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The SeekersGuidance Media Equipment Appeal

 Help SeekersGuidance To Raise $50,000 to Purchase Essential Media Equipment For Our Teaching Academy

 

Allah Most High says:

 

“…and whatever you spend of good – it will be fully repaid to you, and you will not be wronged.” (Quran 2: 272)

 

SeekersGuidance is committed to its vision of becoming a truly Global Islamic Seminary, providing benefit and positively impacting the lives of millions of people around the world.

By the Grace of God, each and every day SeekersGuidance is blessed to work alongside an array of leading scholars of Islam from across the globe, who use our platform to disseminate invaluable Prophetic guidance, light and clarity. 

During the COVID-19 pandemic there has been a surge in demand for online learning. As we further bolster our structured learning streams, it is of critical importance that our media team has access to the equipment they need to continue providing high quality Islamic educational offerings and clear structured learning streams.

During this critical time of our growth, SeekersGuidance is looking to raise $50,000 immediately, to help equip our global teachers with the tools they need to present new courses to the highest of standards. 

A Sadaqah Jariyah – Endless Charity, Endless Rewards

Donate to the SeekersGuidance Media Appeal

By donating to this worthwhile cause, you are providing a sadaqah jariyah – a continuous charity – that will continue to benefit hundreds of thousands of students for years to come.

Your contributions will help SeekersGuidance instructors with the essential media equipment that will allow us to record, edit and publish a range of dynamic Islamic educational content in the most aesthetically beautiful way, executed to the most excellent standards. 

Your support towards the SeekersGuidance Media Campaign will immediately increase both the quantity and quality of the SeekersGuidance video content, allowing us to produce more courses, events and online campaigns as well as enhancing the range of teachers that are on our platform.

“Charity does not decrease wealth.” (Muslim)

 

Just as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, whatever is given for Allah’s sake will never decrease one’s wealth; rather, it will bless, purify and increase it.

Reap countless rewards by donating to the SeekersGuidance Media appeal today. Your support is crucial in helping us reach our $50,000 target for this immediate need at SeekersGuidance. 

Donate to the SeekersGuidance Media Appeal

 

Can You Please Recommend a Book on the Fundamentals of Zakat?

Question: Can you please recommend a book on the fundamentals of Zakat and it’s a calculation based on the current financial systems. Jazakallah Khair

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum assalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh.

I pray you are well.

I recommend that you study zakat with a teacher. It is much better than relying on a book, as the teacher can expand and answer your questions. This is a good place to start:

Understanding Zakat: Practical Guidance on the Wisdom, Rules, and Etiquette of Giving Zakat

Ascent To Felicity, translated by Shaykh Faraz Khan, is an excellent resource. It is best studied with a teacher too.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

Is Spending Money on Financially Stable Family Considered Charity?

Question: If someone is spending money on his married sister who is financially stable, is it considered sadaqah? If it is not sadaqa but ihsan, what are the virtues of Ihsan? And is it better to spend his money as sadaqah to needy people or helping a community?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum

The word sadaqa is often used as a broad term incorporating all good deeds. The Prophet (blessings upon him) said, “Every act of good is sadaqa.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

Therefore, what you give to your family members of monetary wealth to assist them is a form of sadaqa, even if they are financially stable. As to whether it is superior to give to the poor or family members, then the best approach is to strike a balance between the two. There may be some contexts where spending money on your family is required and appropriate, while other times it would be better to assist the poor and the community.

[Ustadh] Salman Younas

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Salman Younas was born in New York and graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman. There he studies Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. Ustadh Salman’s personal interests include research into the fields of law/legal methodology, hadith, theology, as well as political theory, government, media, and ethics.

Support Seekers in Building a Truly Global Islamic Seminary

Support Seekers in Building a Truly Global Islamic Seminary

We are pleased and honored to announce the launch of the SeekersGuidance Year-End Campaign for 2020, Alhamdulillah. 

SeekersGuidance has been growing in reach and impact since it began in 2009. 

We have already served over 250,000 students so far – and had over three million unique visitors to our website, during the first half of 2020 alone.

We Need Your Support 

We are currently operating on a skeletal monthly budget of just $40,000 a month, which is less than a mid-sized local Islamic center. 

To present knowledge and guidance services and to fulfill our vision of becoming a truly Global Islamic Seminary – we critically need your support now to reach $60,000 in recurring monthly donations by the end of 2020.

 

 

Our Key Areas For Growth

By increasing our recurring monthly donations, we will be able to further develop our structured learning streams that allow anyone to personally connect with qualified, reliable, and specialized scholars, in a very engaging and interactive format – Completely Free.

Your support will help us to facilitate critical and impactful projects now – reaching our goal of serving 1,000,000 students by 2022.

 

No other Islamic Seminary reaches as many people, so consistently, so easily, and with such clarity, so imagine how much greater that impact and benefit could be if we are able to increase our organizational capacity.

Help SeekersGuidance Build A Truly Global Islamic Seminary and Support the Vision of Our Growth Fund Today

On behalf of everyone here at SeekersGuidance, please accept our gratitude for your continued support and contributions.

 

 

Download a Copy of Our Latest Growth Fund Brochure

Forms of Charity Not Permissible in Islam

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question: Amongst subcontinental Muslims, there is a practice of “sadaqa utarna” which is done when someone is suffering from sickness, or there is a suspicion of black magic. Something used for charity is cast over the affected person thrice, The object is then discarded or given to the poor for their use. Is this permissible or a bidah?

Answer: Wa ‘alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I pray you are well.

This practice does not have any basis in the sunna as far as I know and should be avoided. There are many sunna supplications, suras, and collections of verses which are effective in such matters. It is better to refer to them.

Innovations

An innovation, bid’a, is a practice that contradicts the spirit of the sunna. In a sense, it opposes and attempts the replace it. Otherwise, new practices are not automatically problematic. (Nabulsi, al Hadiqa al Nadiyya).

This is understood from the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace, “Whoever initiates in this matter of ours that which is not of it, it is completely rejected.“ (Bukhari) So, any matter which embodies the spirit of the sunna, and strives to achieve one of the higher aims of the Sacred Law, is not blameworthy – as long as it doesn’t contradict an established practice.

Seeking Protection and Healing

The Messenger of Allah, Allah bless him and give him peace would seek healing and protection through the recitation of the last two chapters of the Qur’an and various other supplication which can be found in Imam Nawawi’s Book of Remembrances. He also sought out conventional means of treatment when he was ill.

It is better to adopt this approach than to take up superstitious actions. Always remember the words of our Maker, “If Allah afflicts you with any harm then there is no one who can remove it save Him.” (Qur’an; 10:107)

The practice you described is not rooted in Islam, nor in any form of medicine. It’s the best shunned.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.

[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Qur’anic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Qur’anic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.

What Is the Ruling of the Prophetic Family Accepting Any Form of Charity?

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question: Assalamu Aleykum, What is the ruling of the Prophetic Family accepting zakat or any form of charity?

Answer: Wa Aleykum Selam,

The basis is that the Prophetic Household, which comprises of the progeny of Ali, Abbass, Jafar, Aqil, and Hatith bin Abdul Muttalib does not accept any forms of charity. This is because Allah, Most High has forbidden for them the filth of the people (i.e. the impure wealth) and gave them one-fifth of the war spoils instead. [al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]

Since there is no longer any war spoils for the Prophetic Household to get a share of, many scholars have given a legal ruling (fatwa) that it is permissible for those of the Prophetic Household to accept charity if there is a necessity.

Those Who Permitted The Accepting of Charity for the Prophetic Household

Abu Isma who narrates from Imam Abu Hanifah (may Allah have mercy of them) that in his time it is permissible to give (charity) to the Prophetic Household. This is because the alternative, which is war spoils, does not reach them due to the negligence of people in giving of the war spoils to those who deserve it. Thus if the alternative does not reach them, then the original should be given, once again. [Hashiyah Ibn Abidin]

Also, Abu Yusuf (may Allah have mercy on him) is narrated to have permitted the Prophetic Household to give and accept charity from one another. This is also a narrated opinion from Imam Abu Hanifah. [Hashiyah Ibn Abidin]

The Cautious Stance

With that being said, there is expansiveness in the matter. If one, however, wanted to take the cautious stance of either taking charity only from those of the Prophetic Household or not taking it at all, that is their right and their cautiousness is praiseworthy.

In such a case, one should respectfully ask whether the one giving the money, intends it as charity or as a gift. If done with kindness and wisdom most would not take offense.

May Allah bless you
Allah A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.

Draw Near to Allah in Ramadan Through Service – Ustadha Umm Umar

Ustadha Umm Umar reminds us of incorporating the aspect of service in Ramadan as a means of drawing near to Allah Most High. She advises to not make Ramadan just revolve around one’s self, rather to also be concerned with others and their needs. Ustadha Umm Umar gives key advice and practical methods on how to engage in service through Ramadan.

I wanted to talk about another aspect of Ramadan that sometimes we forget. Often people think of Ramdana as my month. It‘s between me and Allah. Then they sort of annihilate the idea of doing goodness to others. It’s about me and my time with Allah. About how much time I can put in with the Qur’an. And then when we talk about service some people get a little bit bitter.

Especially the sisters. They’re like, well, why do I have to be the one to do this? why do I have to be the one to cook the iftar? I’d like to spend all day reading Qur’an. It’s sort of losing sight of what Ramadan is really about. And what the the scholars today talked and emphasized a lot is the love of Allah Most High. And rectifying the self. Turning to Allah and asking for His forgiveness.

But these two concepts do not contradict each other. Rather they run in parallel. Because it’s when we turn help each other, help fellow believers, and it’s all done out of love for Allah, that we manifest that love. That we love to have His creation turned to Him. And if there is anything we can do to help other people turn towards Allah we should run to that opportunity. Whether that be to people in our own family, whether it be our children, whether it be members of our community. We should be avid to do what we can to help other people.

Balance Service and Self

That being said, it needs to be balanced of course, because you can’t just spend all of your Ramadan running around serving other people with neglect to oneself. One needs that personal time where you’re turning to Allah. Reading the Qur’an with reflection and understanding. Spending time reading other beneficial material or listening to beneficial lectures. Benefiting the self.

But there are a lot of things, there is a lot of extra time in the day, in which one can do things for other people. And as our teachers say, it’s almost as if there’s a sale during Ramadan, because now actions that you do are multiplied. Good actions that you do, even reading the Qur’an – all the good things that you can think of doing are multiplied. So it is best to take advantage of this time .

And doing what you can to help other people is also part of making the most of one’s time. It is not that one spends a little time in intensive worship and then closes the book and goes to relax, and just sort of vegetate for part of the day. Or one decides to go to sleep for another part of the day. One strives to make the most of every moment. As we should on every other day of the year.

We should make the most of all parts of our day on a daily basis. Even when we get up from this gathering we should be striving to make the most of our lives as believers. To make all of our moments count for us and not against us.

Primary Benefits of Service

There are three primary benefits of service. One is that it erases your past sins. When you do things for other people these things get erased. So there is nothing better you can ask for. We’ve all made mistakes in the past and would do anything to not face Allah with those on our record. And by His mercy He can forgive a lot of those things when you’re serving other people with that intention.

Another benefit of doing service at this time is that you get the dua of fasting people. When you’re doing things to benefit them you’re earning their dua. And Allah knows whose dua is accepted. When you’re doing it for a number of people, that includes even small children, know that when we do things for other people they make a dua for you.

The Hidden Secret of Service

And perhaps that single dua from one single person, child or adult, known or stranger, is the reason for your success. It might not be all of these customs that you’ve done in the past or all of these other things. It might be the dua of one elder in the community that you helped in a real time of need. Allah has this knowledge. It is with Allah Most High.

It’s a hidden secret in our service to other people that we don’t know where where our ultimate success will lie. And with what action and with what person. That leaves us continuously striving to do our best at every moment.

And finally the third aspect of service is that the deeds are multiplied during Ramadan. So one might be doing things for other people at other times of the year but in Ramadan these deeds are actually multiplied. They weigh heavier on your record. So strive in this regard and in sha Allah the reward for your service will be multiplied.

 

Draw Near to Allah in Ramadan Through Service

 

10 On-Demand Courses for Ramadan

We are blessed to reach another Ramadan. Let’s make the best use of our time. These On-Demand courses will help you to focus and get maximum benefits from this month of the Qur’an.

Each course contains a downloadable lesson set which you can listen to at your convenience.

1. Preparing for Ramadan: Lessons and Advice from Leading Scholars

This series of lessons by various scholars revolves around Sura al Baqara 2:183.

“Fasting is prescribed for you as it was prescribed for those before you, that you may have taqwa.”

Each scholar unfolds the meanings of this and related verses, the practical aspects, and the hidden spiritual depths and heights one is called to attain in the blessed month of Ramadan.
Central to it all is Allah’s call to love Him and His Messenger, Allah bless him and give him peace.

Scholars included in this course: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Imam Zaid Shakir, Ustadha Zaynab Ansari, Habib Umar ibn Hafiz, Shaykh Rami Nsour, Shaykh Naeem Abdul Wali, Ustadh Abdullah Misra, Ustadh Ali Ataie, Habib Kadhim al Saqqaf, Shaykh Ahmed Saad al Azhari, Habib Muhammad al Saqqaf, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Shaykh Qutaiba Albluwi, Ustadha Umm Umar

2. Renewal by the Book: Daily Qur’an Tafsir Based on Imam Ghazali’s Ihya

In this series, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani and other scholars and teachers will be looking at points of reflection from key verses in the Qur’an. The series follows the thematic order of Imam Ghazali’s Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences). The aim is to connect the key verses of guidance from the Book of Allah with the blueprint of renewal, the Ihya so that we experience renewal by The Book.

3. Renewing Religion: Overview of Ghazali’s Ihya

This overview of Imam Ghazali’s great work, Ihya Ulum al-Din (Renewing the Religious Sciences) will serve as a blueprint for how the believer can bring their religion to life. It will aim to help the believer to not just practice the outer form of the religion properly, but to also to bring its spirit to life and practice it with excellence.

Lessons by: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Riad Saloojee, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin

4. 30 Sacred Acts to Transform the Heart

Our scholars in residence explore 30 simple deeds that could have a far-reaching spiritual impact on our lives – and the lives of others. Whether it’s forgiving someone who’s wronged us or sharing a meal with a neighbor, these powerful lessons will remind us of the great gift the Prophet ﷺ‎ gave us: the best of character. The scholars also remind us to make the intention to put each teaching, each sacred act, into practice.

Lessons by: Shaykh Faraz Rabbani, Shaykh Muhammad Adeyinka Mendes, Shaykh Walead Mosaad, Shaykh Yahya Rhodus, Imam Amin Muhammad, Ustadh Amjad Tarsin, Dr. Ingrid Mattson

5. Giving Life to Surat al Kahf – Shaykh Walead Mosaad

In this seminar, Shaykh Walead Mosaad explains this key Sura of the Qur’an – a Sura the Prophet, blessings and peace be upon him, urged us to recite every Friday. In eight videos Shaykh Walead explains the key lessons of Sura Kahf; the four great stories in it and the four great tests they represent – the tests of faith, wealth, knowledge, and power.

6. Ramadan Explained: Virtues and Fiqh of Fasting (Hanafi) – Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

This preparation course teaches the fiqh of Ramadan and fasting, according to the Hanafi school.

This essential four-part course is designed to

    1. Remind you that Ramadan is a true blessing from Allah Most High.
    2. Teach you the proper way to approach this blessing.
    3. Motivate you to make the most of this blessed month.
    4. Ensure that you understand and implement all key aspects of Ramadan, including the Prophetic sunnas according to the Hanafi school.

7. Ramadan Explained: Virtues and Fiqh of Fasting (Shafi‘i) – Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

This preparation course teaches the fiqh of Ramadan and fasting according to the Shafi‘i school.

This essential four-part course is designed to:

    1. Remind you that Ramadan is a true blessing from Allah Most High.
    2. Teach you the proper way to approach this blessing.
    3. Motivate you to make the most of this blessed month.
    4. Ensure that you understand and implement all the key aspects of Ramadan, including the Prophetic sunnas according to the Shafi‘i school.

8. Ramadan Explained: Virtues and Fiqh of Fasting (Maliki) – Shaykh Rami Nsour

This preparation course teaches the fiqh of Ramadan and fasting according to the Maliki school.

This essential four-part course is designed to:

    1. Remind you that Ramadan is a true blessing from Allah Most High.
    2. Teach you the proper way to approach this blessing.
    3. Motivate you to make the most of this blessed month.
    4. Ensure that you understand and implement all the key aspects of Ramadan, including the Prophetic sunnas according to the Maliki school.

9. The Tafsir of Sura al-Hujurat with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Religion revolves around respect and reverence. Sura Hujurat summarizes the keys to true religion by outlining the right adab with Allah, His Messenger (peace be upon him), and with Allah’s creation. In just 18 verses, Shaykh Faraz Rabbani gives believers a clear roadmap on how to walk the Straight Path with excellence in conduct and attitude.

10. Living the Quran: Ghazali’s Manners of Qur’an Recital with Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

In this lesson set Shaykh Faraz Rabbani will guide students through Imam al Ghazali’s work on the adab of the Qur’an and aims to inspire the student to bring the book of Allah into their life fully.

 


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Raising Money for Charity Purpose

Answered by Shaykh Salman Younas
Question: Assalam aleykum

My friends and I pledged to build a school via a charity – we have pledged a lot of money with the intention for it to be accepted as sadaqa jariya for our parents. We aim to raise the money via organising various fundraising events such as a fundraising dinner, cake sales etc. We have been told that this will not be accepted as sadaqa jariya as it needs to be from our own money as opposed to raising the money. Is it true?

Answer: assalamu alaykum

Inshallah, the money you raise to build this school with the intention of its reward reaching your parents will count as a form of sadaqa jariya, as it will for those who are donating money to this cause.

[Shaykh] Salman Younas

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Salman Younas  graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.

Muharram: Mankind’s Memorial – Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said

* Originally Published on 3/10/2016

Shaykh Faid Mohammed Said explains why Muharram, the first in the Islamic calendar, is an especially auspicious month on many levels.

 

The Prophets Before Muhammad ﷺ

For one, it celebrates the achievement of the prophets who preceded Prophet Muhammad, – on him peace and blessings, in particular the struggle and victory of Moses. Following the Migration, the Prophet – and on him salutations – discerned that the Jewish tribal federations in Madinah observed a ritual fast annually on the tenth day of Muharram. The Jews’ claim to commemorate the day in gratitude for Moses’ victory over Pharaoh prompted the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – to assert, “The obligation is greater on us [the Muslims] to be grateful to God for Moses’ victory.”
This emphatic statement reveals, on one level, the spiritual connection between the Seal of the Prophets – on him peace and blessings – and his ‘brother-prophets’ who preceded him; on another level, through his innate ability to connect with every God-centred tradition, Muslims are at once given to understand the need to learn from others. And the elemental lesson here is that all prophetic traditions, rites and customs – past and present – actually form a composite whole: remembrance and gratitude to God, – cherisher of mankind, all praise to Him.

Mankind’s Achievement

Furthermore, the achievement of every prophet is universal, that is to say, their sacrifice and striving is mankind’s achievement. The victory God granted to Moses was not based on material strength or logistical superiority, but on the strength of faith that Moses possessed. Moses’ armour cladding was his Faith, and Truth his spear of submission; he won through despite Pharaoh’s vast resources in men and materiel. Faith, as embodied by Moses, persuaded first Pharaoh’s sorcerers and then many other reasonable minds, whilst the snake of Unfaith, quite literally, was swallowed up.

Truth over Falsehood

Muharram, which commemorates Moses’ achievement, is therefore our achievement, insofar as it is a timeless commemoration of the victory of Truth over Falsehood. It should be obvious that ‘victory’ does not at all relate to feat of arms, economic gain or tribal boast (after all, Pharaoh’s dethroning was not, strictly speaking, a battlefield victory; Moses and his people, instead of gaining mastery in Egypt, actually became exiles in the desert for 40 years). Rather, Muslims must understand ‘victory’ as standing firm in Faith, to prevail in the face of adversity.
For this reason, the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – considered the Treaty of Hudaybiyya a great victory; this, despite his not accomplishing what he had initially set out to do in the events leading to the famous treaty: namely, the performance of Umrah, the opportunity to visit the Sacred Mosque. On the other hand, the Prophet – and on him salutations – discerned in the bitterness of defeat at ‘Uhud and at Hunayn the sweet fragrance of victory. How so, when he suffered great personal loss at ‘Uhud and humbling at Hunayn? On both occasions, despite the temporary impediments, God’s Religion was preserved. Faith defeated unfaith because Truth strove on whilst Falsehood briefly strutted but ultimately vanished.
Victory, therefore, is to prevail after enduring the test. It is the natural outcome of firm conviction, of standing firm, regardless of the intensity or even duration of adversity. It is the absolute conviction that God is present all along.
[cwa id=’cta’]

The Triumph of Faith

The sacred month of Muharram, celebrating the advent of the Islamic New Year, provides Muslims with a direct linkage to the triumph of Faith – and even more deep connections to the Prophet – on him peace and blessings. And in all God’s Creation, none embodied Faith as did the Prophet, – on him the finest salutations! For Muharram also commemorates the Hijra, the Prophet’s Migration from Makkah, then the seat of Unfaith and irrational pride, to Madinah, the emergent site of Faith and reason.
Oppressed by Unfaith, in Makkah the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – would say, “Leave me to call upon God alone.” But he was denied even this basic human right, as was his dignity, his person and his property. The Prophet’s Hijrahas yet to be fully appreciated by even his own people. It was not a simple matter of relocation: in making Hijra, the personal sacrifice of the Prophet – on him peace and blessings – remains a thing of wonder: his daughters Fatimah, Zaynab, Ruqaiyya and Umm Kulthum were left behind. One can only begin to understand the scale of his sacrifice if there is an appreciation of the wider social context of Makkah’s tribal society, then dominated by the most ruthless of enemies. The Prophet – on him peace and blessings – in wrenching himself from his daughters, sacrificed all that was dear to him in this world. How could such a man, the epitome of parental love, sacrifice so? As if to say, “My daughters are safer under God’s Gaze than under my wing,” he could so sacrifice because he knew intimately the nature of God’s Protection. Great was his sacrifice, yes, but his trust in God was still greater.
What special influence can cause such repeat action, on such scale? It was repeated by the Imam Hussain, grandson of the Prophet – on him the finest salutations. Like his father and grandfather before him, the Imam Hussain strived hard against the oppression of the weak by the strong, against social injustice and against aggression in all its forms. Sallying out from Madinah, like his grandfather had done on so many occasions, the Imam Hussain died the desired death on the dusty plains of Kerbala, but his spirit of sacrifice lives on. The Imam Hussain’s death must not be reduced to the heroic end of ancient epics, although certainly true; it was the supreme sacrifice that is for God’s Sake. Sacred sacrifice indeed. Muharram may just as easily be called the ‘month of sacrifice’.

The Prophet’s Migration

And yet the story of Muharram has no ending, for our commemoration of its sanctity and significance has so many deep spiritual channels and confluences.
The Islamic calendar self-consciously celebrates the Hijra of the Prophet – on him peace and blessings. And Arab tradition, hitherto without a universal calendar, in so doing, itself migrated from culture to civilization. Confused by conflicting despatches, the despair of regional governors compelled the Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab to initiate a systematic Time Record. Far more edifying and significant is the process that led to the institution. A brilliant example of democratic counsel ended with agreement over the Muslims’ need for a calendar, but there remained uncertainty over the precise start date. Three proposals were championed, each possessing enormous meaning: the birthday of the Prophet, on him peace and blessings; the day that he died; and the beginning of the Hijra.
The very fact that the Prophet’s birthday was cause celebre in the eyes of his Companions has great significance of its own. In fact, some of the Companions clamoured for the month of Rabi Awwal to become the first month of the new Islamic calendar, citing the Prophet’s birth, his anointment to the office of prophet, the actual commencement of the Hijra, and the Prophet’s death in Rabi Awwal.
The day of the Prophet’s departure from this world remains, of course, the single greatest distress to all Muslims in all times, and the argument for the Islamic calendar to be pegged to the Prophet’s death was a powerful one.
However, the third option – the case for the Hijra as the start of the Islamic calendar –reveals much about the intellect of ‘Ali ibn Abu Taalib. The man recognised as the last of the rightly-guided Caliphs quite rightly surmised that the Hijra marked an epochal change, ushering in a new dawn for humanity that swept away the cobwebs of dead history. The Hijra-Migration was nothing short of a new world order, and this one could be precisely pinpointed in time.
Although the Arabian months pre-dated Islam, Uthman ibn Affan made a powerful intervention: he cited the long-held sacred status of Muharram and explained that its position in the calendar of Islam’s rites and rituals, coming after the Hajj climax, represented a new beginning after individual purification, thus symbolically mirroring the fresh start for humanity after the purification of Religion itself. Uthman’sintervention was decisive and the ‘Hijri Calendar’ was thus founded.
As Islam makes no sharp distinction between the prophets – God in His Book expressly forbids otherwise – both the achievements and sacrifices of Moses and of Muhammad – on them peace and blessings – are symbolically bound by the month of Muharram. And we have seen how the inheritors of faith, such as the Imam Hussain, have emulated and preserved the spirit of sacrifice. This sacrifice has a name: ‘Islam’. And ‘Islam’ is trust in, and submission to, the Divine Will. And as their inheritors in faith, our lives are thus connected by the commemoration of Muharram.
May God gather us in the company of the Family of Prophets and preserve the faithful, and peace and blessings upon Muhammad, mercy to all the worlds.