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Points to ponder on New Year

Points to ponder on New Year
In the Name of God, the All-Merciful, the All-Compassionate.

Today is the 1st of January, a day celebrated as New Year in the West and in countries following the culture of their former colonial masters. Of course, January 1 is not the New Year of the Muslims. Neither has it any significance for any other religion anywhere in the world, such as Judaism, Taoism, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Animism, and even Christianity. In other words, none of the religious texts of the said creeds or their principle figures, including Prophet Jesus, have said anything about the 1st of January, which decades before his birth was made the first day of the Roman calendar in 45 BC by Julius Caesar, in honour of the pagan deity of “beginnings and transitions”, Janus. However, since most Christians have somehow succumbed to this myth and wrongly associated the Son of the Virgin Mary with this dubious day, let us take the opportunity to cast a glance at the impeccable status of the Messiah in Islamic teachings, irrespective of the fact that since last night wild celebrations are underway in most of the world, with the oldest sins being committed in the newest ways, in the most un-Christian manner! These depravities, coupled with the diabolical policies of the revelers in the White House and their accomplices in the Old World, who relish lies, threats, sanctions, torture, wars, bloodshed, occupation, usurpation, state terrorism, ethno-religious discrimination, nuclear weapons proliferation, economic exploitation, and the resulting family disintegration, spread of narcotics, promiscuity, sodomy, blasphemy, and every conceivable crime against humanity, warrant us to open our eyes to the realities that Jesus preached.

The occurrence of the 9th of Rabi al-Awwal this day, which happens to be the first day of the imamate of the Lord of the Age, the Awaited Saviour of mankind, Imam Mahdi (may God hasten his reappearance) affords us the opportunity to unravel so many facts and realities that might have remained buried, if not for the blessings for humanity of the Household of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Jesus, as confirmed by several Hadith, will reappear in the end times to serve as lieutenant to the Last of the 12 Infallible Heirs of the Prophet of Islam, Imam Mahdi (AS) and his government of global peace and justice. Jesus (AS) will discard many of the pagan customs that have been falsely attributed to him by the Europeans, including Christmas and the Roman New Year.

There is a peculiarly close relation between Prophet Jesus and Imam Ali (AS), the vicegerent of Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). The Imam says: "The Messenger of Allah called me and said, “O Ali! Verily, there is a similarity between you and Jesus the son of Mary. The Christians love him so much that they put him in a position that was not for him; and the Jews hate him so much that they even slandered his mother.”

Imam Ali has said: Two groups will be ruined because of me; he who goes to extremes in love of me for what I do not have and he who hates me with a hatred that makes him slander me. In addition, Imam Ali (AS), like Prophet Mohammad (SAWA), is reported to have referred to Jesus as "my brother Jesus". Both Jesus and Imam Ali (AS) are the charismatic standard bearers for the esoteric dimension of religion, both were rejected by those who interpreted religion in a narrowly legalistic fashion, and both were deified by extremists among their would-be supporters.

Those who would restrict religion to its outward expressions open the way to the exploitation of religion for worldly gain, because it is the spiritual dimension of religion that supports the kind of heartfelt dedication needed for the nourishment of moral fibre. This is a theme that figures prominently in the Christian gospels, particularly in the Messiah's condemnation of the scholars of Jewish law, the Pharisees, and it recurs in the conflict between Imam Ali ('a) and his opponents. Both Jesus and Imam Ali (AS) enjoin the proper observance of religious law while they reject empty literalism and the immorality it fosters. The condemnation of the misuse of religious knowledge for worldly gain is condemned by Imam Ali (AS) when he mentions how it was condemned by Jesus:

It is reported that the Commander of the Faithful said, "Jesus the son of Mary said, 'The dinar is the illness of religion, and the scholar (alim) is the physician of religion. So if you see that the physician brings illness upon himself, distrust him, and know that he is not to advise others."


Another prominent feature of the esoteric dimension of religion is the emphasis on supererogatory devotions. The importance of spiritual discipline is emphasized by Imam Ali (AS) when he describes the austerities of Jesus: In Sermon 158 of the book Nahj al-Balagha, Imam Ali (AS) has said: "If you like, I will tell you about Jesus the son of Mary. He used a stone as his pillow, wore coarse clothing and ate rough food. His stew was hunger and his lamp in the night was the moon. His shade in the winter was the east of the earth and its west. His fruit and his basil were what grows from the earth for the cattle. He had no wife to try him, and no son to grieve him. He had no wealth to distract him, nor greed to abase him. He had no mount to ride but his feet, and none were his servants but his own two hands."

In Islamic texts, such as Sheikh Kulayni’s al-Kafi, there are several hadith pertaining to what God had revealed in the Evangel to Prophet Jesus, including the advent of the Last and Greatest Messenger, Prophet Mohammad (SAWA). Here are some passages:

“(God said) Thus I charge you, O son of Mary, that you bring news to the Children of Israel of the Master of the messengers and My beloved, who is Ahmad, having a red camel and a face like the moon, who is a shining light, a pure heart, courageous, venerably modest. Verily, he is a mercy to the worlds, and master of the children of Adam on the day of his meeting Me, the most honored of the foremost, and the Last of the Messengers from Me, an Arab, a trustworthy person, one committed to My religion, one patient for My sake and one who struggles by his hand against the idolaters for the defense of My religion. Order them to affirm him, believe in him, follow him and help him.

Jesus said: Who is it that I should please?

“He (God) said: He is Mohammad the Messenger of Allah to the people, all of them. In station, he is nearer to Me than they; in intercession, he is more ready than they; blessed be he as Prophet, and blessed be his community (ummah) if they meet Me on his path. The inhabitants of the earth praise him, and the inhabitants of the heavens ask for his forgiveness. He is the trustworthy, the blessed, the wholesome and salutary, better than others with Me.”

These are wonderful thoughts to ponder upon for our Christian friends on the occasion of January 1, instead of indulging in frivolities that are against the teachings of Jesus.