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Published On: Sun, Jan 18th, 2015

A happy New…?

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By Maryam Yahya

It will be important for someone to identify the particular group to which they belong. An adage says ‘a river that forgets its origin will surely dry off’. It was few minutes past 12 in the midnight; a voice arose at Dantata Hall, shouting “Happy New Year”. It seemed baffling and disturbing but not much as baffling as it disturbing. Only that this was very unique because the boys wanted to challenge everybody to dare make that felicitation. These fellows forgot to be specific as to which of the various calendar systems New Year is being celebrated as there are many calendars: Julian Calendar: The Julian calendar, introduced by Julius Caesar in -45, was a solar calendar with months of fixed lengths The Eastern Orthodox churches use the Julian calendar with traditional lunar tables for calculating Easter and their various events.

Gregorian (Christian) Calendar: It was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII after whom the calendar was named. It regulates the ceremonial cycle of the Roman Catholic and Protestant Churches. In fact its original purpose was ecclesiastical (church usage). It was formed to suit the purpose of observing church rites like the Christmas, Easter, feast of Epiphany and other Christian events. Its months are January, Feb., … Dec.

Jews Calendar:This calendar is the official calendar of Israel and is the liturgical calendar of the Jewish faith.

Islamic (Hijrah) Calendar: The calendar was introduced by the second caliph ‘Umar bnKhattaab (RA) in the Hijra Era A.H. 17. It is use for the observation of various Islamic Rites. And its months include: Muharram, Saffar, R/Awwal, R/Thani, …Dhu-l-Hijjah.

Which one are you felicitating?No one can dispute the existence of all these calendrical system but the point that many fails to notice is that there are so many vital factors which brought about these different types of calendrical system. In short and to be precise, what brought about the religious diversity brought about the difference in the way each religion counts its date (calendar).i.e. belief – ‘aqeedah’. Different belief brings about different religion and this in turn leads to different ways in which things are done in different religion.

The above first three calendrical system have been in existence before the revival of the Islaam in the time of the Noble Prophet Muhammad (SAW). The Hijrah Calendar in fact came up after his death by one of his khulafaa (caliphates) in person of ‘Umar (R.A.), the second khalifa. Muslims need to imagine why didn’t ‘Umar adopt any of the existing Calendars in the counting of days (dates) during the Islaamic Era, but (‘Umar) invented the new one – Hijrah Calendar.

Remember the Prophet (SAW) told us that:”فعليكم بسنتى و سنة الخلفاء الرّاشدين” i.e. ‘unto you is my sunnah (actions, deeds, says) and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided caliphates, hold firmly to it’. This is the instruction given by the prophet and it is reasonable because we can never ever be perfect up to the level of these great people. Remember what happened when some people disregarded the prophet’s instruction in the battle of Uhud, they caused destruction for many Muslims in consequence to their deed. They indeed faced the repercussion.

Remember also that the Prophet told us that: “من حسن إسلام المرء تركه ما لا نعنيه” . i.e. ‘among beauty (best) of one’s religion is leaving what is not of his concern’. The prophet said this when he saw a script of Tawrah (Psalm) in the hand of one of his Sahabah, affirming that he is not concern of such, nevertheless talking of the calendar which serve as the source of social order and cultural identity.

Celebrating the 1st of January’s New Year is part and parcel of their religion, indeed it’s their path and their desire. Allah (SWT) says in the Noble Qur’an:

‘never will the Jews and the Christians be pleased with you till you follow their path (religion, desire e.g. act the way they act etc.). Say: “verily, the Guidance of Allah is the (only) guidance. And if you follow their desires after what you have received of knowledge, then you would have against Allah neither any protector or any helper’. (Suuratu-l-Baqarah, Q2:120): ‘verily, if you follow their desire after that which you have received knowledge (from Allah), then indeed you will be one of the Zaalimuun (polytheist, wrong-doers)’. (Suuratu-l-Baqarah, Q2:145)

Maryam Yahya


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