What is the Pagan Roman New Year?
By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"We have figured everything in the Manifest Imam.” (Holy Qur’an 36:12)
The words of God are true. The Imam or the Divinely-Decreed Leader ought to be the manifestation of God’s authority on earth, in order to help people sift truth from falsehood, and this includes establishing in societies morally upright practices and behaviours.
In other words, it is the proper cognition of the Imam that prevents human societies from indulging in pagan customs and the freewheeling manners of the era of Ignorance.
No wonder, a famous hadith from Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) says: "Whoever dies without having cognizance of the Imam of the times, dies the death of ignorance.”
Today, the 9th of Rabi al-Awwal opens to us clear and unambiguous vistas of knowing the Imam of the Age, since on this day commenced the imamate of the Awaited Saviour of mankind, exactly 1176 lunar years ago. The day affords us the opportunity to unravel so many facts and realities that might have remained buried, if not for the blessings of the Prophet’s Household on humanity.
On a day when people in the West and other depraved cultures (including many misled elements amongst those who claim to be Muslims), are committing the oldest sins in the newest possible ways on the pretext of ushering in the New Year of the Gregorian Calendar that has nothing to do with Christianity, let alone the monotheistic teachings of Prophet Jesus (AS), we the adherents of the path of Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) Immaculate Ahl al-Bayt, feel grateful to God to be proud possessors of the untainted legacy of the Virgin-born Messiah.
As a matter of fact, Jesus (AS) and the versions of the Gospels in circulation amongst the Christians do not mention anything about January – a month named after Janus, the pagan Roman deity of ‘beginnings and transitions’.
On the contrary Jesus speaks clearly of the Great Prophet to come after him and confirms his mission. The Gospels of Barnabas and John have preserved to varying degrees the prophecy of Jesus about Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), whom he calls "Hmda” (Most Praiseworthy) in Hebrew – the "Ahmad” mentioned in ayah 6 of Surah Saff of the holy Qur’an.
This means Jesus was also informed by God of the 12 Infallible Heirs of the Seal of Prophethood, including the Last of them, because the Messiah, as confirmed by several Hadith, is to reappear in the end times to serve as lieutenant to the Last of them – Imam Mahdi (AS) and his government of global peace and justice.
Prophet Jesus on his reappearance will announce that he was neither a godson, nor was he crucified. He would also say that he did not allow his followers to abrogate the Law of Moses and to eat the pork. 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.
Here is an important narration from Prophet Muhammad’s (SAWA) loyal companion, Jaber ibn Abdullah al-Ansari, who quotes the Messenger of Allah as saying: "Then will come down Jesus, son of Mary: the Imam (Mahdi) of the Muslims will request him to come forward and lead the prayers, but he will say, No, you are the Leaders of one another, because of the honour given by Allah to this Ummah".
Interestingly this hadith has been mentioned in the books of our Sunni brethren as well that Imam Mahdi (AS) will lead the prayer and Jesus will pray behind him.
I have no intention in detailing the fixing of January 1 as the New Year in 45 BC by the pagan ruler, Julius Caesar, who ordered the change of the Roman calendar from the spring of March to the gloom of winter, not on the basis of any prophecy of the birth of Jesus, but in order to celebrate one of his bloody military victories in a part of central Europe that had resulted in human misery such as massacre of men, rape and enslavement of women, orphaning of children and destruction of homes and hearths.
On conversion to Paul’s version of Christianity, Europe shelved the celebration of January I as the New Year. It was only from the 16th century onwards that the emerging secular European nation-states gradually reverted to the pagan Roman custom of changing the date of their New Years from March or September to January I. Britain and its colonies adopted it in 1752, and Greece did it as late as in 1923.
Unfortunately, this imperialist calendar has been imposed on Muslim countries and the rest of the world over the past century as part of the plot of Global Arrogance to alienate them from Islamic values and culture.
As for the 9th of Rabi al-Awwal, there is another important reason we celebrate it with rejoicings. It happens to be the day when the chief perpetrator of the heartrending tragedy of Karbala, Omar ibne Sa’ad was brought to justice and executed for his unpardonable terrorist crime of shedding the innocent blood of Imam Husain (AS).
Thus, this blessed day, whether or not it coincides with the 1st of January, enables us to renew our allegiance to the ideals of the Prophet’s Ahl al-Bayt, the same ideals for which Jesus strove, and will again strive after reappearance while assisting Imam Mahdi (AS) to root out oppression, corruption, and terrorism, through establishment of the global government of peace, prosperity and justice.
Hopefully, the Year 2015 – whatever its origins – will be a step towards this cherished goal.
Congratulations on a Blessed Day and Happy Wishes for 2015