Islam, June 1996

New Year's Day and Ashura

Halil Necatiošlu

May 31, 1995 is the Islamic New Year's Day, that is the 1st day of Muharram 1416. In various Muslim countries it could be observed one or two days earlier or later due to the variations in the calculation criteria and observance of the new crescent. For instance, the Eid al-Adha was indicated as May 9 on Saudi calendars this year; however, it was corrected and Eid was observed on May 10.

Our heartfelt desire is for the new Islamic year to come about a happy, good, blessed and successful year for all brothers and sisters and for the whole Islamic world. May Allah subhanahu wa ta'ala favor all Muslims and bestow unity, peace and harmony on them; may He make our mujahid brothers victorious over the oppressors; and all of our Islamic work, positive and fruitful. May He bless you all with happiness in this world and the hereafter. (Âmeen, bi hurmati habeebihî Muhammadin-il ameen we âlihi wa sahbihi wa man tabi'ahu bi-ihsânin ajma'in.)

Muharram is one of the four sacred months (ashuri hurum) in which no war is allowed. It is a blessed and honored month dominated by peace. Its 10th day is Ashura--an exceptionally precious day.

As the renowned sufi master Abdul Qaadir-i Jilani (qaddas allahu sirrahul-azeez) indicates in his book Ghunyet-ut Tâlibeen, Abu Hurayra (May Allah be pleased with him) quoted from the Prophet (pbuh), "The most virtuous fasting other than the fasting in Ramadhan is performed in the month of Muharram. The most virtuous prayer other than the obligatory and night prayers is performed on the day of Ashura."

On the same topic, Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with him) quoted from the Prophet (pbuh), "Whoever fasts on the last day of Dhu'l-Hijja and on the first day of Muharram, he ends a year with fasting and starts the new year with fasting. Allah, the most powerful and glorious, considers that action as an atonement for his fifty years."

Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) used to fast on the day of Ashura while he lived in Mecca. After the Hegira, fasting in Ramadhan became obligatory, yet some Muslims continued to fast on the day of Ashura. To differ from the Jews, additional fasting a day before or after the day of Ashura was recommended, however.

On the day of Ashura try doing good and charitable deeds such as bringing plenty of food and clothing home, making children happy, helping the needy, giving charity, taking a ritual bath (ghusl), putting kohl on eyelids, inviting friends for dinner, fasting during the day, performing prayers and remembrance (dhikr) at night, and visiting people who are sick or ill. Pray to Almighty Allah that the coming year as well as the rest of your life be full of such good deeds.

Please participate in all kinds of cultural, religious, social and economic activities of our foundations, associations and companies with all of your might. Do not stay isolated, inactive and alone; do not forget that unity bears strength. Join to the newly established SERVER Social Services and Companies Group at once.

Peace, blessings, mercy, favor, honor and grace of Allah be with you in this world and in the hereafter.