Tomorrow will be a public holiday for all to enjoy regardless of creed, religion or occupation (but of course this doesn’t apply to all unfortunately), because tomorrow is Awwal Muharram or the beginning of the Islamic New Year. I bet you can already guess from the topic chosen above what will I write here. Yes, it is about the Malaysian Muslims ‘fondness’ to recite the End Year / New Year Du’a.
Before I go on, I like to make it clear that I am neither an expert in Hadiths or Shariah matters nor do I have a solid Islamic foundation to comment on such issues. Nor it is my intention to stir up frivolous matters or nitpick on things that are best be left alone. It is just EPI’s community service to bring forth some insights that should provide a better understanding to such long standing ‘faiths’ amongst fellow Muslims in Malaysia. After that, whether one chose to accept, rebut or denounce is entirely up to himself or herself.
That being said, I proceed on to state that on this occasion (Awwal Muharram that is), emails, sms and blog postings alike will be filled with reminders / articles that may seem innocent enough for Muslims to recite the special du’a as the old year bodes farewell and the new year ushered in. It seems that one particular Hadith that was narrated by Ibnu Abbas r.a. pertaining to this du’a to those who recite it on Awwal Muharram, continues to circulate after all these years.
Said sayings are as follows (in Malay) :
Ibnu Abbas berkata: “Siapa yang membaca doa ini pada 1 Muharam, Allah mewakilkan dua malikat memeliharanya pada tahun itu”.
Then together with this, the following ‘fadhilah’ of the du’a usually accompanies it :
Selepas doa(awal tahun) dibaca, berkatalah syaitan, “Kesusahan bagiku dan sia-sialah pekerjaanku mengoda anak Adam pada setahun ini dan Allah binasakan aku satu saat jua. Dengan sebab membaca doa itu, Allah mengampunkannya setahun”. Selepas dibaca doa akhir tahun, syaitan berkata, “Telah amanahlah anak Adam ini daripada godaanku pada tahun ini kerana Allah mewakilkan dua Malaikat memeliharanya daripada fitnah syaitan”.
Bacalah doa awal tahun berikut sebanyak tiga kali pada akhir waktu Asar atau sebelum masuk waktu Maghrib pada hari terakhir bulan Zulhijah. Bacalah doa akhir tahun sebanyak tiga kali selepas waktu Maghrib pada malam 1 Muharam.
Now the following are the meanings for the two du’as as contained in the so-called Hadiths in Malay :
On many a website that has conducted research on the Hadith came up empty and couldn’t thus verified it. These websites have lifted authoritative tomes of Hadiths and knowledge but to no avail. It is then without a doubt that this so-called hadith is actually a lie upon the Holy Prophet p.b.u.h. and Ibnu Abbas r.a. For the layperson such as I, the mere mentioning of the extremely powerful after effects of reciting this du’a quickly blew away this lie of its disguise. It is a common fault among false hadiths to put forth enormous bounty and fadhilat in doing some act.
As is the case with the tarawikh prayers where overzealous ‘narrators’ of hadiths put out too huge a reward in performing the nightly sunat prayers. But of course, this is not to say that by practising this ritual would band someone as committing bida’ah. Reciting du’as whether it is from the Quran, Prophet or his Sahabah and even if we make it ourselves is sunnah and already ordained in the Qur’an. It is considered as ‘ibadah and entails bounty in the hereafter. The only thing that bothers me is that fellow Muslims seems to believe in such recitation of the Awwal Muharram du’a entails some sort of benefits AS ATTESTED BY THE HOLY PROPHET HIMSELF.
Now this is a grave sin I’ll say. If one would like to read this du’a, please do so as it is ‘ibadah and sanctioned clearly in the Quran and Hadiths. But please do be careful and not fall into the traps of thinking this du’a came from the Prophet. The truth is that in the time of ‘Umar r.a. did the Hijri calendar was properly framed and the new year was proclaimed beginning every month of Muharram. Hence, the Prophet couldn’t be associated with such sayings since in his time, as the new year was not specifically identified by him.
If you would like to recite this du’a then please do it in the spirit of hope and fear of Allah that the coming new year would bring about good fortune for us in this life and the hereafter. Don’t try to associate it as being a ‘specialized’ du’a for Awwal Muharram. Like attending an interview where one would recite various verses from the Qur’an, Hadiths or even pray in Malay. There is no hadith here saying “when one is at the front of the interview door, then ask aloud to the Almighty this and that” isn’t it? So your niat here is similarly important too.
Now before some wise aleck leave a crack comment here, please know that, yes indeed, what is the fuss about? The fuss other that the two key points above, is that in Islam, there are a lot more rituals that are clearly enjoined and enshrined in Islam but not performed by most of us Muslims. Hence, this calls for a sharp slap on the forehead. Why would we go on doing something that is neither sanctioned nor have clear benefits if the ones which are clearly so are being blatantly disregarded? This is the crux of my argument. Of course, my argument is very lay and skin-deep as I didn’t actually want to delve in absolute details as I lack the necessary knowledge.
If we go by the argument that this is for Muslim unity, than by all means do so but please make it clear on its sources and origins. Even better, if the unity of the Ummah is of paramount concern here, then we all should give another slap on the forehead for not committing ourselves truly to the performance of congregational prayers? This is not only effective but also truly demanded in Islam. So hopefully see my argument here. The point is, if so you want to do or not something, please do it with verifiable knowledge as it is not only better but also a clear sign of a person using his intellect.
I refer to the following websites in this piece with some common sense and knowledge I gained a long time ago: