Today Muslim in Malaysia celebrates the New Year, Hijrah 1431.
In the old days it's simply called "Awal Muharam" (beginning of Muharam, the first month in the Islamic calendar) but later the experts decided it should be "Maal Hijrah", Arabic connotation to denote the beginning of the Islamic calendar in conjunction with the move of Prophet Muhammad SAW from Mekah to Madinah, in the Gregorian year 622 AD. The significant of the shift being safety and defensive measures for the better which Muslims are encouraged to emulate.
When it was decided to change the name in Malaysia, we in RTM has quite a time explaining and convincing the viewers and listeners. By and by "Maal Hijrah" it was, but die hard like yours truly who was brought up with "Awal Muharam" finds it difficult to "hijrah". When we had to do the job we were tasked there was no slip up. Today in my retirement days it is "Awal Muharam" for me.
To welcome the New Year, Surau al-Ikhlas Jalan SS 19/1 Subang Jaya as usual had a special programme last night. The evening started with a short talk by Ustaz Shukri, the Imam of Darul Ehsan Mosque (across the road from Subang Parade) on the significant of "hijrah" prior to the Maghrib prayer. Muslim throughout the world started the day with this prayer, meaning it is the first of the new year. We had a full force congregation for the occasion, including the ladies.
The Maghrib was followed with reciting of the "Yassin" (the chapter considered as the heart of the Holy Quraan), the "Doa" (prayer led by the imam) and continuation of talk by Ustaz Shukri before the "Isya" prayer followed by "Sembahyang hajat" requesting Allah's blessing for a good cause. Of course the night ended with a sumptuous "makan" (snack) prepared by the ladies.
By nature I am not that pious per say and my religious conviction is plain and basic, but the occasion merit support to encourage the young of the community and the wayward to avoid unwarranted activities threatening the peace of mind of parents and elders.
I forgo my favourite pastime, potato couching watching football in front of TV. It was special, the football final of the SEA Games in Vientiane, Laos between Malaysia "Harimau" (Tiger, the youth team) and the favourite Vietnam. Vietnam was the victor in their meeting in the earlier group match, therefore expected to make mince meat of the Tiger. I manage to watch the first half of the final. My verdict: Malaysia played second fiddle to a confident Viet's XI and deserve to loss. When I came home, to my surprise, I was told Malaysia manages to regain the title and the much sought after gold medal with a solitary goal toward the end of the match. At last after a long and painful hiatus. The expert in my house said "Macam makan suap aje". Just figure out what that mean but the literal translation is "spoon fed". In short, I didn't miss out on anything.
The significant of this win I consider is a message from the Almighty that Malaysian football need a change in line with the spirit of "hijrah".