Friday, November 25, 2011

On this blessed day, let us increase our takwa to Allah s.w.t. Let us strive to always perform all of His commandments and leave behind all of His prohibitions. May our taqwa bring us closer to Allah s.w.t. so that we can achieve happiness that we hope for in ourselves and those whom we love.

We are nearing the end of the month of Zulhijjah. In fact, today is the last Friday prayer we will perform in the year 1432 Hijrah. Soon, we will embark on a new Hijriyyah year, with the hope that in this upcoming year, we will be able to increase our deeds of worship and beneficial achievements in everything that we do.

In conjunction with this new Hijriyyah year, allow me to refresh our understanding on the true concept of hijrah in Islam. May our correct understanding guide us to the path of excellence and success, in this world and the next.

It is not by mere coincidence that the syura council (consultative council) headed by Sayyidina Umar Bin Al-Khattab as the second caliph of Islam, during the 16th year of hijrah, declared the hijrah of the Prophet s.a.w. to be the decisive point for the start of the Islamic calendar. In fact, this choice was made out of full consciousness on the importance of the hijrah in developing the growing Muslim community throughout history.

Linguistically, the hijrah refers to the journey for a new abode from one place to another. Historically, it refers to the specific sunnah of the Prophets and Messengers. Every single Prophet and Messenger have performed the hijrah from one place to another. This is to enable them to serve Allah, as well as to realize the duty of performing their dakwah efforts in the best manner possible.

One of the Prophets and Messengers who performed the hijrah is Prophet Ibrahim a.s. The story of his hijrah is recorded in surah Al-Ankabut verse 26:

 But (Prophet) Lut had faith in Him: He said: ‘I will leave home for the sake of my Lord: for He is Exalted in Might, and Wise.’  ”

Scholars recorded that Prophet Ibrahim a.s. migrated with his family from Iraq to Harran (Syria), and then continued on until he reached Palestine. He then stayed there until the end of his days and was even buried there.

When we reflect upon the word hijrah from the perspective of the various Prophetic traditions, we will discover that the term does not just relate to a transition from one place to another.

However, the term hijrah also connotes the ability for someone to transform himself from his current condition to a better one; or from a state of ignorance to a state of enlightenment, from a lifestyle far detached from Allah s.w.t. to one that pleases Him. This is our Islamic tradition; a tradition that is consistent with the teachings of the Al-Quran and the Sunnah of Rasulullah s.a.w.

This was accurately explained by Rasulullah s.a.w. as to the meaning of hijrah. He s.a.w. said:

 “A Muslim is one from whose tongue and hand the other Muslims are safe, and the muhajir (the one who performs the hijrah) is the one who abandons what Allah s.w.t. has forbidden.” Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari and Muslim.

In another hadith, it was narrated that one day a companion by the name of Fudaik who has just embraced Islam, approached the Prophet s.a.w. and asked:

“Ya Rasulullah, many people from my country alleged that if one does not perform the hijrah by leaving his abode, his faith is not perfect.” The Prophet then replied:

 “O Fudaik! Establish prayers, pay zakat, avoid sins and stay wherever you wish with your people.” Hadith narrated by Imam Ibnu Hibban.

It is clear therefore, that the hijrah is not merely a physical act. But the principle of hijrah can be fulfilled by performing the commandments of Allah s.w.t. and avoiding every single act that will cause His displeasure.

The event of hijrah has instilled within us the spirit of change. With the provision of this admirable spirit, let us strengthen our resolution so that we can improve our lives, to be closer to Allah s.w.t. and to the teachings of Rasulullah s.a.w. We can do so by performing acts that will enhance our iman such as extending the acts of compassion or ihsan to other mankind through kindness and charity.

If previously we have not been consistent in performing our prayers or any other obligatory deeds, now is the time that we should perform our personal hijrah. This is because none of us exactly knows the time of his death, and when the ordained time has arrived, there will be no more opportunity for us to repent or to perform our obligations.

Similarly, my dear brothers, if previously we have been living a carefree lifestyle without concern of any religious boundaries, this is now the time for us to make a better change in our lives than the life we have lived yesterday.

If all these while we have adopted a relaxed attitude in ensuring that the source of sustenance is halal for our family, now is the time for us to reflect on the sources of our sustenance.

We need to ensure that the food and drinks that we provide for our family are from sources which are halal. It is possible that the challenges and tests that we faced in life could be caused by a mere morsel of food from a source that is not blessed by Allah s.w.t.

At the same time, let us plant a resolution in conjunction with this approaching new year, to perform hijrah of our mentality and the quality of our efforts. It does not matter if we are students or employees. All of us have a role in ensuring that we put in our best efforts to hijrah so that we can be a better student or a better employee from last year.

The choice is up to us. It is only we ourselves who can impact a positive change in our lives. It is only we who can perform this hijrah in improving our own selves. Remember Allah’s promise to those who strive to hijrah in the path of Allah and to transform oneself into a better person, with enhanced faith and taqwa, as well as achieving the comfort of life and forgiveness from Allah s.w.t. Allah says in surah An-Nisaa’ verse 100:  

Meaning: “He who forsakes his home in the cause of Allah, finds in the earth many a refuge, wide and spacious: Should he die as a refugee from home for Allah and His Messenger, His reward becomes due and sure with Allah: And Allah is Most Forgiving, Most Merciful.”

May Allah grant us His blessings and guidance to us all to perform our personal hijrah that pleases Him. May Allah s.w.t. make this year one that is filled with happiness and peace for us and for those whom we love.

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