25 . THE ISLAMIC CALENDAR (HIJRI CALENDAR)
Pre Islamic Calendar
This was a lunisolar calendar which used lunar months, but was also synchronized with the seasons by the insertion of an additional, intercalary month, when required. On the other hand, the Qur’an forbids the intercalary month (releasing the calendar from the seasons) by ;
Sura 9, verse 36.:
“The fact is that the number of months ordained by Allah has been twelve since the time He created the heavens and the earth, and out of these four are forbidden months: this is the right code of reckoning: therefore do not wrong yourselves by violating these months. And fight against the mushriks all together even as they fight against you all together: and note it well that Allah is with the God fearing people”
Surah 9, Verse No.37
Nasi is but one more instance of disbelief, whereby these disbelievers are led astray. In one year they make a certain month lawful and in another year they make the same a forbidden month, so as they might make up for the number of the forbidden months and, at the same time, make lawful that which is forbidden by Allah. *37 Their evil deeds have been made seeming fair to them: for Allah does not guide those who deny the Truth.
The pre-Islamic calendar was lunar to get the months to fall according to seasons. The Arabs used to drop one month after every third year so that the ritual of Haj could fall in the same season. (Hajj ritual was also in practice before the birth of the holy Prophet of Islam). The names of the months were season-based.
Rabi means ‘spring’ and Jamadi means ‘hard’. Ramadhan is from ramdh meaning ‘very hot’.
The Quran decreed that there would be 12 months in a year, thus disallowing the practice of dropping a month after every three years. Among the pre-Islamic tribes four months had to be sacred: Rajab, Ziqaad, Zilhaj and Moharram, which means there could be no war and looting during these months. The pre-Islamic names of the months were retained by the companions of Rasool Allah. Ramadhan became Ramadan and was sacred for the Muslims because the Quran began to be revealed in this month. Moharram began the year and was sacred because it was having some fasting. The month of Safar comes after Moharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. Literal meaning of Safar is Empty.
Sha’aban had the root of ‘splitting’ because in this month the pre-Islamic tribes used to ‘split’ and go out for loot and plunder.
The Arabs were warring nations. Small disputes would easily turn into wars that will last for years and years and some times were inherited by generations to come.
Their war free months were Moharram (1st month of the Islamic Calendar), Rajab (7th month of the Islamic Calendar), Dhul Qa'dah (11th month of the Islamic Calendar) and Dhul Hijjah (12th month of the Islamic Calendar).
Many Muslims, with improper knowledge of Islam, have superstitions about some months as months of misfortunes. The Holy Qur-an has provided clear guidelines about such superstitions:
Quraan : Surah Taghabun 64:11
“ No misfortune ever befalls unless it be by Allah’s leave. And whosoever has faith in Allah, Allah directs his heart along the Right Path. Allah has knowledge of everything ”
Islam does not have any room for superstitious beliefs. Muslims should not believe in any inauspicious days, weeks, months or years, there are no people, houses or things that bring bad luck.
During the Pre Islamic Ignorance, the Arabs had a number of superstitions about different months. The Messenger of Allah, Mohammad (saws), demolished all incorrect and superstitious beliefs of pre-Islamic times, bringing Islam.
Muslims must shun all superstitious beliefs regarding those months. They must understand that misfortune will only overtake those who disobey Allah and His last Messenger, Mohammad (saws).
Please bear in mind that any Muslim who does not obey the Commands of Allah, who does not offer the five daily Salah (Namaz), does not care for observing Sawm (Roza), does not pay Zakat , refuses to go for Hajj , and does not live according to the Islamic values as taught by the Messenger of Allah, is the most unfortunate fellow.
The Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar also called the Hijri calendar is the calendar used to date events in many predominantly Muslim countries. It is a lunar calendar having 12 lunar months in a year of about 354 days. Islamic years are also called Hijra years because of Mohammad‘s (saws) emigration from Mecca to Medina. Thus each numbered year is designated either H or AH, (the latter being the initials of the Latin anno Hegirae means in the year of the Hijra).
The Islamic months are named as follows :
1. Moharram (long form: Muḥarram ul Ḥaram)
2. Safar (long form: Ṣafar ul Muzaffar)
3. Rabi’ al-awwal
4. Rabi’ al-Sani (or Rabī’ al-Akhir)
5. Jamadi al-awwal
6. Jamadi al-saani (or Jamādi al-akhir)
7. Rajab (long form: Rajab al Murajab)
8. Sha’aban (long form: Sha’abān ul Moazam)
9. Ramadan (or Ramzan, long form: Ramaḍan ul Mubarak)
10. Shawwal (long form: Shawwal ul Mukarram)
11. Dhu al-Qi’dah ( Zee Qaad)
12. Dhu al-Hijjah (Zil Hajj)
Of all the months in the Islamic calendar, Ramaḍān is the most sacred. Between dawn and sunset, Muslims are supposed to abstain from eating, drinking, and sexual intercourse in accordance with the Ramaḍān holiday that lasts throughout the entire month of the same name.
Days of the week
The Islamic week is derived from the Jewish week. The Islamic and Jewish weekdays begin at sunset, whereas the Christian weekdays begin at the following midnight. The name of the days is as follows :
1. yaum al-ahad (first day – Sunday) ( Urdu – Itwaar)
2. yaum al-ithnayn (second day – Monday) (Urdu - Peer)
3. yaum al- thaluta ’ (third day – Tuesday) (Urdu, Mangal)
4. yaum al-arbea (fourth day – Wednesday) (Urdu, Budh)
5. yaum al-khamees (fifth day – Thursday) (Urdu, Jumeraat)
6. yaum al-jumu`a (gathering day – Friday) (Urdu, Juma)
7. yaum as-sabt (sabbath day – Saturday) (Urdu, Hafta )
Numbering the years
In 638 AD, the second Caliph Umar began numbering the years of the Islamic calendar from the year of the Hijra, which was postdated AH 1and the first day of the first month Moharram of that Islamic year, that is, after the removal of all intercalary months. This Calendar began on (July 16, 622 AD) when the Prophet Mohammad (saws) migrated from Mecca to Medina. Observation of crescent (Hilal) and calculations of dates thereafter was also established.Each month therefore has either 29 or 30 days. Traditionally, the first day of each month was the day beginning at sunset of the first sighting of the lunar crescent (the hilal) shortly after sunset.