Today is 1st Muharram and marks the new year in Islam. It also marks one of the most significant events in Islamic history – the Hijrah (migration) of Muslims from Mecca to Medina.
The Islamic Hijri calendar was adopted during the Khilafah of Umar ibn al-Khattab (RA) after a case was brought to the Khalif about a contract one man had with another stating that an amount owed became due in the month of Sha’baan. Umar asked, ‘which Sha’baan? The Sha’baan of this year we are in or last year or next year? Recognising the problems this issue could cause, Umar (RA) summoned the Sahabah and consulted them about adopting a calendar which would assist them with such contracts.
Someone suggested adopting the Persian calendar, whilst someone else suggested adopting the Byzantine calendar, Umar declined both. Others suggested dating the new year from the birth of the Messenger (saw), or from the beginning of revelation, or from the Hijrah, or from his (saw) death. The Sahabah reached the unanimous decision to start the Islamic calendar from the Hijrah and made the first month of the Islamic year Muharram.
This was no coincidence as the Sahabah understood the greatness of the Hijrah in Islam. Many understate the Hijrah by claiming the Muslims only migrated to escape from the persecution of Quraysh. However the Hijrah was undertaken to establish the Islamic State in Medinah with Muhammad (saw) entering the city as the leader of the Muslims. It was a migration from Batil to Haqq, and from Kufr to Islam. Continue reading “1st Muharram – The beginning of Islam”