Friday, November 25, 2011
Islamic New Year 1433
Yes, we in Malaysia celebrate Ma'al Hijrah or the Islamic New Year. But only as a formal and ceremonial occasion orchestrated by the goverment. Year in and year out - it's now 1533 H - there's the usual congregation with invited guests and also opened to the public. There wiil be the usual do'a and al-quran recitals, lots of speeches, some religious show, songs and dances or pantomime, and the price giving ceremony to winners of the Ma'al Hijrahs' personality Awards.
A big do indeed. But it's no national celebration like Aidilfitri or Aidiladha, CNY, Deepavali, Christmas and the Gregorian New Year. It often goes without any recognizable reception in the homes of the average Muslims from all races in Malaysia, although that day is a public holiday and replaceable if it falls on a day that's already a public holiday.
It is the same in other Muslim countries. The muslim New Year has never become an important day to review one's performance in the past year, renew one's resolves and set new goals for the next year etc as is done when ushering in the Gregorian New Year. But in actual fact the first day of Muharam is a very important date in the history of Islam since it was the day Prophet Muhammad SAW and his friends migrated from Mecca to Madinah and started establishing and expanding the influence of the religion. The event is known as the Hijra. - moving from a state of ignorance or irreligiousity to following the path of righteousness as set by Allah through the last of His Prophets and the al-Quran. For the Muskims as a whole hijra means leaving all that is bad and prohibited or disdained by Allah and turning over a new leaf. It is equivalent to reviewing ones performance in the past year and setting new resolves and goals, very much like we are expected to do with the coming of a new year on the Gregorian calender.
Muslims are supposed to hold a special prayer (solat sunat) at the mosques like on the day of celebrating Aidilfitri and Aidiadha. All mosques should be holding that prayer. But are we doing that? In Malaysia we have the big function as already mentioned which does not include a mass prayer. Is this because Prophet Muhammad had not prescribed explicitly that a mass prayer should be held on the occasion of Maal Hijra. The same can also be said about his birthday - Maulid Nabi. Yet tbe celebration is more widely held. Shouldn't there be, therefore, an attempt to make Ma'al Hijrah more meaningful to all Muslims, young and old. After all It's the day that Islam really began to establish itself as a world religion.