Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Islamic Calendar

I have had a lot of questions by Non-Muslims and unfortunatly Muslims as well about what is A.H. so i am going to try and clear up how the Islamic calendar works.

The Islamic calendar (or Hijri calendar) is a purely lunar calendar. It contains 12 months that are based on the motion of the moon, and because 12 synodic months is only 12 x 29.53=354.36 days, the Islamic calendar is consistently shorter than a solar year, and therefore it shifts with respect to the Christian calendar.
The calendar is based on the Qur'an (Sura IX, 36-37), which reads:
[9.36] Surely the number of months with Allah is twelve months in Allah's ordinance since the day when He created the heavens and the earth, of these four being sacred; that is the right reckoning; therefore be not unjust to yourselves regarding them, and fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together; and know that Allah is with those who guard (against evil).[9.37] Postponing (of the sacred month) is only an addition in unbelief, wherewith those who disbelieve are led astray, violating it one year and keeping it sacred another, that they may agree in the number (of months) that Allah has made sacred, and thus violate what Allah has made sacred; the evil of their doings is made fairseeming to them; and Allah does not guide the unbelieving people.

The names of the 12 months that comprise the Islamic year are:
1. Muharram 2. Safar 3. Rabi' al-awwal (Rabi' I) 4. Rabi' al-thani (Rabi' II)
5. Jumada al-awwal (Jumada I) 6. Jumada al-thani (Jumada II) 7. Rajab 8. Sha'ban
9. Ramadan 10. Shawwal 11. Dhu al-Qi'dah 12. Dhu al-Hijjah
(Due to different transliterations of the Arabic alphabet, other spellings of the months are possible.)
Each month starts when the lunar crescent is first seen (by a human observer's eye) after a new moon.
Although new moons may be calculated quite precisely, the actual visibility of the crescent is much more difficult to predict. It depends on factors such as weather, the optical properties of the atmosphere, and the location of the observer. 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.
Years are counted since the Hijra, that is, Mohammed's emigration to Medina from Mecca in AD 622. On 16 July (Julian calendar) of that year, AH 1 started (AH = Anno Hegirae = year of the Hijra). Right now (2006) it is 1427 A.H.
I hope that this has helped make things a little clearer.


I da man said...

Ma shallah

This has been one of the most intersting blogs I have been to

Aiman said...

Salaams Ed,

I'm really getting into sci-fi after reading your blog. It is similar to a wonderland, only more possible.

Yafiah Katherine said...

Thank you for all the detailed information on the Islamic calender. Although I already knew quite a bit about it, I was unaware as to why the Islamic calender did not add some weeks every few years to keep up with the solar cycle as do some other lunar calendars for agricultural purposes. Now I have read the verse from the Qur'an again it is clear that the holy months must always be aligned with the lunar cycle which of course would not be the case if adjustments were made. I like this a lot. I may be mistaken but it seems to me that there is something inherently female about our calender. Do you have any ideas on that?

Edward Ott said...

When typically described by many cultures, but certainly not all, the moon is female and the sun male. the moon translate into many european languages as La luna which is feminine. which is my humble opinion on this matter.

Anonymous said...

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Dawud said...

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my deen has been weak of late but you have given me new found inspiration

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Fahd Mirza said...

its wonderfuly grat.

pinkys said...

moon is female? yea!!! don't ask me why hehehe

anyway, your explanation have enlightened me :D love this post!

Rym said...

Thanks for sharing this information brother Edward.
By the way, in Arabic the moon is male and the sun is female. It's interesting how this varries from one culture to another, and I wouldn't say this has something to do with the Islamic calendar :)

sweeter_than_salsabeel said...

salamun alaykum ! Thanks for ur comments on my blog! hahahah yeah that song has a really bad habit of gettin stuck in ppls heads, and it sounds really cool wat ur wife did!! haha my niqab thing was a success tho!!!

YOuve got a really interesting blog going on here! It's definetly unique (and in a good way too :P ) I was jsut curious how you got the link to my blog hehe, anyways hope you have a great weekend, take care masalama

Aicha Qandisha said...

Salaam, Ed.
Thanks for the comment on my blog. I am interested in catching up on reading your blog, very cool. I believe I've also caught some of your posts on beliefnet, no? All the best.

Uncivil said...

Hi Edward

Thanks for visiting my site and posting comment. I find you site interesting also. I'm not a big fiction reader as I barely have time to keep up with the real world. Your Lunar Calendar post is very informative. You are a very gifted writer.

Safigirl88 said...

Assalamu alaykum Brother Edward,

Mashallah from what I read here(even though unfortunately I didn't get a chance to explore everything), your blog seems very amazing and unique! May Allah SWT strengthen you and keep you on His straight path and increase your work for Islam always Inshallah. Ameen.
And I am pleased to hear your comments anytime. And feel free to link my blog; and I hope you don't mind me adding yours to mine also? Thank you for sharing your time and talent with everyone!

Muhammad Saqib Ilyas said...

Thanks for the comment on my blog. Glad that you liked it. I'm grateful for the blessing for the blog medium of ranting. I'm even more grateful that our unruly rulers are unaware of this medium. I think they'll find out about blogs about fifty years from now and how a particular university teacher had been ranting about the past corrupt governments. That is unless our supreme commander doesnt prolong himself like so many others around the world.
But more than that, I like to blog about mithu and other good and bad stuff in life. Your blog is good, too.

fallen angel said...

Thank you for visiting and your comment on my blog, I still can not figure out how you came across it.
Your´s in excellent I have recommended my blogger friends to visit.

zoheb said...

Brother Edward,
A great job done, every where i went through i got more and more confuse.
thank you very much
May allah be with you
Take care

Al Sunna said...

Assalamu alaikum,

Nice blog, the content in this blog is very useful to the people who are looking out for islamic knowledge.

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