The Muslims have a great reset button called taubat, they should reach for it this Awal Muharram
Today marks 1,440 years since our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) undertook the migration or hijrah from Makkah to Medina. Awal Muharram, the first day of the Muslim calendar, is a time for reflection, rumination and a chance to reset our way of life on this planet to be fit enough for our final journey home to the hereafter, very appropriately termed, Jalan Pulang (The Return Journey) in our national language.
Muslims around the world are facing many challenges. Syria is being rained by bombs made in Russia and the United States, with civilians facing the brunt of the attack. Ordinary Yemenis too are being maimed and murdered by weapons of mass destruction made in Britain. Add to this the misery of the Palestinians that began with the Balfour Declaration of 1917. As if this is not enough, US President Donald Trump has cut all aid to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, putting food and medical care out of reach of poor and ailing Palestinians living under Israeli occupation. Nearer home, the Rohingya are being ethnically cleansed by the Buddhist regime of Myanmar. The picture is dark and dismal too elsewhere. Of course, the Muslims are not the only victims. In the 1960s, a British group called The Marmalades sang about the world being “a bad place, a terrible place to live in” in their song Reflections of My Life. It is a melancholic rendition of “sorrows” followed by “sad tomorrows,” not unlike the afflictions facing the modern world. The Marmalades’s way of seeing is one way of looking at life, and a wrong one, at that. Happiness is not accidental. It is caused by our actions. For every action, there is bound to be a reaction.
It is for this reason that world leaders and international organisations such as the United Nations must act responsibly. They must discard their dark age practice of “divide and rule”. Great games are too medieval. “Othering” is not cool anymore. The planet was created for us all, of various hues, shapes and sizes. And for all life forms, too. Everything has its place. We tend to forget this sometimes, in our selfish pursuit of success, all for ourselves. The Muslims have a great reset button called taubat, a device to seek forgiveness from Allah through repentance. Awal Muharam is a good time for us to click the reset button and refresh our way of life for the better. We hope the world leaders, too, would reach for the refresh buttons to make this world a good place, a great place for all living things.
Malaysia is a blessed land. We have been spared major calamities, natural and man-made. We must do everything within our means to ensure it remains so. Some imams, when they are about to lead the prayers, advise the congregation to pray as if it is the last prayer so that it will give its all to Allah. Likewise, let us give our all to make this Muharam the best ever, God willing. Salam Maal Hijrah.