Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Entering the New Year

Friday Khutbah (Sermons) : Entering the New Year
– by Imam Al-Madinah Al-Munawarrah ‘Abdul Muhsin Ibn Muhammad al-Qasim
from the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, on 4 Muharram, 1424 (March 7, 2003)

The Transcript:


All praise is due to Allah, Lord of all the worlds. Peace and blessings of Allah be upon the Prophet, his family and companions.

Fellow Muslims! There are indeed blessings in the movement of days and nights. Allah says,

“And He has made the sun and the moon, both constantly pursuing their courses, to be of service to you; and He has made the night and the day, to be of service to you. And He gave you of all that you asked for, and if you count the Blessings of Allah, never will you be able to count them. Verily! Man is indeed an extreme wrong-doer, a disbeliever (an extreme ingrate).” (Surah Ibrahim 14:33-34)

The Messenger of Allah said,

“There are two blessings about which many people are deceived: good health and free time.”

Fellow Muslims! We have bidden farewell to another year of our lives in which we have done many deeds that will be shown to us on the Day or Resurrection. Many days have passed and many loved ones have died. Many sins we have committed day and night. The Prophet said,

“People wake up in the morning and they bargain with their souls. There are among them those who buy freedom for their souls and there are others who sell theirs unto destruction.”

Brethren in faith! In life, pains turn to happiness and prosperity turns to misery. Days and nights move but it is only the wise who derives lessons from that. Allah says,

“Allah causes the night and the day to succeed each other (i.e. if the day is gone, the night comes, and if the night is gone, the day comes, and so on). Truly, in these things is indeed a lesson for those who have insight.” (Surah Al Nur 24:44)

The old year has now gone with the deeds of men and these deeds will be shown to them on the Day of Resurrection. Allah says,

“On that Day man will be informed of what he sent forward (of his evil or good deeds), and what he left behind (of his good or evil traditions).” (Surah Al Qiyamah 75:13)

Dear brother! Take an investigating look at your past days: What have you provided for your Hereafter in them? Examine yourself stringently for this. Maymun bin Mihran said, “The man cannot become pious until he holds himself accountable as he would his business partner.” The rightly guided person is therefore the one who examines and blames himself for his shortcomings and then mends his ways. Lack of self-examination is not a good thing for a Muslim. For the disbelievers caused perdition to themselves because they never thought that there was someone watching them. Allah says,

“For truly, they used not to expect any reckoning.” (Surah Al Naba’ 78:27)

Seeing one’s faults prevents one from going astray. And knowing that one’s end is the grave makes one become humble to Allah and prevents ostentation. Abu Darda said:

“The Muslim cannot have proper understanding of Islam until he criticizes people for the sake of Allah and criticizes himself more.”

Dear brother! When you sit with people, admonish yourself. People watch your outward deeds but Allah watches your inner deeds. Whoever reforms his inward traits through self-examination and sincerity, Allah will adorn his outward deeds with success.

Constant remembrance of Allah’s right upon man and His great blessings makes man bows his head for Allah as it makes him recognise his weaknesses. It also let him know that there is no salvation except by obeying Allah and that He should be obeyed and thanked. A scholar said,

“The first step in self-examination is to compare Allah’s blessings to your sins. Then it will be clear to you that you can never escape from His punishment except by His mercy only.”

Malik bin Dinar said,

“May Allah bless a man who tells his soul: ‘Are you not the perpetrator of so and so sins?’ And he then reproaches his soul and forces it to abide by the Book of Allah.”

The most harmful thing that a legally responsible Muslim can do to himself is to abandon self-examination and to indulge in lusts until he perishes. This is actually the situation with those who are deceived by the beauties of this world and depend on Allah’s forgiveness without making any repentance or abandoning the sins. Allah says,

“O man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous?” (Surah Al Infitar 82:6)

Al-Hasan Al-Basri said,

“A believer should admonish himself and say: ‘What do I intend by the word I utter? What do I intend by the food I eat?’ As for a disbeliever, he does never admonish himself. But the Muslim should always be a watcher over himself.”

Allah says,

“Verily, those who are the pious, when an evil thought comes to them from Satan, they remember (Allah), and (indeed) they then see (aright).” (Surah Al A‘raf 7:201)

Whoever calls himself to account in this world will have easier reckoning on the Day of Resurrection and whoever does not call himself to account in this world will have a difficult reckoning in the Hereafter. Beware of falling into sins, for keeping away from sins is easier than seeking for forgiveness. Days of this world are few and you do not know when you will die. Ask yourself about what you have done in the previous year and ask yourself about what you have provided for the coming year. ‘Umar (RA) said: “Call yourselves to reckoning before you are called to reckoning.”

Make a resolution right from the beginning of this year that you will observe your five obligatory prayers in the mosques in congregation. Make a pledge to yourself that you will seek for useful knowledge and spread it. Endeavor to guard your tongue against lie, gossip and immoral talk. Fear Allah in all that you eat and drink. Abstain from all forbidden things. Be kind to your parents and to your kith and kin. Do well to all people and free your heart from jealousy and hatred. Beware of bad thing about others. Promote good and forbid evil. Carry out your obligations towards your spouses and children in the best possible way and guard your eyes from looking at forbidden things. How beautiful it will be if this New Year is made a positive turning point in the lives of world communities where women properly cover themselves according to the injunctions of Allah and in following the Sunnah of His Messenger.

Dear brother! Each day in which the sun sets reminds you that your lifespan is diminishing. The wise is the one who learns from his yesterday, struggles for his present day and provides for his morrow. Provide for your morrow. The best provision is piety. Allah says,

“O you who believe! Fear Allah and keep your duty to Him. And let every person look to what he has sent forth for the morrow, and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is All-Aware of what you do.” (Surah Al Hashr 59:18)

Fellow Muslims! The first month in Islamic year is Muharram. It is one of the greatest months. It has been a sacred month since time immemorial and it is one of the months that Allah sanctified. It was in this month that Allah gave Prophet Musa victory over Pharaoh. Among its merits is that fasting is recommended in many of its days. The Messenger of Allah said,

“The best month in which one can fast after Ramadan is the month of Muharram. And the best prayer after obligatory prayers is the night prayer.” (Muslim)

The best day in this month is the day of Ashura (the tenth day). Ibn ‘Abbas said,

“The Prophet came to Al-Madinah and he found the Jews fasting on the day of Ashura. He asked them: ‘What is this day in which you fast?’ They said: ‘This is a great day in which Allah saved Prophet Musa and his people and drowned Pharaoh and his people. Musa used to fast that day to show gratitude to Allah and we emulate him in doing so.’ The Prophet then said: ‘We have right to Musa more than you.’ So he fast the day and he used to ask people to fast on it.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The Messenger of Allah was also asked of fasting on Ashura day and he replied:

“I have hope that Allah will make it erase all the sins committed in the previous year.”

The Prophet also determined to fast a day before that day in disagreement with the people of the Scripture. He said in this regard:

“If I remain alive till next year, I will certainly fast the ninth day.”

It is therefore recommended for the Muslims to fast the tenth day of Muharram to follow the Sunnah of the Prophet and in order to get the reward. It is also recommended that they should fast the ninth day so as to disagree with the Jews and in order to uphold the Sunnah. Doing this is an act of showing gratitude to Allah, and by doing it we are commencing our new year with good deeds.

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