, and that is what we should all strive to be everyday of our lives. Allahumma Ameen.


Turning to the Qur’an in times of tribulation

by Uthman Khan

The murder of a family member causes great unrest in one’s heart. And indeed the death of a small animal is sufficient for an individual to remember the return to their Lord. Upon the idea of the creation of mankind, the Angels were disturbed because of the potential level of injustice and the spilling of blood that we would cause. Yet Allah, with His infinite wisdom created mankind, and informed them of their role as custodians of truth and justice in this world. With this in mind, we reflect on the current situation of the world, and the escalating legitimized removal of wealth, freedom and life.

The greatest crimes on a global scale are arguably those committed against Muslims and many find entertaining the regular action-packed news of the ‘progress’ being made to maintain safety and security. But the same ‘progress’ is at the expense of the freedom and lives of many Muslims who are often unable to fulfill their basic human necessities. Chilling is the image of another Muslim being killed and even more so, the mass murder that we witness regularly. Allah informs us that “the believers are nothing else than brothers,” (Qur’an, 49:10) and His Messenger (peace be upon him) said that “the Muslim nation is like one body…if a single part hurts then the rest feels the suffering with fever, and cannot sleep.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Throughout history trials and tribulations have faced those nations that affirmed the truth of Allah’s sovereignty and unity of worship. However, this nation, as in those who follow Muhammad (peace be upon him), has been given a special status coupled with a complete and comprehensive source of guidance to last till the Day of Resurrection.

“Thus We have made you the best nation, so that you be witnesses over mankind, and the Messenger (Muhammad) be a witness over you.” (Qur’an, 2:143)

The Muslims must therefore appreciate and understand the position that they hold and turn to the guidance that they have been blessed with. Some individuals feel secure from such trials, and find themselves busy in their own affairs. Yet Allah warns us:

“Do people think they will be left alone because they say we believe, and will not be tested. And indeed We tested those who were before them. And Allah will certainly make known (the truth of) those who are true, and will certainly make known (the falsehood of) those who are liars.” (Qur’an, 29:2-3)

All of mankind will therefore be tested and in addition, the same tests will affect both the sinners and pious among mankind due to their vastness. In another verse we are warned:

“And fear the Fitnah (affliction and trial, etc.) which does not affect only those of you who do wrong (but it may afflict all the good and the bad people), and know that Allah is Severe in punishment.” (Qur’an, 8:25)

Tribulations and whatever else the Prophet (peace be upon him) informed us about must surely take place. Therefore, it is incumbent upon Muslims to observe patience, prepare, and be cautious of them. In fact, we must take extra caution in our current times because we have drawn closer to the final hour. The nature of tribulations is that they spiral out of control and often confuse people so that one would assume something prohibited to be permissible or vice versa. The 9/11 and 7/7 events are pertinent examples and the perpetrators are unable to control the plethora of consequences that result.

Due to the complexity of tribulations and their potential implications, many respond incorrectly and often go to extremes, despite knowing the Qur’an has been revealed to guide us in all of our affairs.

If a Muslim responds to a situation in accordance with the Qur’an then they will be elevated in status and rewarded, while if they do otherwise they will be lowered and face the consequences. Thus, we find guidance through correctly contemplating the verses and in particular stories of the Qur’an, and contrasting them with our own situations. Allah says:

“(This is) a Book which We have sent down to you full of blessings, so that they may ponder over its verses, and so that men of understanding may remember.” (Qur’an, 38:29)

Many of the stories in the Qur’an provide exemplary responses which can be correlated to situations that we witness today. Stories of true leaders, who acquired great strength in their belief, were steadfast upon the truth, and endured physical, mental and emotional tests. Every Muslim who is granted wisdom must contemplate the path that Allah chose for the best of the believers.

Patience and firmness upon the religion of Allah, while seeking the reward in the next life, is perhaps the most common lesson that can be taken from the stories in the Qur’an. The knowledge and wisdom in these stories is abundant and a fundamental source of insight into these stories is authentic exegesis.

The Qur’an is the source of guidance, honor, and strength for the Muslims. We must all build a relationship with the Qur’an, study its meaning and understanding, contemplate its verses, and remember Allah through them. Allah says:

“Verily, in the remembrance of Allah do hearts find rest.” (Qur’an, 13:28)

[Source: The Saudi Gazette]