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Historicity of the Month of Muharram

I know that you know this- that today is 21st of Muharram, 1441 A.H. I know that you know this- that this month marked the beginning…

I know that you know this- that today is 21st of Muharram, 1441 A.H. I know that you know this- that this month marked the beginning of the Islamic calendar and that it was introduced by the second khaliph, Umar bn al-Khattab.

But apart from all those things that we know, there are some other things we should keep ‘knowing’ – that it was in this month of Muharram that Mariyah, mother of Ibrahim, the Prophet’s (s.aw) wife died; that it was in this month that the Prophet went to war in Khaybar in order to defend Islam; that it was in this month that the Prophet completed his marital rites to Safiyyah bint Huyay ibn Akhtab.

Among those events of great historical importance which took place in this month, so says tradition, was the victory granted to Prophet Musa (a.s) over the impunity and impudence of Fir’awn.

What a story that is to remember- the story of Prophet Musa whose mention in the Qur’an is so much that critics usually say- Kaada al-Quran an yakuna Musa (The Quran nearly became the book of Musa). Whereas Prophet Muhammad is mentioned by name only four times thought there are other references to him as the Prophet and the Messenger of the Almighty, Prophet Musa enjoys mention in about thirty chapters and nothing less than a hundred and twenty nine times.

What a story that is- the story of a mother (Prophet Musa’s) who found herself in a war in support of the Almighty. What a story that is- the story of a mother who had to surrender the care of her male child to the custody of his enemy. What a story it is- the story of a friend of the Almighty who had to be raised in the house of His enemy.

Exactly what other wonders are there apart from these from the Almighty. He it is who nurtures the way He likes and with whatever He desires. Prophet Musa could have been nurtured and raised in his mother’s house and still be commissioned into Prophecy. But that would have yielded no patrimony, ‘perquisite’ or aplomb.

He could have been nurtured and raised on the street and still enjoyed divine rescue; that would have been one of His ways- the unknowable ways of the Almighty. But He, the Almighty wanted to show Fir’awn that there could be no frustrating the Will of the Immaculate.

He was told, so says the story outside the Tanzil, that a young boy through whose mission his hegemony in Egypt shall come to an end would soon be born. He therefore instructed that all newly born male children should be killed. “Verily” so says the last testament, ‘Fir’awn exalted himself in the land and made its people sects, weakening (oppressing) a group (i.e. Children of Israel) among them, killing their sons, and letting their females live. Verily, he was of the Mufsidun (i.e. those who commit great sins and crimes, oppressors, tyrants, etc.). –Quran 29 verse 4. Such is the way of the powerful in power; the style of despots when they become unaware of the impermanent in their hands- they become oppressors and tyrannical; they impugn the sacred and invite the Almighty to a battle.

What a story that is- of the boy who would become a man and the man who would become the Prophet. Yes. You detest your enemy; you loathe her existence. But do you know that in her very existence probably lies your prosperity? Prophet Musa spent his youthful years as a prince in the house of the King; the king whose suzerainty of error and terror had been destined to an end sooner than he imagined in and through the hands of Prophet Musa (a.s).

Yes. We can never know the destiny of the child we have brought to the world. His mother never knew i.e Maryam the mother of prophet Isa (a.s), that her womb had just birthed the new ‘word’ in which sons and daughters of Israel would find solace and comfort.

You remember the story? Yes. How he eventually led the children of Israel to the shore of the sea. There stood Fir’awn, on his horse, seething with anger and hatred. Hatred for the choice of the Almighty; loathsomeness for what the Creator had preferred.

Rejoice in the blessings in the hands of the other because He who has granted it to the Other is capable of granting something better to you. Your refusal to stand with Him in His choice for you means your decision to stand outside His ‘canopy’.

No. Fir’awn wanted to destroy that which he could not create. He wanted to destroy the beloved of the Almighty. Thus in the month of Muharram, in the year not dated because it is simply undatable, the Almighty told Prophet Musa to beat the ocean with his stick. And the ocean split into two; mountain of water on the right, mountain of water to the left. And the instruction came- “O! Musa, journey in-between the waters in peace- not fearing peril”.

Yes. The stick did the miracle! No. Never. It was the Almighty in action; it was faith in the inestimable power of the Eternal that did miracle. The stick was nothing. It was like the sperm that got mixed with the egg that became this writer and that also became this reader. It is He alone, the Almighty who could do something from nothing; it is He alone who could build a skyscraper of unfathomable levels out of nothing that could do that. Ponder the heavens. Ponder your nature. It is one of the lessons that the month of Muharram is here to teach to us.


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