Muharram is here once again. Messages of goodwill via social media start pouring in to family and friends. Masaajid are elaborately decorated, discourses on Muharram, its significance and importance flow from the pulpits, countless literature bearing the same message are circulated and in a nutshell the ambience is off joy, elation and happiness as we ‘welcome’ and usher in another new year.

But then we ask is this really what Muharram is all about or is there something else that we are missing about this great month apart from it being the first month of the Islamic year? Muharram marks the beginning of a new year. This is not its only message or significance. There is a deeper and more profoundly significant message which is only hearkened by those who are truly intelligent. This message is frightening though as it speaks of the swift passage of something which is taking with it chunks and chunks of our lives as it moves rapidly. This message of this great silent enemy we have become oblivious off or have chosen not to hear it!

When we look at the life of a human being we will find that his life is constantly a battle with the silent enemy which is gnawing away from his time- the greatest favour of Allah Ta’ala. What is most tragic of this state of affairs is that this human being is not even aware of this loss which is occurring on a daily basis by the passing of each second. This loss that we are talking about is the loss of valuable TIME. It is no wonder that Allah Ta’ala has taken an oath of this priceless commodity of time in the Qur’aan in Suratul Asr. This is the other message of Muharram!

It comes in a hadeeth that at the dawn of every new day, the day makes an announcement to man saying:

O Son of Adam, I am a new creation of Allah Ta’ala. One more day, one more extension you have received in your life. Know and understand that I am a vault which will contain whatever you put in me. It will either be good or evil. Tomorrow on the Day of Judgement, in the court of Allah I am going to be a witness in your favour if you spent me correctly or else I’m going to be a plaintiff against you for having wasted and squandered me. So O Man, utilize me correctly, for once I am gone, I will never again return”.

And when this day passes it makes Duaa to Allah Ta’ala with the words, “All praises are due to Allah Ta’ala Who has granted me relief from this world and its inhabitants” and the night also makes a very similar Duaa.

Every human being from the very time he has come into this world has a life that can be made akin to a time-bomb. The moment of explosion is fast approaching in the form of death which there is no escape from and when death bears its deadly claws then there is no turning back. Each one of us have come with his/her own set period of time, Every hour, every minute, every second and every day of this life is precious and valuable. A poet very beautifully says:

The swift passage of time has become an enjoyment for you O man instead of it serving as a lesson. Little do you realize that every passing day is taking you closer and closer to your death. So in all earnestness work for that which will be for your death and after it. All your efforts for this fleeting world is in reality in vain.

Hadrat Abu-Darda Radiyallaahu Anhu used to say, “O Man you are but a collection of days. Every day that passes you takes with it a part of you.

Our lives are not for whiling away but instead our lives are to be made. So as another new year dawns upon us it should become more of a cause of reflection than celebration. Reflection of how our past lives have been wasted in frivolity and straying from the objective of our creation which is to worship Allah Ta’ala in a way prescribed by our beloved Nabi Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam. This is the only right thing to do at every new- year that dawns upon us. All other activities are futile and have no positive bearing on our lives. And more pertinent and serious is that every new-year reflects the gnawing away of our lives through the phenomena of time. This Muharram we may still be the dwellers of the earth. The next Muharram we may belong to those whose places are beneath the earth.

It is reported from Hadrat Abdullah Bin Umar Radiyallaahu Anhuma that Rasullullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam once took hold of his shoulder and said to him:

Live in this world as if you are a stranger or a traveller en route to his final destination. When night falls do not expect to see another day and when the day dawns do not expect to see another night again. Draw maximum benefit from your good health before illness sets in and take full advantage of the opportunities (in obeying Allah Ta’ala) in life before they are snatched away by death.” (Bukhaari)

The above hadeeth is an explicit exhortation to the practice of self-discipline. It seeks to remove our ignorance about the true purpose of life, reminding us that this life offers only a temporary home and that our real life is only the life after death. The hadeeth continues warning us that whilst our time in this world is temporary, it also does not belong to us. It emphasises the fact that the invaluable gift of time should be fully appreciated. We should therefore guard against feelings of complacency and permanence in this world. The ultimate lesson from this hadeeth is to value our time in this life and to exploit our resources in the form of health and wealth in serving the course of Allah Ta’ala and His beloved Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa sallam.

This message is not a new message. It has been given by all the messengers of Allah Ta’ala and their devout followers through the ages for if there are enemies of man, then the greatest and most powerful and most dangerous of them is time for it works silently!

Life today bears the similarity of a candle in the wind. One slight breeze and the candle goes out. The Janaazas of youth these days have become common as opposed to those of the old.

That slight breeze which will mark the end of your journey on earth could be moments away! Let every moment of your life be in the obedience of Allah Ta’ala for you never know which would be the last moment!

May Allah Ta’ala in His infinite mercy on the occasion of this new Islamic year, grant us the realisation of the value of time and then grant us the ability to utilise all that is left of it from our lives in seeking and securing His and His Beloved Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi Wa Sallam’s pleasure, Aameen.

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