New Year – 1438

Muharram is upon us. I have been seeing posts of du’a for the end, and for the beginning of the Islamic year. These do not seem to be supported by actions of the Prophet s.a.w.s or his Companions r.a.

“The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth. Of them four are sacred; that is the straight usage so wrong not yourselves therein, and fight the pagans.” [Qur’an 9:36]

The following is an excerpt from an article by Waleed Muhanna of on the conceptualisation and implementation of an Islamic calendar:

The Islamic Calendar, which is based purely on lunar cycles, was first introduced in 638 CE by the companions of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, and the second Khalifah, Umar ibnul Khattab (592-644 CE).

He did it in an attempt to rationalize the various, at times conflicting, dating systems used during his time. Umar consulted with his advisors from the companions on the starting date of the new Muslim calendar. It was finally agreed that the most appropriate reference point for the Islamic calendar was the Hijrah, the incident of the immigration of the Muslims from Makkah to Madinah. It is a central historical event of early Islam that led to the foundation of the first Muslim city-state, a turning point in Islamic and world history. The actual starting date for the calendar was chosen (on the basis of purely lunar years, counting backwards) to be the first day of the first month (1 Muharram) of the year of the Hijrah. The Islamic (Hijri) calendar (with dates that fall within the Muslim Era) came to be abbreviated by some as AH in Western languages from the latinized Anno Hegirae, “in the year of the Hegira”. Muharram 1, 1 AH therefore corresponds to July 16, 622 CE.

The Islamic year consists of twelve (purely lunar) months. They are: Muharram, Safar, Rabi’ul Awwal, Rabi’uth Thani, Jumada al-Awwal, Jumada ath-Thani, Rajab, Sha’ban, Ramadhan, Shawwal, Thul Qi’dah, and THUL HIJJAH. Some of the most important dates in the Islamic year are: 1 Muharram (Islamic new year); 1 Ramadhan (first day of fasting); 1 Shawwal (Eidul Fitr); 8-10 Thul Hijjah (the Hajj to Makkah); and 10 Thul Hijjah (Eidul Adh-ha).

To Muslims, the Hijri calendar is more than a sentimental system of time reckoning, and dating important religious events. Many of the marital and spousal relationship rulings of the women are directly connected to the lunar (Islamic) months. The Hijri calendar, therefore, has a much deeper religious and historical significance in the Muslim life. Muhammad Ilyas in his book, A Model Guide to Astronomical Calculations of Islamic Calendar, Times & Qiblah, quoted Abul Hassan an-Nadwi who wrote, “It (the advent of the 15th Islamic century) is indeed, a unique occasion to ponder that the Islamic Era did not start with the victories of Islamic wars, nor with the birth or death of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, nor with the Revelation itself. It starts with Hijra, or the sacrifice for the cause of Truth and for the preservation of the Revelation. It was a divinely inspired selection. Allah wanted to teach Man that the struggle between Truth and Evil is eternal. The Islamic year reminds Muslims not of the pomp and glory of Islam but of itssacrifice, and prepares them to do the same.” From a historical angle, Ilyas quoted Samiullah who wrote, “All the events of Islamic history, especially those that took place during the life of the Prophet, sallallahu alayhi wasallam, and afterwards are quoted in the Hijra calendar era. But our calculations in the Gregorian calendar keep us away from those events and happenings, which are pregnant of admonitory lessons and guiding instructions. …And this chronological study is possible only by adopting the Hijri calendar to indicate the year and the lunar month in line with our cherished traditions.”



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