New Year, new beginnings
New Year? Whaaa….
You’re thinking maybe I’m REALLY early or impossibly late with this, right?
While I try to be a punctual person, I’m not talking about January 1, I’m referring to the first of the Islamic (Hijri) Lunar calendar, the 1st of God’s Sacred Moth (Muharram) which falls around September 21 this year, depending on the moon sighting.
The Islamic Calendar is Decreed By God
The Islamic calendar is not like any man-made one. Although most calendars have twelve months, God has decided on how humans should calculate time and he taught His messengers throughout history about this. There is an amazing reason for this:
“God decrees that there are twelve months – ordained in God’s Book on the Day when He created the heavens and earth…” 9:36
What I personally find fascinating about this is that God is teaching us to honor time and gives us the framework to structure our days, weeks, months and years. How cool is that?
The new year gives us an opportunity to renew ourselves spiritually as we are aware of the passage of time. It also helps us do some introspection on how we spent our last year and how we plan to improve for the coming year.
There are Four Sacred Months
God continues in this same verse by saying, “…four months of which are sacred, this is the Upright Religion and Way of God”
Not all months are created equal.
But what does a sacred month even mean to us?
God tells us some of the regulations the same verse, “Do not wrong yourselves in these months.”
Now of course, that does not give us free rein to do as we please in the non-sacred months. It just means that there is extra value to the good we do in these sacred months and more offensive to violate the time by sinning and breaking the commands of God.
Introducing the Month of God
This begs the question! What are these four months and what comes next?
The year is of twelve months, out of which four months are sacred. Three are in succession, the 11th, 12th and 1st named the Month of Putting Arms Down, the Month of the Pilgrimage and, the Sacred Month. The fourth one is the 7th month named Rajab.
If this sounds confusing (and I’m sure it does), don’t worry. The names of the 12 months and their order are not the focus of this post nor is it a priority to learn. Phew.
We’re nearing the end of Thul-Hijjah (one of the sacred months and the last month of the year). The next month, God’s Sacred Month, Muharram, is also sacred as its name suggests.
God has given us yet another chance to do more good, overcome our mistakes, and raise our standards.
Here’s what the Messenger of God said about the month of Muharram.
“The best fast after Ramadan is in the Sacred Month of God, Muharram.”
Woah did you notice that. While Thul-Hijjah is the Month of Pilgrimage, Muharram is dubbed the Month of God. Surely, there’s a special day within this month as there was in the last?
The Messenger of God told us, about fasting the 9th day of the Month of Pilgrimage Arafah, “God will expiate as a reward for it the year before it and the year after it”. As for fasting the 10th day of God’s Sacred Month ‘Ashura’, he said, “God will expiate as a reward for it the year that came before it.”
‘Ashura’ is the 10th of Muharram (we will let you know when it falls exactly as we await the moon sighting).
Let’s sum this post up real quick in case it got a little overwhelming.
- God tells us to honor time and decreed for us 12 months in a year.
- Four of these months are sacred.
- Sacred months are opportunities for us to do more good and pay extra attention to our habits.
- We are nearing the end of Thul-Hijjah (the Month of Pilgrimage) – a sacred month and the last month of the year.
- In a few days, the new month of the new year will begin – also a sacred month.
- God’s Sacred Month, Muharram, is the best month of the year to fast voluntarily.
- Specifically, fasting the 10th of Muharram- also named The Tenth Day, ‘Ashura’ – erases the sins and mistakes of the year that came before.