By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
“Ya Moqallab al-Qoloub wa’l-Absaar;
“Ya Modabber al-Layl wa’n-Nahaar;
“Ya Mohawwel al-Howl wa’l-Ahwaal;
“Hawwil Halana ila Ahsan il-Haal.”
Rendered into English the above passage means:
“O’ Transformer of Hearts and Eyes;
“O’ Regulator of Day and Night;
“O’ Rotator of Time and Situation;
“Change our state to the most excellent of Situation.”
This supplication will echo throughout the length and breadth of the Islamic Republic of Iran and beyond its geographical and political borders at 00:54:28 hours sharp local time a little past midnight (early hours of Tuesday March 21), as Iranians and all those peoples and nations of the region observing the solar hijri calendar, usher in the New Year 1402 (21:24:28 GMT Monday).
We felicitate our readers in advance on the auspicious coincidence of Nowruz or the Spring Equinox with the blessed fasting month of Ramadhan which starts this year two days later (probably Thursday) when the spiritual banquet is spread out by God Almighty for all believers.
Iran wishes peace and progress for all its neighbours, including those which traditionally celebrate Nowruz, such as the countries of the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Subcontinent, Turkey, Iraq, the Levant, and the Balkans.
The Spring Equinox and the celebrations of Nowruz, whatever the pre-historic past, is the handiwork of the One and Only Creator of the universe. It is for this very reason that the New Day of Spring is celebrated in the Islamic Republic as a manifestation of the Glory of God with prayers, especially the supplication for hastening of the reappearance of the Redeemer of mankind, Imam Mahdi (AS) and his global government of peace, prosperity, and justice.
Most of the faithful try to be present at the exact time of the start of the New Year in the holy shrines of the descendants of Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) that dot Iran, in Mashhad and Qom in particular.
The shrine of the Prophet’s 8th Infallible Heir, Imam Reza (AS) is all prepared to host some ten million pilgrims during the Nowruz holidays.
Interestingly, a hadith from Imam Reza (AS) reads that once on the advent of Ramadhan, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) delivered the following sermon:
“O People! The month of Allah has come with its mercies, blessings and forgiveness. Allah has decreed this month the best of all months; its days the best of all days, its nights the best of all nights and its hours the best of all hours. It is the month in which He has invited you (to fast and pray); He has honoured you in it. Every breath you take in it has the reward of tasbih (praise of Allah); your sleep is worship, your good deeds are accepted and your invocations answered. Therefore, you must invoke your Lord in right earnest with hearts that are free from sin and evil, and pray that Allah may help you to keep fasts, and to recite the Qur’an. Indeed, miserable is the one who is deprived of Allah’s forgiveness in this great month. While fasting, visualize the hunger and thirst of the Day of Judgement. Give alms to the poor and the needy. Pay respect to your elders, have sympathy for your youngsters and be kind towards your relatives and kinsmen. Guard your tongue against unworthy words; your eyes from scenes not worth seeing (forbidden sights); and your ears from sounds that should not be heard. Be kind to orphans so that if your children were to become orphans they will also be treated with kindness. Do repent to Allah for your sins and supplicate with raised hands at the times of prayers as these are the best of times, during which Almighty Allah Looks at His servants with mercy; Answers if they supplicate; Responds if they call; Grants if they ask; and Accepts if they entreat.
“O people! You have made your conscience the slave of your desires. Make it free, by invoking Him for forgiveness. Your back is breaking under the heavy load of your sins; so prostrate before Him for long intervals and make it lighter. Do understand fully well that Allah has promised in the Name of His Majesty and Honour that He will not take to task such people who perform the prayers and the prostrations, and that He will guard their bodies against the fire of hell on the Day of Judgement.
“O people! If anybody from amongst you arranges for the iftar (food for ending of fast after sunset) of any believers, then Allah will give the reward as if he/she had set free a slave, and He will forgive previous sins.”
When the audience asked: But everybody amongst us does not have the means to do so, the Prophet replied: “Keep yourself away from the fire of hell (by providing iftar), though it may consist of only half a date or even some water, if you have nothing else.”
The Prophet, in continuation of his sermon, said: “O people! Anybody who in this month cultivates good manners will walk over the siraat (the bridge leading to Paradise via the rim of hell) on the day when feet will tend to slip. Anybody who in this month may take light work from servants, Allah will make easy his/her accounting, and anybody who does not annoy others in it, Allah will keep him/her safe from His wrath on the Day of Judgement. Whoever respects and treats an orphan with kindness in it, Allah shall look at him/her with kindness on that Day. Anyone who treats well kinsfolk in it, Allah will bestow His Mercy on him/her on the Day of Judgement, while anybody who maltreats kinsfolk in it, Allah will deprive him/her of His Mercy. Whoever offers recommended prayers in it, Allah will save him/her from hell; and whoever observes in it obligatory acts of worship, the reward will be sevenfold for such acts compared to other months. Whoever repeatedly recites salawat (blessings) on me in it Allah will keep the scales of good deeds heavy (on Judgement Day) whilst the scales of others would be tending to lightness. In this month whoever recites an ayah of the Qur’an, the reward will be that of reciting the whole Qur’an in other months.
“O people! The gates of Paradise remain open in this month, do pray to your Lord that they may not be closed for you; while the gates of hell are closed, do pray to your Lord that they may never be opened for you. Satans have been handcuffed, so invoke your Lord not to let them dominate you.”
Imam Ali (AS) says: I asked: “O Messenger of Allah, what are the best deeds in this month?” The Prophet replied: “O Aba’l-Hasan, the best of deeds in this month is to be far from what Allah has forbidden.”