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January 5, 2011

My New Year resolution

Prof. Dr. Mohamed Elmasry

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On December 7, 2010 Muslims marked a new Islamic year, the year 1432 A.H. and the world marked a new 2011 year last Saturday. It is not a tradition among Muslims to make a New Year resolution. But the practice does not do any harm, and it can do a lot of good.

Muslims are told by the Prophet that the value of every deed in the eyes of God is according to the intention behind them (anima-all-amal-bel-niat).

And in the same Hadith he says that every migration (or a major change in your life you make) is valued by the cause behind it. Thus the higher the intention and the cause behind an action the higher the value of that action in the eyes of God Almighty, resulting in higher divine reward in this life and in the hereafter.

Take for example every day acts of say eating, making a living, going to school, taking care of loved ones, etc. If the same act is done with a higher level of purpose like fulfilling God’s covenant of caring for His universe, then the value is higher.

If my aim in life is only to be rich period, then I could be rich if God wills. But if my aim is to be rich in order to help others in addition to myself and my family, then some universal value has been added to my effort, if God wills.

I came to Canada to pursue my graduate studies for a doctor degree. I had then no intention to contribute to the wellbeing of the country. Even when I decided to stay in Canada and not to accept lucrative job offers from the U.S., I think I have done it for personal reasons, my wife is a Canadian born.

But now with my white hear and feeble bones I know better.

I will back every deed of my life with a grand intention, after deep refection and meditation. And this is my new Islamic year resolution.

The Islamic year dates back to the day the Prophet and his companions migrated from Mecca to Medina. The Islamic lunar calendar is called Hijri or Hegirian, from the word Hijra (migration).

The migration was not done for economic reasons, but to be free to worship the One God, the Creator of all.

The beginning of the Islamic era was taken as July 16, 622 A.D. based on the first day of Hijra. Early Muslims have chosen the Hijra day, not the Prophet birthday to mark the first day of their calendar. This is to signify the events before and after the Hijra.

The Prophet was called for Prophet hood, the beginning of the Divine revelation, in June 610 in Mecca. And for about 12 years the Prophet and the early Muslims were heavily prosecuted by their fellow citizens of Mecca.

During the first year A.H. (After Hijra) the Prophet established in Medina an Islamic fellowship as a new social order. He also built the first mosque as a place of worship, a University, a social center, a governing house and a court of law.

The Hijra also signifies the creation of the first multireligious world order.

The first written constitution in human history was the Covenant of Medina. And a new concept of the Ummah was born; a Universalist commonwealth based on faith, moral justice, family values, equity, social responsibility, peace, freedom and human dignity.

I wish everyone everywhere a happy new year.

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