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Friday, December 18, 2009

The New Hijri Year and the Fasting in Muharram

The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

“The best fasting after Ramadaan is the month of Allaah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.”

Narrated by Muslim, 1163.

Please see below for the following beneficial Q&A inshaAllah:

=> Ruling on offering congratulations at the beginning of the Hijri year

=>Is it advised to end the year with prayers for forgiveness and fasting?

=>The virtue of observing a lot of naafil fasts in the month of Muharram






· Ruling on offering congratulations at the beginning of the Hijri year

What is the ruling on offering congratulations on the occasion of the Hijri new year and saying “Kull ‘aam wa antum bi khayr” or praying for blessing, or sending a card with best wishes for blessings in the new year?

Praise be to Allaah.

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on congratulating people on the occasion of the Hijri new year, and how should one reply to a person who offers congratulations?

He replied:

If someone offers you congratulations, then respond to him, but do not initiate such greetings. This is the correct view concerning this matter. So if a person says to you, for example, “Happy New Year”, then you can say, “May Allaah make it a good and blessed year for you.” But you should not initiate such a greeting, because I do not know of any report that the salaf [early generations of Islam] congratulated one another on the occasion of the new year, rather the salaf did not regard the first of Muharram as the first day of the new year until the caliphate of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him.

Shaykh ‘Abd al-Kareem al-Khudayr said concerning offering congratulations on the occasion of the hijri new year:

Praying for another Muslim in general terms, in phrases that are not meant as a kind of ritual on special occasions such as Eid, is acceptable, especially if what is meant by this greeting is friendship and to show a friendly face to one’s fellow Muslim. Imaam Ahmad (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: “I do not initiate the greeting but if someone greets me I return the greeting, because responding to the greeting is obligatory. But being the first to offer congratulations is neither Sunnah nor forbidden.

Islam Q&A #21290


· Is it advised to end the year with prayers for forgiveness and fasting?

As the Hijri year draws to a close, there are many text messages saying that the page recording one’s good deeds will be closed at the end of the year, and urging us to end it with prayers for forgiveness and fasting. What is the ruling on these messages? Is fasting the last day of the year Sunnah? If it coincides with a Monday or a Thursday is that bid’ah?.

Praise be to Allaah.

The Sunnah indicates that people’s good deeds are taken up to be shown to Allaah without any delay, twice each day: once at night and once during the day.

In Saheeh Muslim (179) it is narrated that Abu Moosa al-Ash’ari (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) stood up before us and told us five things. He said: “Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted, does not sleep and it is not befitting that He should sleep. He lowers the Balance and raises it; the deeds of the night are taken up to Him before the deeds of the day, and the deeds of the day before the deeds of the night…” Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The recording angels go up with the deeds of the night after it ends, at the beginning of the day, and they go up with the deeds of the day after it ends, at the beginning of the night.

Al-Bukhaari (555) and Muslim (632) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The angels of the night and the day come to you in succession, and they meet at Fajr prayer and at ‘Asr prayer, then those who stayed among you ascend and their Lord asks them, although He knows best about them, ‘How did you leave My slaves?’ and they say, ‘We left them when they were praying and we came to them when they were praying.’”

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajar said: This indicates that deeds are taken up at the end of the day. Whoever is in a state of obedience at that time will be blessed in his provision and his work, and Allaah knows best. Hence we can see the wisdom behind the command to perform these prayers (Fajr and ‘Asr) regularly and pay attention to them. End quote.

The Sunnah indicates that deeds are also shown to Allaah (may He be glorified and exalted) twice each week.

Muslim (2565) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “People’s deeds are shown [to Allaah] twice each week, on Monday and Thursday, and every believing slave is forgiven except a person between whom and his brother there is a dispute, and it is said, ‘Leave these two until they reconcile.’”

The Sunnah also indicates that the good deeds of each year are taken up to Allaah all at once in the month of Sha’baan.

Al-Nasaa’i (1257) narrated that Usaamah ibn Zayd (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I said: O Messenger of Allaah, I do not see you fasting as much in any month as you fast in Sha3baan. He said: “That is a month concerning which the people are heedless, between Rajab and Ramadaan, but it is a month in which good deeds are taken up to the Lord of the Worlds, and I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.” Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh al-Jaami’.

These texts may be summed up by noting that people’s deeds are shown to Allaah in three ways:

· Daily, which happens twice a day

· Weekly, which also happens twice, on Mondays and Thursdays

· Annually, which happens once, during the month of Sha’baan

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The deeds of the year are taken up in Sha’baan, as the truthful one (the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him)) has told us. The deeds of the week are shown on Monday and Thursday, the deeds of the day are taken up at the end of the day before night comes, and the deeds of the night are taken up at the end of the night, before day comes. When a person’s life comes to an end, all his life’s deeds are taken up and the record of his deeds is closed. End quote from Haashiyat Sunan Abi Dawood.

The ahaadeeth which indicate that deeds are shown to Allaah indicate that it is encouraged to do more deeds of obedience at the times when the deeds are being shown to Him, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said concerning fasting in Sha’baan: “I would like my deeds to be taken up when I am fasting.”

In Sunan al-Tirmidhi (747) it is narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Deeds are shown (to Allaah) on Mondays and Thursdays, and I would like my deeds to be shown when I am fasting.” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel (949)

One of the Taabi’een used to weep in front of his wife on Thursdays and she would weep in front of him, and he would say: Today our deeds are being shown to Allaah, may He be glorified and exalted. (This was mentioned by Ibn Rajab in Lataa’if al-Ma’aazif)

From what we have mentioned it is clear that there is no suggestion that at the end of an old year or the beginning of a new year the records of deeds are closed and deeds are shown to Allaah. Rather deeds are shown to Him in the various ways that we have mentioned, and the texts describe other times for this. The texts also indicate that the way of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) is to do more acts of obedience at those times.

Shaykh Saalih al-Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said concerning commemorating the end of the year: “There is no basis for that, and singling out the end of the year for specific acts of worship such as fasting is a reprehensible innovation (bid’ah).” End quote.

With regard to fasting on Mondays and Thursdays, if that is a person’s habit, or if he is fasting on those days because of the reports which encourage doing so, then he should not refrain from doing so because it coincides with the end or beginning of the year, so long as he is not fasting on that day because of that coincidence, or because he thinks that there is any special virtue in fasting on that occasion.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A #44021


· The virtue of observing a lot of naafil fasts in the month of Muharram

Is it Sunnah to observe a lot of naafil [supererogatory] fasts in the month of Muharram? Is there anything special about this month compared with other months?.

Praise be to Allaah.

The month of Muharram is the first month of the Arabic year, and it is one of the four sacred months of Allaah. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“Verily, the number of months with Allaah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allaah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar). That is the right religion, so wrong not yourselves therein”

[al-Tawbah 9:36]

al-Bukhaari (3167) and Muslim (1679) narrated from Abu Bakrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The division of time has turned to its original form which was current the day Allaah created the heavens and earth. The year consists of twelve months of which four are sacred: three consecutive months, Dhu’l-Qa’dah, Dhu’l-Hijjah and Muharram, and Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha’baan.”

It was proven from the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) that the best fasting after Ramadaan is fasting in the month of Muharram. It was narrated that Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The best fasting after Ramadaan is the month of Allaah Muharram, and the best prayer after the obligatory prayer is prayer at night.” Narrated by Muslim, 1163.

With regard to the phrase “the month of Allaah”, mentioning the month in conjunction with Allaah is a sign of its great status. Al-Qaari said: it seems that what is meant is all of the month of Muharram.

But it was proven that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) did not fast any month in full apart from Ramadaan, so this hadeeth is to be understood as meaning that it is encouraged to fast a lot in the month of Muharram, not to fast the whole month.

And Allaah knows best.

Islam Q&A #21311





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