By: Dr. Bilal Philips
January is named after Janus, the Roman god of doors and gateways. He was commonly depicted in statues, carvings and paintings as a two headed man with one head facing forward and the other head facing backwards. In 46BC Julius Caesar chose January 1st as the first day of the New Year as Janus symbolically represented the door to the New Year. Wild parties and orgies were held on the night before the New Year’s Day as a re-enactment of the chaos which Roman mythology depicted as preceding the cosmos or the ordered world whose organization was set by the gods. Furthermore, by that time, Janus had become, in practice, the highest god receiving the ritual sacrifices of Roman worshippers before the other gods, including the chief god, Jupiter.
Thus, in its essence the celebrations of the New Year on January 1stand New Year’s Eve, the night before, are a part and parcel of pagan religious rituals based on idolatrous beliefs in false gods. Consequently, it is completely Haraam (sinful and forbidden) for Muslims to participate in or adopt any of its related rituals, customs and symbols.
If a non-Muslim greets a Muslim, “Happy New Year”, the Muslim is not allowed to respond in a similar manner or say, “Same to you.” Instead, in order not to offend or hurt the feelings of non-Muslim friends or acquaintances, one may say instead, “Happy holiday.”
As for celebrating the New Year according to the Islamic calendar which begins with the month of Muharram, this is also not permissible from a number of perspectives. First and foremost, if one does so believing that it is pleasing to Allah to do so, thereby transforming it into an act of worship, it becomes a Bid‘ah or cursed innovation in the religion about which the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Every innovation in religion is misguidance and all misguidance leads to the Hellfire.” If one does so merely as a custom, it is still impermissible as it falls under the prohibition of imitation of pagan customs about which the Prophet (pbuh) said, “Whoever imitates a people becomes one of them.”
 Pope Gregory 13th who set the modern calendar, the Gregorian calendar, also officially fixed the first day of the year for ChristianEurope as January 1st in 1582.
By: Mufti Taqi Usmani
Zulhijjah is the last month of the Islamic calendar. Literally, it means ” the possessor of hajj.” Obviously, this name of the month indicates that the great annual worship of “hajj” is performed in this month, which gives it special significance. Some specific merits and rules relevant to this month are mentioned below:
By: Siraaj Muhammad
When reading about the problems Muslim families face we notice that some are general to the culture in which they live, while others are specific to Muslims or predominantly Muslim cultures. Attempts to resolve them usually involve learning Prophetic family best practices as well as educating ourselves about gender and child specific communication techniques via seminars, books, and articles.
1. As per the Solar calendar, every year the months fall in the same respective seasons of that location. For example, the months of March, April and May in India will always have summer, while July, August, September will always have monsoons i.e. rains in western India. November, December and January will always have winter.
2. In the lunar calendar in different years the months fall in a different season.
The lunar calendar has about 11 days less than the solar calendar. Thus, every year, the month of the lunar calendar occurs 11 days prior to what it had occurred in the previous solar year. Thus, in a span of about 33 lunar years a human being will experience all the different seasons for one particular month of the lunar calendar. This is very important because the yearly activities of a Muslim are based on the lunar calendar. Certain months like Ramadhan and Hajj are very important to the Muslims. During Ramadhan a Muslim has to fast which includes abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. If the Islamic months were based on the solar calendar where the seasons were fixed, then people living in certain parts of the world would have Ramadhan in summer while in other parts of the world it would be winter. Some Muslims would have to fast for a longer period of time where the days are long while other Muslims would have to fast for shorter period of time where the days are short. If the seasons did not change, then Muslims living in some parts of the world may feel that they are at a disadvantage throughout their lives.
By following the lunar calendar, every Muslim has a taste of fasting in different seasons and for a different time period, in a span of about 33 years of his life.
By: Aneesah Satriya
We all know that the beautiful month of Ramadan is essentially about generosity, nobility, developing oneself and being more compassionate towards others. In addition to internalizing those meanings, we need to act upon them as well.
Accordingly, we at ProductiveMuslim developed a to-do list that you can use this Ramadan. The purpose is to help you organize yourselves and your time in Ramadan.
The to-do list has regular daily acts, as well as, a recommended special act to explore every day.
You can check the task that you have fulfilled every day and highlight the ones you still want to explore. This might help some of us avoid having wasted time in Ramadan or not knowing what to do with the extra time.
Please feel free to share and/or develop the list as per your needs and circumstances. Also please remember that Ramadan is not about being overwhelmed. Rather it’s about ease and mercy, and as Prophet Muhammad taught us, “the act most pleasing to Allah is that which is done continuously, even if it is small.”