In Nigeria today, Tuesday the 10th of August, 2021 marks the 1st of Muharram, 1443AH (After Hijrah). Hijrah is the divinely ordained migration of the noblest of mankind, Muhammad, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, from his birthplace, Makkah, the holiest city, to Madīnah Munawwarah, the second holiest city on the surface of the earth, not out of cowardice but in obedience to the divine instruction of Allah, the Lord of all creatures.
The Abuja Muslim Forum (AMF) joins the Muslims world over in commemorating the commencement of another Islamic year which is based on lunar reckoning. In Islam a month is either 29 or 30 days and, all in all, a year is made up of approximately 355 days.
There is no gainsaying that witnessing the beginning of another year is a sheer privilege from Allah, because a lot of water had passed under the bridge between the 1st of Muharram 1442AH and this day. So, Alhamdulillah that we are alive today, showing that we have had an increase in the bounties of Allah on us.
During the year that just ended the Muslim Ummah was faced with a myriad of challenges, locally and internationally. Quickest to remember is the plight of the Palestinian women, children and the elderly in the hands of Israel while the so called world powers busied themselves with unhelpful semantics. The AMF uses this medium to raise its voice as done by other humanitarian groups and individuals against the injustice being orchestrated against the Palestinians.
For two consecutive years 1441 – 1442AH performance of Hajj, the fifth pillar of Islam, was extremely restricted, according to Saudi authorities, due to COVID-19. For 1441AH (2019), only 10,000 persons were officially allowed to observe the Hajj rites, while the following year 1442AH (2020) saw 60,000 persons only performing the Hajj officially, open exclusively to residents within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. These figures were instead of official figures running to five million (5,000,000) in the preceding years. Conversely, major stadiums in Europe where the pandemic was and is still biting harder were filled to capacity with spectators who converged to watch football matches live without any hindrance, especially around the same period of Hajj 1442AH. This, without any doubt, constitutes a great challenge to Muslims all over the world.
On the local parlance, the menace of millions of Muslim children wandering the streets as Almajirai purportedly in search of Islamic knowledge is worrisome. This style of Almajiranci is anachronistic to the pristine teachings of Islam. Knowledge, truly, is power, but the modus for its acquisition should be in conformity with the laid down procedure according to the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and the practice of the pious Muslims of the past.
We ask Allah in humility and solemnity to grant us long life full of eemaan, sound health, halal wealth and other goodies of this world without depriving us of the inexhaustible provisions of the hereafter.
Ustadh Luqman Jamiu Ahmad,
Abuja Muslim Forum.