From Zubayr Ibn 'Adee who said :

"We came to Anas ibn Maalik (RA)and complained to him about (the oppression of) al-Hajjaj. So he said: "Be patient! For indeed there will not come upon you a time. except that after it will be more evil than it. until you meet your Lord. I heard this from your Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). (Bukhari)

Another esteemed companion, Abdullah lbn Mas'ood (RA) explained the understanding of the above hadith with another saying of the Prophet (sallallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam). He said;

"There will not come upon you a time. except that it is more evil than the one before it. I do not mean a leader better than another leader. nor a year better another year. But your 'ulamaa and fuqaha (scholars and jurists) will disappear. and you will not find anyone to succeed them. Then there will come a people who will give verdicts according to their opinions" (Fathul-Baree).

In another wording, he said:

"It is not due to abundance of rain. nor due to its scarcity. Rather it is due to the disappearance of the scholars. Then there 'will come a people who will give verdicts upon matters by mere opinions; and thus they will destroy Islaam ." (al-Fath)

"I do not mean a leader better than another leader." Thus the matter is not one of preference between leaders, between the notorious and wicked al- Hajjaaj ath-Thaqafee· and the clement and pious 'Umar ibn Abdul-Azeez (RAH) that came as ruler after him. (Or. in this locality. between the draconian. corrupt but apparently Muslim Abacha and the anti-corruption crusader but obviously unbelieving Obasanjo). However, let it be known that you are oppressed in proportion to your (evil) actions and lack of rectifying yourselves. And Allah averts evil from you in proportion to your (good) actions and you rectifying yourselves.

"Nor a year better than another year ... .Welcome to a brand new year. 1421AH! May Allah make it a year full of His Blessing and His Mercies on all members of the Ummah of Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam). Let us recall that the twelve lunar months of the Islamic calendar are ordained by Allah as He says:

"Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on -the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are sacred. That is the right religion " (at-TaubahQ9:36)

So this is the one thousand, four hundred and twenty-first year of the hijrah - the migration of the Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) from the city of Makkah to the then Yathrib which later became Madinatun-Nabiyy (the City of the Prophet). The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) and his companions migrated from the seat of shirk (polytheism) to the trough of tawheed (oneness of Allah); they migrated from the city of disobedience of Allah to the citadel of submission to the Will of Allah; they migrated from the rule of men and their desires to the rule of Allah and His Shareeah, they migrated from the confines of kufr to the freedom of Islam.

So, Umar (RA) used this significant event to' mark the starting point of the Islamic dating system in order to achieve two objectives: first is to ensure that the reasons for the hijrah are forever alive in the hearts of the believers and also to be different from the unbelievers. Thus the start of another Hijri year is not a time for celebration, rather it is a time for reflection; it is not a time for ceremonial march past, rather it is a time for marching forward with piety and reviewing the past with regret for the sins and inability to earn more rewards. True, the first month of the Hijri year Muharram is one of the four sacred months; yet the first day of the year (i. e. first of Muharram) has no special significance in the deen that Allah sent Muhammad (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) with.

Certainly, it is not a day for any of the various innovated prayers or the grand lectures! Note that celebrating the first day of a year is a practice of the Jews who celebrate the 'festival of Heesha' on the first day of Tishreen al-Awwal; of the pagan Persians and Copts who celebrate the first day as 'the Nawrooz'; and of the Xtians and their famous New Year's Day. Why would Muslims imitate. this company of unbelievers? So what do we do when we enter the new Hijri year? At the time of the hijrah of the Rasul (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam), Anas reported that there were two days in which the people of Madinah used to play during the time of ignorance.

The Prophet (sallallahualayhi wa sal/am) told them:

"You have two days in which you used to play. but AIlah has replaced them with something better than them: the Festival of Sacrifice ('Eedul-Ad-Haa) and the Festival of Breaking the Fast ('Eedul-Fitr)" (an-Nasaa'ee).

The scholars explained that this hadeeth is evidence for the prohibition of all other annual celebrations; whether religious (such as Maulid Nabbiyy, Hijrah, lsraa wa Mir'aaj, Nisfu-Sha'aban etc) or irreligious (New Year's Day, April Fools Day, Mothers' Day, birthdays and even National Days). Rasulullah(sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) said:

"The best hijrah (emigrant) is the one who emigrates from what AIlah has prohibited. And the best jihad is that of one who strives against his own desires for the sake of AIlah, Most Great and Glorious." (Bukhari).

He also distinguished the month of Muharram in the following manner:

"The best fast after Ramadan is (in) the month you call Muharram" (Muslim).

He himself observed fasting on the day of 'Ashura' (10 Muharram)and commanded us to fast on this day then in his last year; he said;

"If I remain alive till the next year, I shall also observe fast on the ninth of Muharram" (Muslim).

And what reward is there for this fast? The Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) replied:

"It is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year" (Muslim).

Thus, the real sunnatic way to start the year is to resolve to move AWAY FROM EVERYTHING that Allah has prohibited, steer clear of those things that he called doubtful and hasten to do only those which are permissible. Especially, take to fasting; for there is nothing like it! As each day passes and brings us closer to Allah, always make your today better than yesterday. Remember the saying of the Prophet (sallalahu alayhi wa sallam) that:

"He whose two days are equal (in accomplishment) then he is a sure loser" (ad-Daylami)

"But rather by the disappearance of the scholars" So this contains a tremendous benefit, which is that goodness remaining in the ummah is dependant upon the existence of scholars.

Indeed, goodness is not connected to the rulers, rather it is connected to the correct understanding of the religion remaining with the people. Thus, as long as the scholars remain, then goodness will continue to be present in the ummah. However, when the scholars go, then goodness will also disappear from the ummah! Alas the scholars are disappearing from the ummah! In the past year 1420 AH, the ummah lost over twenty-five sound scholars including the best muhaddith (scholar of hadeeth) of this era (Shaykh Muhammad Nasir-ud-deen AI-Albani), one of the best mujtahid (jurisprudent) of this era (Shaykh Abdul Azeez Bin Baz) and Shaykh Sayyid Sabiq, the author of the popular Fiqh-us-Sunnah! May Allah have mercy on all of them. (Amin)

As the years roll into one another, let the believers take heed! Indeed, the end of the world is fast approaching!! The Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) mentioned some signs of the Last Hour, amongst which he said:

"Knowledge will be lifted and ignorance will become Widespread" (Bukhari)

How?! He further explained in another hadith saying:

"Indeed Allah does not snatch away the knowledge, but He takes it away by the passing away of the scholars. Such that when no scholar remains, the people take ignorant ones as their leaders. They are asked and give verdicts without knowledge. Thus, they misguide themselves and misguide others" (Muslim)

Now, isn't it obvious to the discerning that the world is nearing its end?!

This article was culled from the publications of Deen Communication Limited

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