A Chance to Start Anew

For Muslims worldwide, the Islamic New Year is upon us and with every new beginning, most of us harbor new ideas and resolutions. Though many would have probably already been working on resolutions made during the beginning of the Gregorian New Year, there is nothing wrong with starting fresh on the Islamic New Year (if you missed the chance to fulfill them earlier).

The Islamic New Year also is known as Al- Hijri marks 1,440 years since the migration of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah, Islam’s holiest cities in Saudi Arabia. The first year in the Islamic calendar, Hijri 1, corresponds to the year 622AD.

Hijri is derived from the Arabic word Hijrah, which means migration. In the religious context, it specifically refers to the migration of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) more than 14 centuries ago.

However, in the world of today, several Muslims use the context of Hijrah not in its physical meaning but in the spiritual sense of the word. Through its association with the Islamic new year, many use the Hijrah word when ‘migrating’ from one’s ‘old’ self to a new (and God-willing) better version of themselves. And in essence, ‘better’ servants of Allah.

Clearly, this ‘Hijrah’ we are referring to is no easy task. It requires a lot of will and sacrifice as more often than not, several worldly or hedonistic qualities must be left behind.

We may know friends or family members who have gone or are currently going through such phases. And if you were to ask them, each would have their own tale to tell as to what triggered them to commit to this ‘migration’. Perhaps some of us are even going through it right now and very seldom is this ‘migration’ easy.

It is no surprise that many (if not some) have not fully succeeded in this journey. Some have relentlessly tried and failed, while some seem to progress as to how they envisioned. As Muslims, we all know that The Almighty has carefully planned our paths, and not all journeys run smoothly. Obstacles lurk at the most unexpected points and it is our task to learn from these challenges.

Maybe some of our sisters planned to don the hijab, but alas, fail to commit to it. Some may be struggling with their five daily prayers, while some are trying to quit smoking or perhaps even give up alcohol or any other act deemed unfit in Islam. And still, do not succeed in achieving their spiritual goals.

But remember, failing to commit is not the end. We know that Allah is watching and He is with us at all times. He hears our every prayer and as told in the Holy Quran, He is the Most Forgiving and Merciful.

So do not despair or lose hope, for every act done with wholehearted sincerity shall usually reap the promised rewards.

With regards to that, the Latin term Carpe Diem is a motto that we as Muslims or anyone for that matter can live by, for seizing the day is taking advantage of the opportunities granted by God. Every day given to us is our second, third, fourth or 997th chance to keep trying. Although it would be ideal to attain certain things at specific periods of time, there isn’t an actual expiry date for anything that we want to achieve in life.

Some may say it is an excuse to procrastinate, but logically and evidently, we all have different paces. So do not lose hope and give up. The new year may end before you know it, but it doesn’t mean it is the end of your spiritual journey or ‘Hijrah’. If there is still another day, that means there are still more chances.

Here’s wishing all Muslims around the world a blessed Islamic New Year, in advance!

Photo: Pop Nukoonrat, 123RF