As the Islamic year 1440AH closes today or tomorrow depending on when the crescent for the Islamic lunar month of Muharram is sighted, the Muslim world is set to observe the beginning of another year, the 1441th After Hijrah (AH). The Hijrah, which refers to the migration of Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah, took place in 622CE.
To use the language of geographers, we are completing another round of revolution of the earth. Many who care to observe would admit that one complete year is now bygone as if it were few weeks or months. This amounts to a reduction of 365 days from our life span in this world. In principle, the loss of twelve months from our life on earth invariably means a reduction in those things ordained by our creator to happen on our pathway to destiny. It means the number of months, weeks, days, hours, minutes and seconds left for us to worship Allah (SWT) and search for things which the eyes of man covet including wealth, power, children, comfort and influence have all decreased. Surprisingly, most of us are tricked by the devil to ignore this truth.
So many things, good and bad, have happened in the past twelve months. Some of those who saw the beginning of 1440AH are not here today to see its end. We give gratitude to Allah (SWT) that we are alive and healthy even though being healthy may be relative to some of us. As a country, we are thankful to Allah (SWT) who, among other favours, has provided us with a blessed raining season. This is after He made it possible for us to have peaceful general elections in spite of attempts by some unpatriotic citizens to manipulate the elections to destabilize the country. In the end, Nigeria and not any individual or political party won. The non-resurgence of long queues at petrol stations is another relief Nigerians enjoyed in the exiting year.
Of course, there are moments, events and issues that were unpleasant to us as individuals, communities or nations. Most people naturally find it easier to recall unfavourable issues; pushing the remembrance of Allah (SWT)’s mercy and favours to the sub-conscious. Some of us lost close family members. As a nation, the horrible and nightmarish incidence of kidnapping that is still ravaging the country especially states in the northern part of country was one of the most critical security challenges that dominated public space in the past one year. 1440AH shall remain most indelible not only on the minds of the people of Zamfara and Katsina states but may similarly remain so in the records of some security agencies. With dismay, the same year witnessed how corruption continued to remain active in the public sector of our economy in spite of the ‘all-out’ fight against it. The carrying over of the battle against insurgency into 1441AH isn’t an encouraging scenario. However, I exhort us to perseveringly persist in our prayers for Allah’s intervention in all our individual and collective challenges.
The beginning of a new year in Islam is a time for believers to renew their efforts at striving to defeat their cursed enemy, Satan, so that life after death and not the mundane life of this world shall, as a matter of priority, become their ultimate target. Let us seize the beginning of another year in our lifetime as an opportunity to assess ourselves before the time for the final assessment of our ‘Books of Deeds’ takes us by surprise. Final assessment starts from the time we pass on. Let us create some moments as we enter into the New Islamic Year to ponder and muse over our relationship with our Creator, Allah (SWT).
Let our deep thoughts lead us to realize that now, and not any time later, is the time we have to prepare for the eternal life that awaits every mortal after death. Now is the time to choose to be virtuous by obediently remaining on the path of guidance. Now is the time to worship Allah (SWT) and engage in righteous deeds as taught by the Qur’an and Sunnah (traditions) of the Prophet (SAW). Now is the time to repent from our sinful acts. Now is the time to seek forgiveness of our transgressions and shortcomings from Allah (SWT). As part of Allah’s mercy for believers, the time called ‘Now’ is one precious respite we enjoy on earth even though many fail to appreciate it. After death, the respite for repenting from sins; for asking for forgiveness; and for doing good deeds would have expired. ‘Procrastination’, they say, ‘is a thief of time’s.
We find it necessary to bring to your knowledge Zakat figures worked out for the year 1441AH. This is because the beginning of a new Hijrah Year incidentally marks the beginning of a new fiscal year in Islam. According to latest figures published by the Society for the Propagation of Islam, the minimum taxable amount of money (Nisab) upon which 2.5 percent is payable as Zakkat in 1441AH is put at N1, 048,756.41k only, which is the current value of 20 pieces of dinar (gold). Minimum Sadaq (dowry) which is the naira value of a quarter of dinar payable before a marriage can be contracted is N13, 124.81k only. The same amount (N13, 124.81k only) is the least value of a property which theft can attract Haddi (amputation of hand).
Based on the current cost of dinar, compensation for manslaughter called Diyyah in Islamic literature, which should be the naira value of one thousand pieces of dinar stands at N52, 437, 206.37k only for the year 1441AH. Nonetheless, the actual amount applicable for Nisab, Diyyah, minimum Sadaq and Haddi shall have to be verified whenever the need for such payments arises because of fluctuations that are relative to the price of dinar and the exchange rate of the Naira to other currencies. Owing to these two variables, for instance, the Nisab for the New Year 1441AH is less than that of 1440AH with a difference of about N26, 316.00k.
As a sustained tradition of this column, the start of a New Year in the Muslim world is, again, another time for believers to check whether their al-Kafan (the white sheet for shrouding the dead) is still intact or may require to be replaced. For those who have not provided themselves with one, it is time to do so. The knowledge of the time, place and circumstance of death remains unknown to every living being. May Allah (SWT) make good our end and grant us a blissful life in the heavenly Garden, amin. Happy New Hijrah Year!
Delayed return of some pilgrims from Hajj:
There appears to be unpublicized delay in the return of some pilgrims from this year’s hajj. Seventeen days after the completion of hajj rites, majority of pilgrims from the FCT, for instance, are yet to know the schedule of their flights. It was reported in the media that Flynas airline had two weeks ago petitioned the Presidency over NAHCON’s alleged failure to honour its contractual agreement. What’s happening at NAHCON?