Islamic New Year – Muharram, 1441
2 September 2019
Sunday 1st September 2019 marked the beginning of the Islamic New Year and the month of Muharram. This is one of the four sacred months of the Hijri calendar, months in which Muslims are told by God to “wrong not yourselves therein” (9:36), by avoiding sin, fighting and aggression more than in other months, and increasing good deeds such as charity, hospitality, and fasting.
Many Muslims also choose to fast on the 10th of Muharram, the day known as Ashura, to commemorate the day when the Prophet Musa and his people were saved from the tyranny of Pharaoh. The story of Musa, and his struggle for justice, has never been more important to take lessons from than today. The day of Ashura also marks the tragic events at Karbala, when the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam al Hussain also stood in the face of oppression and tyranny, and gave his life standing for principles of social justice and fairness.
These events from our history and tradition should give us pause for thought when contemplating the current climate for Muslims across the globe: whether we look at the internment of over a million Uighur Muslims in China, the brutal oppression and mistreatment of the Rohingya, wars in Yemen and Syria, or the escalating crisis in Kashmir, where millions of Muslims are facing an unprecedented violation of their human rights. The constant struggle against injustice continues unabated, and we, as British Muslims, must play our part in calling for the establishment of human rights, the principles of democracy, and safety and security so that we can, one day, see an end to the oppression of so many.
I hope that we can all take the opportunity provided by this blessed month to pray for all those suffering, Muslim and non-Muslim, from injustice and oppression across the globe.