Allah ﷻ says “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them…” Three of the sacred months are consecutive: Dhul-Qa’dah, Dhul-Hijjah, and Muharram. The fourth sacred month, Rajab, is separated from the three. In these months certain acts, particularly war, have been prohibited for the Muslims because these months are sacred and should be a reminder for us to renew and revive our relationship with our Creator.
Understanding the dynamic of the sacred months is important, but we also must look at the strategic method of our Creator in choosing these specific months. Dhul-Qa’dah, being the 11th month in the Islamic calendar prepares the Muslim mentally and spiritually right before they enter the 12th month of the year which is Dhul-Hijjah. Dhul-Hijjah is the month in which Muslims all around the globe flock to perform the Hajj pilgrimage, an obligatory pillar in our faith for those financially and physically able. Those who perform hajj are rewarded with a forgiven past and clean new slate with Allah ﷻ. Allah ﷻ talks about His servants that have come dusty and disheveled in the plains of arafah and muzdalifah and boasts about them. Allah ﷻ accepts whatever they ask for. Given that the Hajj season falls in the last month of the year, it’s hard not to contemplate and reflect on the very idea that Allah ﷻ wants us to end off our year strong.
It’s no coincidence that the last month of the year is a sacred month and the very first month of the new year is also a sacred month. The month of Muharram, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ referred to it as “The Sacred Month of Allah.” There are many virtues and blessings in this month. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “The best fasting after Ramadan is the Sacred Month of Allah (Muharram)…” In this sacred month Allah ﷻ saved our beloved prophet Musa (AS) from pharaoh and his people. The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, came to Medina and he found the Jews fasting on the Day of Ashura. The Prophet ﷺ said, “What is this day you are fasting?” They said, “This is a great day in which Allah saved Moses and his people, and he drowned Pharaoh and his people. Moses fasted on it due to gratitude, so we also fast on it.” The Prophet said, “We are more deserving and are closer to Moses than you.” The Prophet ﷺ fasted the Day of Ashura and he commanded fasting on it along with a day before or after. The Prophet ﷺ was asked about fasting the Day of Ashura and he said, “It will expiate the sins of the past year.” It’s evident that there is much reward to gain in this blessed month we’re about to enter.
What we really must reflect upon is the order of the months. SubhanAllah, it is almost as if Allah ﷻ is reminding us that we need to end the year off right and start our year off right, and the best way to do that is to be in remembrance of Allah ﷻ. When you remind yourself of Allah ﷻ, it will lead you to living a life that is pleasing to Allah ﷻ.
As we enter this new Islamic year, let us renew and revive our faith with Allah ﷻ. Let us be reminded that the only constant in our lives is Allah ﷻ and without Him, we would not be present. Let us turn back to Allah ﷻ and maintain the strong connection we started back in Ramadan so that we may live lives that are pleasing to Allah ﷻ.
By Sh. Hassan Natour