On Monday 9th August after Maghrib prayer at 9 pm, I ventured out in search of the moon, from a high vantage point. The observatory had forecasted the visibility of the moon by the naked eye on the north-western horizon of the UK. So, I looked for the crescent that would mark the dawn of the new Islamic year. In Nottingham it was cloudy, so I saw nothing. But there were hundreds of other brothers and sisters up and down the country also doing what I was doing. We were following the Sunnah of sighting the crescent. Did anyone else see it?
You will be surprised it was seen in five places; Cornwall, Halifax, Leicester, Southampton, and Saltburn by the Sea. This proves that the moon can be sighted in the UK and it doesn’t need to be imported from abroad. I would personally like to thank brother Qamar Uddin of www.moonsighting.org.uk for his continuous efforts over the years to encourage us to sight the moon at home. If you want to set up a group in your town or join a moonsighting group, contact Qamar Uddin via the above website. This effort may one day compel our religious leaders to agree to accept local moonsighting as the way towards united Eids in UK, Insha Allah.
So, the new year 1443 after Hijra started on Tuesday 10th August 2021. I regard this as my spiritual calendar as distinct from the Gregorian calendar, which starts in January. My spiritual calendar reminds me of the religious events, personalities and duties to my Lord.
The first month of this calendar is Muharram, known as the ‘month of Allah’. It’s a grand title, it’s the month in which the ark of Nuh came to rest on Mount Judi, humanity was saved; the Israelites were freed from the clutches of Pharaoh; and the month in which the tragedy of Karbala took place in 61 AH. No wonder the blessed Messenger (peace be upon him) used to fast on the tenth of Muharram to mark its significance.
The martyrdom of Imam Hussain
The martyrdom of Imam Hussain is an important event of this month. Even after 1382 years, it remains fresh in our minds. You may wonder why? Perhaps because he was the grandson of the Prophet? Or because the forces of oppression were brutal? Perhaps because it was a great Jihad? Perhaps it taught the Muslims to be determined to establish the truth and never to compromise with forces of evil.
Imam Hussain was a pious, intelligent and brave soul. One day the Prophet (peace be upon him) was leading the prayer and during the prostration, young Hussain climbed onto his back. He remained in that position for a long time until the boy climbed down. When Umar remarked “what a beautiful mount” the Messenger (peace be upon him) quipped “what a beautiful rider!” On another occasion, the Prophet (peace be upon him) was passing his daughter Fatima’s house and heard young Hussain crying. The Prophet (peace be upon him) stopped and went into the house and said, “Fatima, don’t you know it hurts me to hear Hussain cry.” Imam Hussain learned his knowledge from his father Syeduna Ali. He inherited virtues and chivalrous character from his father. He fought with great valour against the Christians in the siege of Constantinople. Imam Hussain’s jihad for all-purpose and intent was an amazing Jihad, personal and family sacrifice that has inspired Muslims for centuries.
In Hussain’s grief eyes flow with tears
But again and again, they say to me
Proclaim the truth loudly,
In this world, there are still many tyrants like Yazid
The martyrdom of the Imam was also a political statement symbolising the sovereignty of Allah by enjoining good and forbidding evil in an attempt to establish justice for humanity. He challenged the monarchy, the adoration of worldly kings who were interested in building their empires not spreading the truth. The blood of the martyrs of Karbala was spilt to regain equality and justice for all. Imam Hussain raised his voice against an unjust system and an unfit ruler. In doing so he was fulfilling his duty as a Muslim. The Majestic Quran says, “And struggle for the cause of Allah with all your might”.
Click HERE to download my Kindle book titled ‘The Tragedy of Karbala’, please read it and educate yourself on the lessons that can be learnt from this historic event.