Written by Dr. Farah Zahir | Published a year ago
My dear Irfaa family, sisters and brothers, sons and daughters,
Today is the 7th of Muharram of 1442. We completed our first laylat al jumuah (night of Friday) of this month, and then two days after received the news of the passing of a great soul back to her Lord. Inna lillahi wa inna ilaihi rajioon. "For sure, we are from God and and for sure we will return to God". So the events mirror the importance of this month and this year in Islamic cosmology.
Muharram ('of the sacred') has been described by our beloved prophet Muhammed (peace be upon him) as the month of Allah! These are powerful words. This is a month when Godship takes precedence over all else. It is a month when we bow our heads and accept the will of God, and it is a month when we raise our heads to fulfill God’s command when He calls us.
Many significant events in the story of humankind took place during Muharram, some of the most prominent are;
· The ocean was parted for our prophet Moses (peace upon him), and he crossed to safety with his people while the Pharoah and his army pursuing him perished.
· The ark of our prophet Noah (peace be upon him) came to rest on Mount Judi and so a new world order began with the beginning of the recession of the great flood.
· The martyrdom of our master Hussain (God’s pleasure upon him)
· The martyrdom of our master Umar (God’s pleasure upon him)
· The martyrdom of our master Imam Zain al Abidin (God’s pleasure upon him)
And so many besides.
When we say ‘the month of Allah’ we mean that it is a month of truth. God is ultimate and absolute truth. Falsehood is everything that tries to corrupt of join what cannot be joined to truth. Hence, as God is truth, and as this is the month of God, it means that during this time falsehood and truth become distinguished. They become separated and truth becomes clear to any with a heart that is alive and well enough to see it.
We pray to Allah that we are now and we will always be among those who have hearts alive and well so that we clearly see what is true from what is false, and that we may have the determination, dedication, clean intention and ability to serve the Truth and oppose the False.
The rescue of Moses (peace upon him) and his people and the defeat of Pharoah are a criterion that distinguishes truth from false. The tragic events at Karbala on the 10th of Muharram, which happened so soon after the death of our master Muhammed (peace be upon him) and has forever haunted all Muslims, are a criterion that distinguishes truth from false. Death is a clear and ultimate distinguisher between what is truth and what is false.
And so indeed is the new beginning, when the Ark came to rest on Mt. Judi. Noah (peace upon him), even despite being a great prophet who had preached for many many centuries could not tear himself away from his own son who opposed God, until God commanded Noah to do so, as the flood waters were rising. His son was drowned, and God comforted Noah ‘He is not of your family’ ;
وَنَادَىٰ نُوحٌ رَّبَّهُ فَقَالَ رَبِّ إِنَّ ابْنِي مِنْ أَهْلِي وَإِنَّ وَعْدَكَ الْحَقُّ وَأَنتَ أَحْكَمُ الْحَاكِمِينَ -
قَالَ يَا نُوحُ إِنَّهُ لَيْسَ مِنْ أَهْلِكَ ۖ إِنَّهُ عَمَلٌ غَيْرُ صَالِحٍ ۖ فَلَا تَسْأَلْنِ مَا لَيْسَ لَكَ بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ إِنِّي أَعِظُكَ أَن تَكُونَ مِنَ الْجَاهِلِينَ -
قَالَ رَبِّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ أَنْ أَسْأَلَكَ مَا لَيْسَ لِي بِهِ عِلْمٌ ۖ وَإِلَّا تَغْفِرْ لِي وَتَرْحَمْنِي أَكُن مِّنَ الْخَاسِرِينَ -
قِيلَ يَا نُوحُ اهْبِطْ بِسَلَامٍ مِّنَّا وَبَرَكَاتٍ عَلَيْكَ وَعَلَىٰ أُمَمٍ مِّمَّن مَّعَكَ ۚ وَأُمَمٌ سَنُمَتِّعُهُمْ ثُمَّ يَمَسُّهُم مِّنَّا عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ -
تِلْكَ مِنْ أَنبَاءِ الْغَيْبِ نُوحِيهَا إِلَيْكَ ۖ مَا كُنتَ تَعْلَمُهَا أَنتَ وَلَا قَوْمُكَ مِن قَبْلِ هَٰذَا ۖ فَاصْبِرْ ۖ إِنَّ الْعَاقِبَةَ لِلْمُتَّقِينَ -
And Noah called to his Lord, ‘My Lord, my son is from my family, and verily your promise is true, and you are the wisest of the wise’
He said ‘O Noah, verily he is not of your family, verily his actions are not upright, do not ask of me about that which you do not know about, indeed, I advise you or you may become of the ignorant’
He said ‘my Lord, I seek refuge with you from asking about which I do not have knowledge. And if you do not forgive me and have mercy of me, I will be among the loosers’
And it was said ‘O Noah, disembark with security from us, and our blessing is upon you and those nations who will be from you. But for nations not from you, they will have from us a fleeting enjoyment and then from us will touch them a great punishment’
This is from the news of the unseen, which we make clear to you. You did not know about this before nor did your people before this. So be patient. Verily the best outcome for the God-conscious (muttaqi)
Quran. Surah Hud: 45 – 49
Many beautiful, profound and powerful lessons from this incident;
It is difficult when we encounter falsehood in our own family, even the great prophets of God struggled with this situation
Allah is the only one with complete knowledge. We cannot make judgements about what we have not been given knowledge about.
But when we are given clear advice and guidance from Allah, we must accept that and bow to it, even if we do not understand it.
The immediate repentance of our master Noah (peace be upon him) when he received clear guidance and his acknowledgement that without God’s mercy and forgiveness he would be lost.
Once the ‘tawba’ – this returning – turning the heart back to God – occurred, the flood was over and the ark was given a safe place to disembark and he and his people a safe and blessed place to begin a new life
The news from God that many will not heed these lessons and for them they may enjoy being in heedlessness a short time, but that will end and they have to face their reckoning.
God’s advice to us all, once He has taught us what we did not know about, that we need patience to deal with what goes on around us. And that no matter what, in the end, for those who patiently stick to being mindful of God, they will have everything put right.
Thus, Muharram of 1442 is upon us, and we witness much in the world that remind us indeed that we are living in ‘the month of Allah’. So above all, we must raise in being mindful of God this month.
Among the acts recommended is fasting. Fast as much as you can during this month, but especially fast the 9th and 10th day of Muharram.
“The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadhan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.” (Sahih Muslim)
“Fasting the day of ‘Arafah I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year before it and the year after it, and fasting the day of ‘Ashura I hope Allah will expiate thereby for the year that came before it.” (Sahih Muslim)
We will end now with a reminder to hold fast to the rope of Allah, to seek His mercy and count on His blessing which is assured for every person whose heart is turned to him.
Muharram is the last of the three sacred months that come in sequence – Dhul Qa’adah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram’, the next sacred month is Rajab – which stands alone as the 7th month in our calendar.
We pray for much good for all of us during these blessed days in God’s month. For forgiveness from all sins, for guidance in all affairs, for rectification in all dealings and for sincerity and truthfulness at all times.
May you all be blessed, and the best blessing and salutation on our beloved master and healer, Muhammed, the best of creation and the seal of prophethood.
Dr. Farah Zahir.