No you're not delusional it's not January 1st, it's Muharram 1st. That's right it's the Islamic New Year. I can practically see the big ball drop on the top of the minaret of Sulaymani Mosque in Istanbul with a big lit up "1431" under it. Ok so that's a joke they don't really do that, but nonetheless this day commemorates a wonderful event. The Hijra occurred exactly 1,431 years ago, when the Prophet Muhammed and his earliest follows made the treacherous journey from Mecca to Yathrib (later to be known as Medinatul Nabi or Medina for short) a journey of over 200 miles thru the burning Arabian desert. Allah says in the Qur'an,
When the Angels pull the souls from those who die in sin, they ask, "In what plight were you in", and they say, "We were weak and oppressed on the Earth". The angels respond, "Was Allah's Earth not spacious enough for you to move yourself from evil?". Such men will find their place in Hell, what an evil abode".
(Surah an Nisa 4:97)
The early Muslim community faced oppression and persecution in a state of weakness that most Muslims today can't imagine. They were starved, beaten and even killed by the pagan Quraysh. They did what some would consider one of the hardest things a person could do; turn their backs on their home and their kin to seek refuge in a strange place with strangers with a different regional culture than theirs. The event was so monumental that the Muslims marked their calender by it.
Muslims today could learn a lot by this. Today Muslims are persecuted and oppressed in many parts of the world including Europe and even ironically in Muslim countries ruled by either secular dictators, corrupt monarchies (which are un-Islamic in the first place), or radical religious fanatics. While Muslims in America don't go without challenges because of being a minority, Muslims here are guaranteed by law to be able to practice Islam freely without government intervention. Many Muslim immigrants recognize that they are actually able to practice Islam more freely here than even back home in their own Muslim majority countries, not to mention the tremendous economic and educational opportunities they find here in America. Muslims who equate America and Europe as synonymous are dead wrong. Being British, or Dutch or Swiss implies certain ethnic and religious characteristics. Being an American however does not mean being of a particular ethnicity or being of a particular religion. It has only to do with believing in the principals of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness for all. That all men and women regardless of race, religion or creed are equal under the law. This is a concept that is not only indicative of America, but was pioneered by the prophet Muhammad himself (peace and blessings be upon him). The Constitution of Medina gave equal rights under the law to all including Muslims, Jews and every ethnic tribe living in Medina.
Allah Knows Best. Happy Islamic New Year everyone!!!