Muslims’ New Year 1439 is here: Let’s enhance peace, harmony, compassion and righteous living
Salam Maal Hijrah (Happy New Year) 1439H.
The Muslim New Year 1439 begins today – Friday, 22 September 2017. Let us hope and pray that our lives and righteousness will be better during 1439H than in 1438H.
As the Islamic day begins after sundown of the previous day, the ushering in of the New Year will be this Thursday (21 September) evening after 7:02 pm (exact time of the sundown) with special prayers.
In the mosques, Muslims would gather about an hour before sundown to recite collective dua (supplications) for the end of the Muslim year 1438. Then, after performing the congregational maghrib obligatory prayer (fourth prayer of the day), which begins in Singapore at 7:02 pm on that day, the congregation will read certain chapters of the Qur’an and recite the 1439 New Year dua.
On Friday, the Friday prayer sermon will focus on the Hijrah (betterment of life) and throughout the day and in the month of Muharram (first month of the Hijrah year), religious lectures will be held in the mosques and other locations on the Hijrah theme and of new year’s resolutions, pursuit and endeavour of Singaporean Muslims and also pray for the well-being of the Islamic ummah (Muslims throughout the world).
The Muslim New Year has an “H” after the indication of the year. For example, for the year 1439H, the “H” stands for “Hijrah” which means migration or a journey undertaken to a friendly, desirable and congenial place. In the case of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him), he undertook the Hijrah from Mecca, the place of his birth and receipt of prophethood, to Yathrib some 350 km away in the year 622 of the Common Era (CE).
The Prophet emigrated to Yathrib upon learning of a plot by the opponents of Islam to assassinate him. One night, he and his closest Companion, Abu Bakr, left Mecca where he was persecuted for 13 years for his preaching of Islam which the pagan Meccans felt went against the practices of the pagan belief of worshipping idols, killing of female babies (infanticide) and taking women as mere chattels and given no rights, among other negative issues.
When the Prophet reached his destination, a large group of people were waiting for him, many with tambourines, to welcome him, and the moment they sighted him, they started the welcoming song, Ala al-Badru Alayna. This Islamic song (nasheed) has become so famous that even Mr Yusuf Islam (British singer, formerly Cat Steven) has recorded the song and sings it.
Yathrib was soon renamed Medinatul Nabi (City of the Prophet) or simply “Medina” (The City).
The Islamic calendar starts from this date of the Hijrah (migration of Prophet Muhammad, PBUH), which coincides with the Gregorian date of 16 July 622. That means, today Friday, 1 Muharram (coinciding with 22 September 2017), the Hijrah took place 1438 years ago of the Hijrah calendar or 1395 years of the Gregorian calendar. (The Islamic year is shorter by 11 days from the English year and as no leap year is allowed, any Muslim festival, like Hari Raya Aidilfitri, goes through all the months of the Gregorian calendar over a period of 33 years.)
The Hijrah is significant in the life of Muslims because it highlights the accomplishment of a goal by way of a change in strategy or lifestyle. It signifies growth, progress and success.
Muslims ought to take lessons from the significance of the Hijrah to better their lives by way of education, hard work and practising proper teachings of Islam as well as embracing compassion towards people of any race or creed.
May the year 1439H bring Allah’s Blessings to all Muslims and all mankind to live peacefully and harmoniously, resisting evil and wrongdoing, and our lives and righteousness be better during 1439H than in 1438H. Ameen.
[Detailed explanation of this event is given in my recent books, “Allah: Understanding God in Islam” (2016) and “Islam Explained – Essential reading for anyone who wants to know more about Islam” (2nd Edition, 2017)].
20 September 2017 (Updated: 22 September 2017)