Monday, July 1, 2013

Islamic/Hijri/Muslim Calender and Islamic months


                             Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar also called 
                             the Hijri calendar is the calendar used to date 
                             events in many predominantly Muslim countries, 
                             and used by Muslims everywhere to determine 
                             the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic 
                             holy days or other Islamic Occasions.

                             Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar is based 
                             on the Glorious Qur'an and its proper observance 
                             is a sacred duty for Muslims. 

                             "Almighty Allah says in the Glorious Qur'an:
                             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."
                             (Glorious Qur'an 9:36)

                             "It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory, 
                             and the moon to be a light of beauty, and measured 
                             out stages for it, that you might know the number of 
                             years and the count of time. Allah did not create this 
                             except in truth and righteousness. And He explains 
                             His signs in detail, for those who understand." 
                             (Glorious Qur'an 10:5)

                            "They ask thee (O Muhammad) concerning the New Moons. 
                             Say: They are but signs to mark fixed periods of time in 
                             (the affairs of) men and for pilgrimage.." 
                             (Glorious Qur'an 2:189)

                             Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar having 
                             twelve lunar months in a year, the beginnings and endings of 
                             which are determined by the sighting of the crescent moon 
                             (new moon). 

                             These lunar months (lunations) are based on the motion of 
                             the moon, and because 12 synodic months is only 
                             12 x 29.53=354.36 days.

                             Therefore the Islamic calendar is consistently about eleven 
                             days shorter than a tropical year or solar year. Islamic holy 
                             days, although celebrated on fixed dates in their own calendar, 
                             usually shift eleven days earlier each successive solar year, such 
                             as a year of the Gregorian calendar or Christian calendar.

                            Muslims do not adjust their Islamic year by adding an extra month, 
                            as the Jews do to keep their lunar calendar in synch with 
                            the seasons. 

                            Hence the months of the Muslim Islamic year do not relate to 
                            the seasons which are fundamentally related to the solar cycle. 
                            This means that important Muslim festivals, which always fall in 
                            the same Hijri month, may occur in different seasons. 
                            For example, the Hajj and Ramadan can take place in the 
                            summer as well as the winter. It is only over a 33-year cycle 
                            that lunar months take a complete turn and fall during the same

                    As we already know the Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar 
                       is derived from the phases of the moon, the Fasting month of 
                       Ramadan falls a little earlier each year. The effect of this is to 
                     balance out the discrepancy between Fasting in the northern 
                            and the southern hemispheres. 

                        It is often thought that in certain parts of the globe the fast will 
                        be easier than in others, for the length of the day, as well as its 
                         temperature, varies from season to season and from land to land. 
                         But Ramadan, creeping forward at a rate of about eleven days in 
                          each solar year, ensures that wherever one may be on the planet, 
                       the fast will fall sometimes in winter and sometimes in summer. 
                       Similarly although in high latitudes the days can be long, there is 
                   no heat. A balance is thus obtained, so that Fasting is similarly 
                          efficacious all over the world.

            Although new moons may be calculated quite precisely, the  
            actual visibility (by a human observer's eye) of the crescent 
                        is much more difficult to predict. 

     It depends on many factors such as weather, the optical 
    properties of the atmosphere or atmospheric pollution, 
    the altitude of the moon at sunset and its closeness,the 
   quality of the eyesight of the observer, the location of 
the observer and etc. It is therefore very difficult to 
give accurate information in advance about when a 
new month will start.

      Furthermore, some Muslims depend on a local sighting of 
              the moon, whereas others depend on a sighting by authorities 
                  somewhere in the Muslim world. Both are valid Islamic practices, 
         but they may lead to different starting days for the months.

       Islamic years are called as Hijra (Hijrah) years, these Hijra 
     (Hijrah) years are counted since the Hijra (Hijrah), which 
 is when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) migrated from 
         Makkah to Madina (formerly known as Yathrib) approximately 
        July 622 CE. Thus each numbered year is designated either H 
      or AH, the latter being the initials of the Latin Anno Hegirae 
(in the year of the Hijra).

           Hijra (Hijrah) of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is an important 
         turning point for the Muslim community. After the emigration, 
       the Muslims were able to organize and establish the first real 
 Muslim "community," with social, political, and economic 
      independence. Life in Madina allowed the Muslim community 
to mature and strengthen, and the people developed 
an entire society based on Islamic principles.

                 It 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 (pbuh), 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 struggle between Truth and Evil is eternal. 

           The Islamic year reminds Muslims every year not of the pomp and 
               glory of Islam but of its sacrifice and prepares them to do the same.

    Hence, Muslims do not traditionally "celebrate" the beginning 
 of a new year, but we do acknowledge the passing of time, 
and take time to reflect on our own mortality. 

The Islamic year begins on the first day of Muharram 
       with the remembrance of great sacrifice of Imam Hussain (pbuh), 
            the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) on the land of Karbala 
for the sake of Truth.

The Islamic (Hijri) year consists of twelve (purely lunar) months:
  1. First Month of Islamic calendar: Muharram al-Haram 
  2. Second Month of Islamic calendar: Safar al-Muzaffar 
  3. Third Month of Islamic calendar: Rabi al-Awwal
  4. Fourth Month of Islamic calendar: Rabi al-Thani
  5. Fifth Month of Islamic calendar: Jumada al-Awwal
  6. Sixth Month of Islamic calendar: Jumada al-Thani
  7. Seventh Month of Islamic calendar: Rajab al-Murajab
  8. Eighth Month of Islamic calendar: Sha'ban al-Moazzam
  9. Ninth Month of Islamic calendar: Ramadan al-Mubarak
  10. Tenth Month of Islamic calendar: Shawwal al-Mukarram
  11. Eleventh Month of Islamic calendar: Dhu al-Qa'dah 
  12. Twelfth Month of Islamic calendar: Dhu al-Hijjah