Islamic calendar

The Islamic, Muslim, or Hijri calendar (Arabic: التقويم الهجريat-taqwīm al-hijrī) is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to determine the proper days of Islamic holidays and rituals, such as the annual period of fasting and the proper time for the pilgrimage to Mecca. The civil calendar of almost all countries where the religion is predominantly Muslim is the Gregorian calendar. Notable exceptions to this rule are Iran and Afghanistan, which use the Solar Hijri calendar. Rents, wages and similar regular commitments are generally paid by the civil calendar.

The Islamic calendar employs the Hijri era whose epoch was established as the Islamic New Year of 622 AD/CE.[1] During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (now Medina) and established the first Muslim community (ummah), an event commemorated as the Hijra. In the West, dates in this era are usually denoted AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae, "in the year of the Hijra") in parallel with the Christian (AD), Common (CE) and Jewish eras (AM). In Muslim countries, it is also sometimes denoted as H[2] from its Arabic form (سَنة هِجْريّة, abbreviated هـ). In English, years prior to the Hijra are reckoned as BH ("Before the Hijra").[3]

The current Islamic year is 1440 AH. In the Gregorian calendar, 1440 AH runs from approximately 11 September 2018 to 30 August 2019.[4][a]

King Khaled airport exit stamp
Islamic Calendar stamp issued at King Khalid airport (10 Rajab 1428 / 24 July 2007)

History

Pre-Islamic calendar

For central Arabia, especially Mecca, there is a lack of epigraphical evidence but details are found in the writings of Muslim authors of the Abbasid era. Inscriptions of the ancient South Arabian calendars reveal the use of a number of local calendars. At least some of these South Arabian calendars followed the lunisolar system. Both al-Biruni and al-Mas'udi suggest that the ancient Arabs used the same month names as the Muslims, though they also record other month names used by the pre-Islamic Arabs.[5]

The Islamic tradition is unanimous in stating that Arabs of Tihamah, Hejaz, and Najd distinguished between two types of months, permitted (ḥalāl) and forbidden (ḥarām) months. The forbidden months were four months during which fighting is forbidden, listed as Rajab and the three months around the pilgrimage season, Dhu al-Qa‘dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, and Muharram. Information about the forbidden months is also found in the writings of Procopius, where he describes an armistice with the Eastern Arabs of the Lakhmid al-Mundhir which happened in the summer of 541 AD/CE. However, Muslim historians do not link these months to a particular season. The Qur'an links the four forbidden months with Nasī’, a word that literally means "postponement".[5] According to Muslim tradition, the decision of postponement was administered by the tribe of Kinanah,[6] by a man known as the al-Qalammas of Kinanah and his descendants (pl. qalāmisa).[7]

Different interpretations of the concept of Nasī’ have been proposed.[8] Some scholars, both Muslim[9][10] and Western,[5][6] maintain that the pre-Islamic calendar used in central Arabia was a purely lunar calendar similar to the modern Islamic calendar. According to this view, Nasī’ is related to the pre-Islamic practices of the Meccan Arabs, where they would alter the distribution of the forbidden months within a given year without implying a calendar manipulation. This interpretation is supported by Arab historians and lexicographers, like Ibn Hisham, Ibn Manzur, and the corpus of Qur'anic exegesis.[11]

This is corroborated by an early Sabaic inscription, where a religious ritual was "postponed" (ns'’w) due to war. According to the context of this inscription, the verb ns'’ has nothing to do with intercalation, but only with moving religious events within the calendar itself. The similarity between the religious concept of this ancient inscription and the Qur'an suggests that non-calendaring postponement is also the Qur'anic meaning of Nasī’.[5] The Encyclopaedia of Islam concludes "The Arabic system of [Nasī’] can only have been intended to move the Hajj and the fairs associated with it in the vicinity of Mecca to a suitable season of the year. It was not intended to establish a fixed calendar to be generally observed."[12] The term "fixed calendar" is generally understood to refer to the non-intercalated calendar.

Others concur that it was originally a lunar calendar, but suggest that about 200 years before the Hijra it was transformed into a lunisolar calendar containing an intercalary month added from time to time to keep the pilgrimage within the season of the year when merchandise was most abundant. This interpretation was first proposed by the medieval Muslim astrologer and astronomer Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi, and later by al-Biruni,[7][13] al-Mas'udi, and some western scholars.[14] This interpretation considers Nasī’ to be a synonym to the Arabic word for "intercalation" (kabīsa). The Arabs, according to one explanation mentioned by Abu Ma'shar, learned of this type of intercalation from the Jews.[6][7][13] The Jewish Nasi was the official who decided when to intercalate the Jewish calendar.[15] Some sources say that the Arabs followed the Jewish practice and intercalated seven months over nineteen years, or else that they intercalated nine months over 24 years; there is, however, no consensus among scholars on this issue.[16]

Postponement (Nasī’) of one ritual in a particular circumstance does not imply alteration of the sequence of months, and scholars agree that this did not happen. Al-Biruni also says this did not happen,[13] and the festivals were kept within their season by intercalation every second or third year of a month between Dhu al-Hijjah and Muharram. He also says that, in terms of the fixed calendar that was not introduced until 10 AH (632 AD/CE), the first intercalation was, for example, of a month between Dhu al-Hijjah and Muharram, the second of a month between Muharram and Safar, the third of a month between Safar and Rabi'I, and so on.[13] The intercalations were arranged so that there were seven of them every nineteen years. The notice of intercalation was issued at the pilgrimage, the next month would be Nasī’ and Muharram would follow. If, on the other hand, the names relate to the intercalated rather than the fixed calendar, the second intercalation might be, for example, of a month between Muharram and Safar allowing for the first intercalation, and the third intercalation of a month between Safar and Rabi'I allowing for the two preceding intercalations, and so on. The time for the intercalation to move from the beginning of the year to the end (twelve intercalations) is the time it takes the fixed calendar to revolve once through the seasons (about 32 1/2 tropical years). There are two big drawbacks of such a system, which would explain why it is not known ever to have been used anywhere in the world. First, it cannot be regulated by means of a cycle (the only cycles known in antiquity were the octaeteris (3 intercalations in 8 years) and the enneadecaeteris (7 intercalations in 19 years). Secondly, without a cycle it is difficult to establish from the number of the year (a) if it is intercalary and (b) if it is intercalary, where exactly in the year the intercalation is located.

Although some scholars (see list above) claim that the holy months were shuffled about for convenience without the use of intercalation, there is no documentary record of the festivals of any of the holy months being observed in any month other than those they are now observed in. The Qu'ran (sura 9.37) only refers to the "postponement" of a sacred month. If they were shuffled as suggested, one would expect there to be a prohibition against "anticipation" as well. If the festivities of the sacred months were kept in season by moving them into later months, they would move through the whole twelve months in only 33 years. Had this happened, at least one writer would have mentioned it. Sura 9.36 states "Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months" and sura 37 refers to "adjusting the number of months". Such adjustment can only be effected by intercalation.

There are a number of indications that the intercalated calendar was similar to the Jewish calendar, whose year began in the spring.[17] There are clues in the names of the months themselves:

Rabi'I - first spring
Rabi'II - second spring
Jumada I - first month of parched land
Jumada II - second month of parched land
Sha‘bān - Arabs "dispersed" to find water
Ramadan - scorched
Shawwal - she-camels "raised" their tails after calving

In the intercalated calendar's last year (AD/CE 632), Dhu al-Hijjah corresponded to March. The Battle of the Trench in Shawwal and Dhu'l Qi'dah of AH 5 coincided with "harsh winter weather". Military campaigns clustered round Ramadan, when the summer heat had dissipated, and all fighting was forbidden during Rajab, at the height of summer. The invasion of Tabak in Rajab AH 9 was hampered by "too much hot weather" and "drought". In AH 1 Muhammad noted the Jews of Yathrib observing a festival when he arrived on Monday, 8 Rabi'I. Rabi'I is the third month and if it coincided with the third month of the Jewish calendar the festival would have been the Feast of Weeks, which is observed on the 6th and 7th days of that month.

Prohibiting Nasī’

Maome
Muhammad prohibiting Nasī'. Found in an illustrated copy of Al-Bīrūnī's The Remaining Signs of Past Centuries (17th-century copy of an early 14th-century Ilkhanid manuscript).[18]

In the tenth year of the Hijra, as documented in the Qur'an (Sura At-Tawba (9):36–37), Muslims believe God revealed the "prohibition of the Nasī’".

The number of the months, with God, is twelve in the Book of God, the day that He created the heavens and the earth; four of them are sacred. That is the right religion. So wrong not each other during them. And fight the unbelievers totally even as they fight you totally and know that God is with the godfearing. Know that intercalation (nasi) is an addition to disbelief. Those who disbelieve are led to error thereby, making it lawful in one year and forbidden in another in order to adjust the number of (the months) made sacred by God and make the sacred ones permissible. The evil of their course appears pleasing to them. But God gives no guidance to those who disbelieve.

— Sura 9 ("At-Tawba"), ayat 36–37[19]

The prohibition of Nasī’ would presumably have been announced when the intercalated month had returned to its position just before the month of Nasi' began. If Nasī' meant intercalation, then the number and the position of the intercalary months between AH 1 and AH 10 are uncertain; western calendar dates commonly cited for key events in early Islam such as the Hijra, the Battle of Badr, the Battle of Uhud and the Battle of the Trench should be viewed with caution as they might be in error by one, two, three or even four lunar months. This prohibition was mentioned by Muhammad during the farewell sermon which was delivered on 9 Dhu al-Hijjah AH 10 (Julian date Friday 6 March, 632 AD/CE) on Mount Arafat during the farewell pilgrimage to Mecca.

Certainly the Nasi’ is an impious addition, which has led the infidels into error. One year they authorise the Nasi’, another year they forbid it. They observe the divine precept with respect to the number of the sacred months, but in fact they profane that which God has declared to be inviolable, and sanctify that which God has declared to be profane. Assuredly time, in its revolution, has returned to such as it was at the creation of the heavens and the earth. In the eyes of God the number of the months is twelve. Among these twelve months four are sacred, namely, Rajab, which stands alone, and three others which are consecutive.

— Translated by Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby[20]

The three successive sacred (forbidden) months mentioned by Prophet Muhammad (months in which battles are forbidden) are Dhu al-Qa‘dah, Dhu al-Hijjah, and Muharram, months 11, 12, and 1 respectively. The single forbidden month is Rajab, month 7. These months were considered forbidden both within the new Islamic calendar and within the old pagan Meccan calendar.

Months

Four of the twelve Hijri months are considered sacred: Rajab (7), and the three consecutive months of Dhū al-Qa‘dah (11), Dhu al-Ḥijjah (12) and Muḥarram (1).[21] As the lunar calendar lags behind the solar calendar by about ten days every Gregorian year, months of the Islamic calendar fall in different parts of the Gregorian calendar each year. The cycle repeats every 33 lunar years.[22]

No. Name Arabic Meaning Note
1 Muḥarram مُحَرَّم forbidden A sacred month, so called because battle and all kinds of fighting are forbidden (ḥarām) during this month. Muḥarram includes ‘Āshūrā’, the tenth day.
2 Ṣafar صَفَر void Supposedly named thus because pre-Islamic Arab houses were empty this time of year while their occupants gathered food. Another account relates that they used to loot the houses of their enemies after defeating them in battle, leaving nothing behind.
3 Rabīʿ al-Awwal رَبِيع ٱلْأَوَّل the first spring Also means to graze, because cattle were grazed during this month. Also a very holy month of celebration for many Muslims, as it was the month the Prophet Muhammad was born.[23]
4 Rabīʿ ath-Thānī (Rabī’ al-Ākhir) ربيع الثاني or رَبِيع ٱلْآخِر the second spring
5 Jumādá al-Ūlá جُمَادَىٰ ٱلْأُولَىٰ the first of parched land Often considered the pre-Islamic summer. Jumādá may also be related to a verb meaning "to freeze" and another account relates that water would freeze during this time of year.
6 Jumādá al-Ākhirah جُمَادَىٰ ٱلْآخِرَة the last of parched land
7 Rajab رَجَب respect, honour This is the second sacred month in which fighting is forbidden. Rajab may also be related to a verb meaning "to remove", so called because pre-Islamic Arabs would remove the heads of their spears and refrain from fighting.
8 Sha‘bān شَعْبَان scattered Marked the time of year when Arab tribes dispersed to find water. Sha‘bān may also be related to a verb meaning "to be in between two things". Another account relates that it was called thus because the month lies between Rajab and Ramaḍān.
9 Ramaḍān رَمَضَان burning heat Burning is related to fasting as in empty stomach one's worldly desire will burn. Supposedly so called because of high temperatures caused by the excessive heat of the sun. Ramaḍān is the most venerated month of the Hijri calendar. During this time, Muslims must fast from pre-dawn until sunset and should give charity to the poor and needy.
10 Shawwāl شَوَّال raised She-camels would normally be in calf at this time of year and raise their tails.
11 Dhū al-Qa‘dah ذُو ٱلْقَعْدَة the one of truce/sitting This is a holy month during which war is banned. People are allowed to defend themselves if attacked.
12 Dhū al-Ḥijjah ذُو ٱلْحِجَّة the one of pilgrimage During this month Muslim pilgrims from all around the world congregate at Mecca to visit the Kaaba. The Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth and the tenth of this month. Day of Arafah takes place on the ninth of the month. Eid al-Adha, the "Festival of the Sacrifice", begins on the tenth day and ends on sunset of the twelfth, and this is a fourth holy month during which war is banned.

Length of months

Each month of the Islamic calendar commences on the birth of the new lunar cycle. Traditionally this is based on actual observation of the crescent (hilal) marking the end of the previous lunar cycle and hence the previous month, thereby beginning the new month. Consequently, each month can have 29 or 30 days depending on the visibility of the moon, astronomical positioning of the earth and weather conditions. However, certain sects and groups, most notably Bohras Muslims namely Alavis, Dawoodis and Sulaymanis and Shia Ismaili Muslims, use a tabular Islamic calendar (see section below) in which odd-numbered months have thirty days (and also the twelfth month in a leap year) and even months have 29.

Days of the week

In Arabic, the "first day" of the week corresponds with Sunday of the planetary week. The Islamic weekdays, like those in the Hebrew and Bahá'í calendars, begin at sunset. The Christian liturgical day, kept in monasteries, begins with vespers (see vesper), which is evening, in line with the other Abrahamic traditions. Christian and planetary weekdays begin at the following midnight. Muslims gather for worship at a mosque at noon on "gathering day" (Yawm al-Jum‘ah, yawm يوم meaning "day") which corresponds with Friday.

Thus "gathering day" is often regarded as the weekly day of rest. This is frequently made official, with many Muslim countries adopting Friday and Saturday (e.g., Egypt, Saudi Arabia) or Thursday and Friday as official weekends, during which offices are closed; other countries (e.g., Iran) choose to make Friday alone a day of rest. A few others (e.g., Turkey, Pakistan, Morocco, Nigeria) have adopted the Saturday-Sunday weekend while making Friday a working day with a long midday break to allow time off for worship.

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Name (Yawm) al-Aḥad (Yawm) al-Ithnayn (Yawm) ath-Thulāthā’ (Yawm) al-Arba‘ā’ (Yawm) al-Khamīs (Yawm) al-Jum‘ah (Yawm) as-Sabt
Arabic الأحد الإثنين الثلاثاء الأربعاء الخميس الجمعة السبت
Meaning First day Second day Third day Fourth day Fifth day Gathering day Day of Rest

Year numbering

In pre-Islamic Arabia, it was customary to identify a year after a major event which took place in it. Thus, according to Islamic tradition, Abraha, governor of Yemen, then a province of the Christian Kingdom of Aksum (Ethiopia), attempted to destroy the Kaaba with an army which included several elephants. The raid was unsuccessful, but that year became known as the Year of the Elephant, during which Muhammad was born (sura al-Fil). Most equate this to the year 570 AD/CE, but a minority use 571 CE.

The first ten years of the Hijra were not numbered, but were named after events in the life of Muhammad according to Abū Rayḥān al-Bīrūnī:[24]

  1. The year of permission.
  2. The year of the order of fighting.
  3. The year of the trial.
  4. The year of congratulation on marriage.
  5. The year of the earthquake.
  6. The year of enquiring.
  7. The year of gaining victory.
  8. The year of equality.
  9. The year of exemption.
  10. The year of farewell.

In AH 17 (638 AD/CE), Abu Musa Ashaari, one of the officials of the Caliph Umar in Basrah, complained about the absence of any years on the correspondence he received from Umar, making it difficult for him to determine which instructions were most recent. This report convinced Umar of the need to introduce an era for Muslims. After debating the issue with his counsellors, he decided that the first year should be the year of Muhammad's arrival at Medina (known as Yathrib, before Muhammad's arrival). Uthman ibn Affan then suggested that the months begin with Muharram, in line with the established custom of the Arabs at that time. The years of the Islamic calendar thus began with the month of Muharram in the year of Muhammad's arrival at the city of Medina, even though the actual emigration took place in Safar and Rabi' I of the intercalated calendar, two months before the commencement of Muharram in the new fixed calendar.[2] Because of the Hijra, the calendar was named the Hijri calendar.

F A Shamsi (1984) postulated that the Arabic calendar was never intercalated. According to him, the first day of the first month of the new fixed Islamic calendar (1 Muharram AH 1) was no different from what was observed at the time. The day the Prophet moved from Quba' to Medina was originally 26 Rabi' I on the pre-Islamic calendar.[25] 1 Muharram of the new fixed calendar corresponded to Friday, 16 July 622 AD/CE, the equivalent civil tabular date (same daylight period) in the Julian calendar.[26][27] The Islamic day began at the preceding sunset on the evening of 15 July. This Julian date (16 July) was determined by medieval Muslim astronomers by projecting back in time their own tabular Islamic calendar, which had alternating 30- and 29-day months in each lunar year plus eleven leap days every 30 years. For example, al-Biruni mentioned this Julian date in the year 1000 AD/CE.[28] Although not used by either medieval Muslim astronomers or modern scholars to determine the Islamic epoch, the thin crescent moon would have also first become visible (assuming clouds did not obscure it) shortly after the preceding sunset on the evening of 15 July, 1.5 days after the associated dark moon (astronomical new moon) on the morning of 14 July.[29]

Though Cook and Crone in Hagarism: The Making of the Islamic World cite a coin from AH 17, the first surviving attested use of a Hijri calendar date alongside a date in another calendar (Coptic) is on a papyrus from Egypt in AH 22, PERF 558.

Astronomical considerations

Due to the fact that the Islamic calendar relies on certain variable methods of observation which are used to determine its month-start-dates, the start-dates of its months sometimes vary slightly from the month-start-dates of the astronomical lunar calendar, which are based directly on astronomical calculations. Still, the Islamic calendar seldom varies by more than three days from the astronomical-lunar-calendar system, and roughly approximates it. Both the Islamic calendar and the astronomical-lunar-calendar take no account of the solar year in their calculations, and thus both of these strictly lunar based calendar systems have no ability to reckon the timing of the four seasons of the year.

In the astronomical-lunar-calendar system, a year of 12 lunar months is 354.37 days long. In this calendar system, lunar months begin precisely at the time of the monthly "conjunction", when the Moon is located most directly between the Earth and the Sun. The month is defined as the average duration of a revolution of the Moon around the Earth (29.53 days). By convention, months of 30 days and 29 days succeed each other, adding up over two successive months to 59 full days. This leaves only a small monthly variation of 44 minutes to account for, which adds up to a total of 24 hours (i.e., the equivalent of one full day) in 2.73 years. To settle accounts, it is sufficient to add one day every three years to the lunar calendar, in the same way that one adds one day to the Gregorian calendar every four years.[30] The technical details of the adjustment are described in Tabular Islamic calendar.

The Islamic calendar, however, is based on a different set of conventions being used for the determination of the month-start-dates.[31] Each month still has either 29 or 30 days, but due to the variable method of observations employed, there is usually no discernible order in the sequencing of either 29 or 30 day month lengths. Traditionally, the first day of each month is the day (beginning at sunset) of the first sighting of the hilal (crescent moon) shortly after sunset. If the hilal is not observed immediately after the 29th day of a month (either because clouds block its view or because the western sky is still too bright when the moon sets), then the day that begins at that sunset is the 30th. Such a sighting has to be made by one or more trustworthy men testifying before a committee of Muslim leaders. Determining the most likely day that the hilal could be observed was a motivation for Muslim interest in astronomy, which put Islam in the forefront of that science for many centuries. Still, due to the fact that both lunar reckoning systems are ultimately based on the lunar cycle itself, both systems still do roughly correspond to one another, never being more than three days out of synchronisation with one another.

استهلال ماه رمضان در شهر قم، عکاس مصطفی معراجی، بلندی های بوستان علوی قم 12
Clerics observe the moon.

This traditional practice for the determination of the start-date of the month is still followed in the overwhelming majority of Muslim countries. Each Islamic state proceeds with its own monthly observation of the new moon (or, failing that, awaits the completion of 30 days) before declaring the beginning of a new month on its territory. But, the lunar crescent becomes visible only some 17 hours after the conjunction, and only subject to the existence of a number of favourable conditions relative to weather, time, geographic location, as well as various astronomical parameters.[32] Given the fact that the moon sets progressively later than the sun as one goes west, with a corresponding increase in its "age" since conjunction, Western Muslim countries may, under favorable conditions, observe the new moon one day earlier than eastern Muslim countries. Due to the interplay of all these factors, the beginning of each month differs from one Muslim country to another, during the 48 hour period following the conjunction. The information provided by the calendar in any country does not extend beyond the current month.

A number of Muslim countries try to overcome some of these difficulties by applying different astronomy-related rules to determine the beginning of months. Thus, Malaysia, Indonesia, and a few others begin each month at sunset on the first day that the moon sets after the sun (moonset after sunset). In Egypt, the month begins at sunset on the first day that the moon sets at least five minutes after the sun. A detailed analysis of the available data shows, however, that there are major discrepancies between what countries say they do on this subject, and what they actually do. In some instances, what a country says it does is impossible.[33][34]

Due to the somewhat variable nature of the Islamic calendar, in most Muslim countries, the Islamic calendar is used primarily for religious purposes, while the Solar-based Gregorian calendar is still used primarily for matters of commerce and agriculture.

Theological considerations

If the Islamic calendar were prepared using astronomical calculations, Muslims throughout the Muslim world could use it to meet all their needs, the way they use the Gregorian calendar today. But, there are divergent views on whether it is licit to do so.[35]

A majority of theologians oppose the use of calculations (beyond the constraint that each month must be not less than 29 nor more than 30 days) on the grounds that the latter would not conform with Muhammad's recommendation to observe the new moon of Ramadan and Shawal in order to determine the beginning of these months.[36][37][b]

However, some jurists see no contradiction between Muhammad's teachings and the use of calculations to determine the beginnings of lunar months.[38] They consider that Muhammad's recommendation was adapted to the culture of the times, and should not be confused with the acts of worship.[39][40][41]

Thus the jurists Ahmad Muhammad Shakir and Yusuf al-Qaradawi both endorsed the use of calculations to determine the beginning of all months of the Islamic calendar, in 1939 and 2004 respectively.[42][43] So did the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) in 2006[44][45] and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) in 2007.[46][47]

The major Muslim associations of France also announced in 2012 that they would henceforth use a calendar based on astronomical calculations, taking into account the criteria of the possibility of crescent sighting in any place on Earth.[48][49] But, shortly after the official adoption of this rule by the French Council of the Muslim Faith (CFCM) in 2013, the new leadership of the association decided, on the eve of Ramadan 2013, to follow the Saudi announcement rather than to apply the rule just adopted. This resulted in a division of the Muslim community of France, with some members following the new rule, and others following the Saudi announcement.

Isma'ili-Taiyebi Bohras having the institution of da'i al-mutlaq follow the tabular Islamic calendar (see section below) prepared on the basis of astronomical calculations from the days of Fatimid imams.

Astronomical 12-moon calendars

Islamic calendar of Turkey

Turkish Muslims use an Islamic calendar which is calculated several years in advance (currently up to 1444 AH/2022 CE) by the Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs (Diyanet İşleri Başkanlığı). From 1 Muharrem 1400 AH (21 November 1979) until 29 Zilhicce 1435 (24 October 2014) the computed Turkish lunar calendar was based on the following rule: "The lunar month is assumed to begin on the evening when, within some region of the terrestrial globe, the computed centre of the lunar crescent at local sunset is more than 5° above the local horizon and (geocentrically) more than 8° from the Sun." In the current rule the (computed) lunar crescent has to be above the local horizon of Ankara at sunset.[50]

Saudi Arabia's Umm al-Qura calendar

Saudi Arabia uses the sighting method to determine the beginning of each month of the Hijri calendar. Since AH 1419 (1998/99), several official hilal sighting committees have been set up by the government to determine the first visual sighting of the lunar crescent at the beginning of each lunar month. Nevertheless, the religious authorities also allow the testimony of less experienced observers and thus often announce the sighting of the lunar crescent on a date when none of the official committees could see it.

The country also uses the Umm al-Qura calendar, based on astronomical calculations, but this is restricted to administrative purposes. The parameters used in the establishment of this calendar underwent significant changes over the past decade.[51][52]

Before AH 1420 (before 18 April 1999), if the moon's age at sunset in Riyadh was at least 12 hours, then the day ending at that sunset was the first day of the month. This often caused the Saudis to celebrate holy days one or even two days before other predominantly Muslim countries, including the dates for the Hajj, which can only be dated using Saudi dates because it is performed in Mecca.

For AH 1420–22, if moonset occurred after sunset at Mecca, then the day beginning at that sunset was the first day of a Saudi month, essentially the same rule used by Malaysia, Indonesia, and others (except for the location from which the hilal was observed).

Since the beginning of AH 1423 (16 March 2002), the rule has been clarified a little by requiring the geocentric conjunction of the sun and moon to occur before sunset, in addition to requiring moonset to occur after sunset at Mecca. This ensures that the moon has moved past the sun by sunset, even though the sky may still be too bright immediately before moonset to actually see the crescent.

In 2007, the Islamic Society of North America, the Fiqh Council of North America and the European Council for Fatwa and Research announced that they will henceforth use a calendar based on calculations using the same parameters as the Umm al-Qura calendar to determine (well in advance) the beginning of all lunar months (and therefore the days associated with all religious observances). This was intended as a first step on the way to unify, at some future time, Muslims' calendars throughout the world.[53][54]

Since 1 October 2016, as a cost-cutting measure, Saudi Arabia no longer uses the Islamic calendar for paying the monthly salaries of government employees but the Gregorian calendar.[55][56]

Other calendars using the Islamic era

The Solar Hijri calendar is a solar calendar used in Iran and Afghanistan which counts its years from the Hijra or migration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD/CE.[57]

Tabular Islamic calendar

The Tabular Islamic calendar is a rule-based variation of the Islamic calendar, in which months are worked out by arithmetic rules rather than by observation or astronomical calculation. It has a 30-year cycle with 11 leap years of 355 days and 19 years of 354 days. In the long term, it is accurate to one day in about 2,500 solar years or 2,570 lunar years. It also deviates up to about one or two days in the short term.

Kuwaiti algorithm

Microsoft uses the "Kuwaiti algorithm", a variant of the tabular Islamic calendar,[58] to convert Gregorian dates to the Islamic ones. Microsoft claimed that the variant is based on a statistical analysis of historical data from Kuwait, however it matches a known tabular calendar.

Notable dates

Important dates in the Islamic (Hijri) year are:

  • 1 Muharram: Islamic New Year.
  • 10 Muharram: Day of Ashura. For Sunnis, the crossing of the Red Sea by Moses occurred on this day. For both Shias and Sunnis, the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali, the grandson of Muhammad, and his followers.
  • 12 Rabi al-Awwal: Mawlid or Birth of the Prophet for Sunnis.
  • 17 Rabi al-Awwal: Mawlid for Shias.
  • 27 Rajab: Isra and Mi'raj for the majority of Muslims.
  • 15 Sha'ban: Mid-Sha'ban, or Night of Forgiveness. For Twelvers, also the birthday of Muhammad al-Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam.
  • 1 Ramadan: First day of fasting.
  • 27 Ramadan: Nuzul al-Qur'an. The most probable day Muhammad received the first verses of the Quran. (17 Ramadan in Indonesia and Malaysia)
  • Last third of Ramadan which includes Laylat al-Qadr.
  • 1 Shawwal: Eid ul-Fitr.
  • 8–13 Dhu al-Hijjah: The Hajj to Mecca.
  • 9 Dhu al-Hijjah: Day of Arafa.
  • 10 Dhu al-Hijjah: Eid al-Adha.

Days considered important predominantly for Shia Muslims:

Days considered important for Sunni Muslims (especially in India & parts of Asia):

  • 6 Rajab: Urs of Moinuddin Chishti. Generally the sixth day of every month is celebrated and observed as Chatthi.
  • 11 Rabi' al-Akhir: Urs of Abdul-Qadir Gilani. Generally the 11th day of every month is celebrated and observed as Gyarvi.

Converting Hijri to Gregorian date or vice versa

Inscription of years by A.H.&A.D. eras
Civil and Hijri establishment dates of a library in Old City, Jerusalem

Conversions may be made by using the Tabular Islamic calendar, or, for greatest accuracy (one day in 15,186 years), via the Jewish calendar. Theoretically, the days of the months correspond in both calendars if the displacements which are a feature of the Jewish system are ignored. The table below gives, for nineteen years, the Muslim month which corresponds to the first Jewish month.

Year AD/CE Year AH Muslim
month
2011 1432 5
2012 1433 5
2013 1434 5
2014 1435 6
2015 1436 6
2016 1437 7
2017 1438 7
2018 1439 7
2019 1440 8
2020 1441 8
Year AD/CE Year AH Muslim
month
2021 1442 8
2022 1443 9
2023 1444 9
2024 1445 10
2025 1446 10
2026 1447 10
2027 1448 11
2028 1449 11
2029 1450 11

This table may be extended since every nineteen years the Muslim month number increases by seven. When it goes above twelve, subtract twelve and add one to the year AH. From 412 AD/CE to 632 AD/CE inclusive the month number is 1 and the calculation gives the month correct to a month or so. 622 AD/CE corresponds to BH 1 and AH 1. For earlier years, year BH = (623 or 622) – year AD/CE).

An example calculation: What is the civil date and year AH of the first day of the first month in the year 20875 AD/CE?

We first find the Muslim month number corresponding to the first month of the Jewish year which begins in 20874 AD/CE. Dividing 20874 by 19 gives quotient 1098 and remainder 12. Dividing 2026 by 19 gives quotient 106 and remainder 12. 2026 is chosen because it gives the same remainder on division by 19 as 20874. The two years are therefore (1098–106)=992×19 years apart. The Muslim month number corresponding to the first Jewish month is therefore 992×7=6944 higher than in 2026. To convert into years and months divide by twelve – 6944/12=578 years and 8 months. Adding, we get 1447y 10m + 20874y – 2026y + 578y 8m = 20874y 6m. Therefore, the first month of the Jewish year beginning in 20874 AD/CE corresponds to the sixth month of the Muslim year AH 20874. The worked example in Conversion between Jewish and civil dates, shows that the civil date of the first day of this month (ignoring the displacements) is Friday, 14 June. The year AH 20875 will therefore begin seven months later, on the first day of the eighth Jewish month, which the worked example shows to be 7 January, 20875 AD/CE (again ignoring the displacements). The date given by this method, being calculated, may differ by a day from the actual date, which is determined by observation.

A reading of the section which follows will show that the year AH 20875 is wholly contained within the year 20875 AD/CE, also that in the Gregorian calendar this correspondence will occur one year earlier. The reason for the discrepancy is that the Gregorian year (like the Julian, though less so) is slightly too long, so the Gregorian date for a given AH date will be earlier and the Muslim calendar catches up sooner.

Current correlations

An Islamic year will be entirely within a Gregorian year of the same number in the year 20874, after which year the number of the Islamic year will always be greater than the number of the concurrent civil year. The Islamic calendar year of 1429 occurred entirely within the civil calendar year of 2008. Such years occur once every 33 or 34 Islamic years (32 or 33 civil years). More are listed here:

 Islamic year within civil year 
Islamic Civil Difference
1060 1650 590
1093 1682 589
1127 1715 588
1161 1748 587
1194 1780 586
1228 1813 585
1261 1845 584
1295 1878 583
1329 1911 582
1362 1943 581
1396 1976 580
1429 2008 579
1463 2041 578
1496 2073 577
1530 2106 576
1564 2139 575

Because a Hijri or Islamic lunar year is between 10 and 12 days shorter than a civil year, it begins 10–12 days earlier in the civil year following the civil year in which the previous Hijri year began. Once every 33 or 34 Hijri years, or once every 32 or 33 civil years, the beginning of a Hijri year (1 Muharram) coincides with one of the first ten days of January. Subsequent Hijri New Years move backward through the civil year back to the beginning of January again, passing through each civil month from December to January.

Uses

The Islamic calendar is now used primarily for religious purposes, and for official dating of public events and documents in Muslim countries. Because of its nature as a purely lunar calendar, it cannot be used for agricultural purposes and historically Islamic communities have used other calendars for this purpose: the Egyptian calendar was formerly widespread in Islamic countries, and the Iranian calendar and the 1789 Ottoman calendar (a modified Julian calendar) were also used for agriculture in their countries. In the Levant and Iraq the Aramaic names of the Babylonian calendar are still used for all secular matters. In Morocco, the Berber calendar (another Julian calendar) is still used by farmers in the countryside.[59] These local solar calendars have receded in importance with the near-universal adoption of the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes. The Saudi Arabia uses the lunar Islamic calendar.[60] In Indonesia, the Javanese calendar, created by Sultan Agung in 1633, combines elements of the Islamic and pre-Islamic Saka calendars.

British author Nicholas Hagger writes that after seizing control of Libya, Muammar Gaddafi "declared" on 1 December 1978 "that the Muslim calendar should start with the death of the prophet Mohammed in 632 rather than the hijra (Mohammed's 'emigration' from Mecca to Medina) in 622". This put the country ten solar years behind the standard Muslim calendar.[61] However, according to the 2006 Encyclopedia of the Developing World, "More confusing still is Qaddafi's unique Libyan calendar, which counts the years from the Prophet's birth, or sometimes from his death. The months July and August, named after Julius and Augustus Caesar, are now Nasser and Hannibal respectively."[62] Reflecting on a 2001 visit to the country, American reporter Neil MacFarquhar observed, "Life in Libya was so unpredictable that people weren't even sure what year it was. The year of my visit was officially 1369. But just two years earlier Libyans had been living through 1429. No one could quite name for me the day the count changed, especially since both remained in play. ... Event organizers threw up their hands and put the Western year in parentheses somewhere in their announcements."[63]

Computer support

  • Hijri support was available in later versions of traditional Visual Basic, and is also available in the .NET Framework.
  • Since the release of Java 8, the Islamic calendar is supported in the new Date and Time API.

See also

References

  1. ^ The Beginning of Hijri calendar – Paul Lunde, Saudi Aramco World Magazine (November/December 2005), retrieved 1/1/2019
  2. ^ a b Watt, W. Montgomery. "Hidjra". In P.J. Bearman; Th. Bianquis; C.E. Bosworth; E. van Donzel; W.P. Heinrichs. Encyclopaedia of Islam Online. Brill Academic Publishers. ISSN 1573-3912.
  3. ^ Hijri Calendar, Government of Sharjah, retrieved 21 January 2017.
  4. ^ Islamic Finder, Hijra calendar
  5. ^ a b c d F.C. De Blois, "TA’RĪKH": I.1.iv. "Pre-Islamic and agricultural calendars of the Arabian peninsula", The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd edition, X:260.
  6. ^ a b c A. Moberg, "NASI'", The Encyclopaedia of Islam, 2nd, VII: 977.
  7. ^ a b c Abu Ma'shar al-Balkhi (787–886), Kitab al-Uluf, Journal Asiatique, series 5, xi (1858) 168+. (in French) (in Arabic)
  8. ^ For an overview of the various theories and a discussion of the problem of "hindsight chronology" in early and pre-Islamic sources, see Maurice A. McPartlan, The Contribution of Qu'rān and Hadīt to Early Islamic Chronology (Durham, 1997).
  9. ^ Mahmud Effendi (1858), as discussed in Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan calendars (London: 1901), pp. 460–470.
  10. ^ According to "Tradition", repeatedly cited by F.C. De Blois.
  11. ^ Muḥammad al-Khuḍarī Bayk (1935). Muḥāḍarāt tārīkh al-Umam al-Islāmiyya. 2 (4th ed.). Al-maktaba al-tijāriyya. pp. 59–60.
  12. ^ The Encyclopedia of Islam, 2nd edition, Index, p. 441.
  13. ^ a b c d al-Biruni (tr. C. Edward Sachau. "Intercalation of the Ancient Arabs", The Chronology of Ancient Nations. London: William H. Allen, 1000/1879. pp. 13–14, 73–74.
  14. ^ A. Moberg, "NASI'", E.J. Brill's first encyclopaedia of Islam.
  15. ^ Bab. Talmud, Sanhedrin, p. 11.
  16. ^ Bonner 2011, page 21.
  17. ^ al-Biruni, The chronology of ancient nations, tr. C. Edward Sachau (1000/1879) 141.
  18. ^ From an illustrated manuscript of Al-Biruni's 11th-century Vestiges of the Past (Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, Arabe 1489 fol. 5v. (Bibliothèque Nationale on-line catalog). See also: Robert Hillenbrand, "Images of Muhammad in al-Bīrūnī's Chronology of Ancient Nations", in: R. Hillenbrand (ed.), Persian Painting from the Mongols to the Qajars: Studies in Honour of Basil W. Robinson (London/New York: I.B. Tauris Publishers, 2000), pp. 129–46.
  19. ^ Quran 9:36–37
  20. ^ Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan calendars (London: 1901) 370.
  21. ^ "Center for Muslim-Jewish Engagement". usc.edu. Archived from the original on 28 August 2014.
  22. ^ Richards, E. G. (2012). "Calendars" (PDF). In Urban, Sean E.; Seidelmann, P. Kenneth. Explanatory Supplement to the Astronomical Almanac. Mill Valley, CA: University Science Books. p. 606. ISBN 978-1-891389-85-6.
  23. ^ Hanif, Muhammad (18 February 2010). "The significance of the 12th of Rabi al - Awwal". Minhaj - ul - Quran. Retrieved 14 June 2016.
  24. ^ Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan calendars (1901) 376.
  25. ^ Chronology of Prophetic Events, Fazlur Rehman Shaikh (2001) p.52 Ta-Ha Publishers Ltd.
  26. ^ Sherrard Beaumont Burnaby, Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan calendars (1901) pp.373–5, 382–4.
  27. ^ "Calendrica". Archived from the original on 16 February 2005.
  28. ^ al-Biruni, The chronology of ancient nations, tr. C. Edward Sachau (1000/1879) 327.
  29. ^ "NASA phases of the moon 601–700". Archived from the original on 8 October 2010.
  30. ^ Emile Biémont, Rythmes du temps, Astronomie et calendriers, De Borck, 2000, 393p.
  31. ^ "tabsir.net".
  32. ^ Karim Meziane et Nidhal Guessoum: La visibilité du croissant lunaire et le ramadan, La Recherche n° 316, janvier 1999, pp. 66–71.
  33. ^ "Calculations or Sighting for starting an Islamic month". www.moonsighting.com. Archived from the original on 8 May 2017. Retrieved 16 April 2017.
  34. ^ Oumma (23 June 2010). "Le mois islamique est-il universel ou national ?". Oumma.
  35. ^ Allal el Fassi : "Aljawab assahih wannass-hi al-khaliss ‘an nazilati fas wama yata’allaqo bimabda-i acchouhouri al-islamiyati al-arabiyah", "[...] and the beginning of Islamic Arab months", report prepared at the request of King Hassan II of Morocco, Rabat, 1965 (36 p.), with no indication of editor.
  36. ^ Muhammad Mutawalla al-Shaârawi : Fiqh al-halal wal haram (edited by Ahmad Azzaâbi), Dar al-Qalam, Beyrouth, 2000, p. 88.
  37. ^ "Interpretation of the Meaning of The Noble Quran Translated into the English Language By Dr. Muhammad Taqi-ud-Din Al-Hilali Ph.D. & Dr. Muhammad Muhsin Khan". Archived from the original on 27 January 2010.
  38. ^ Abderrahman al-Haj : "The faqih, the politician and the determination of lunar months" (in arabic)
  39. ^ Allal el Fassi : "Aljawab assahih..." op. cit.
  40. ^ The dynasty of Fatimids in Egypt used a tabular pre-calculated calendar over a period of two centuries, between the 10th and 12th centuries, before a change of political regime reactivated the procedure of observation of the new moon.
  41. ^ "The Islamic Calendar".
  42. ^ "أوائل الشهور العربية .. هل يجوز شرعاً إثباتها".
  43. ^ For a detailed discussion of Shakir's legal opinion on the subject, see "Issue N° 9" in Khalid Chraibi: Issues in the Islamic Calendar, Tabsir.net
  44. ^ "Fiqh Council of North America Islamic lunar calendar". Archived from the original on 16 May 2008.
  45. ^ "Zulfikar Ali Shah The astronomical calculations: a fiqhi discussion" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 August 2008.
  46. ^ "Islamic Center of Boston, Wayland" (PDF).
  47. ^ For a detailed discussion of the issues and the FCNA and ECFR positions, see : Khalid Chraibi: Can the Umm al Qura calendar serve as a global Islamic calendar? Tabsir.net
  48. ^ Oumma (19 July 2012). "Le Conseil Français du Culte Musulman (CFCM): Ramadan moubarak!". Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  49. ^ Nidhal Guessoum (5 July 2012). "Quel sera le premier jour du mois de Ramadan 2012? (On which date will Ramadan 2012 begin?)". Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  50. ^ "The Islamic Calendar of Turkey".
  51. ^ "Crescent sighting using the Uml al Qura calendar in Saudi Arabia" (PDF). (268 KB)
  52. ^ "The Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia".
  53. ^ "Log in - Meetup". progmuslim.meetup.com.
  54. ^ "tabsir.net".
  55. ^ "Saudi Arabia adopts Gregorian calendar". 8 October 2016.
  56. ^ The prince’s time machine: Saudi Arabia adopts the Gregorian calendar The Economist, Dec 17th 2016.
  57. ^ Persian Pilgrimages by Afshin Molavi. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2012-08-11.
  58. ^ The "Kuwaiti Algorithm" (Robert van Gent).
  59. ^ Gast, M.; Delheur, J.; E.B. "Calendrier". Encyclopédie Berbère, 11 (Bracelets – Caprarienses) (in French). OpenEdition. Retrieved 5 July 2018.
  60. ^ the start of each lunar month determined not ahead of time by astronomical calculation, but only after the crescent moon is sighted by the proper religious authorities. (source: Tripp, Culture Shock, 2009: p.154-5).
  61. ^ Hagger, Nicholas (2009). The Libyan Revolution: Its Origins and Legacy. Winchester, UK: O Books. p. 109.
  62. ^ Encyclopedia of the Developing World (2007), volume 3, p. 1338.
  63. ^ Neil MacFarquhar (2010). The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday: Unexpected Encounters in the Changing Middle East. ReadHowYouWant. ISBN 978-1-4587-6009-8. pages 37–38.

Notes

  1. ^ exact dates depend on which variant of the Islamic calendar is followed.
  2. ^ Some theologians also interpret Surah al-Baqarah 2:185 as requiring direct sighting, but they represent only a minority. The Quranic verse reads as follows : "185. The month of Ramadân in which was revealed the Qur'ân, a guidance for mankind and clear proofs for the guidance and the criterion (between right and wrong). So whoever of you sights (the crescent on the first night of) the month (of Ramadân i.e., is present at his home), he must observe Saum (fasts) that month, and whoever is ill or on a journey, the same number [of days which one did not observe Saum (fasts) must be made up] from other days. God intends for you ease, and He does not want to make things difficult for you. (He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify God [i.e., to say Takbîr ("Allāhu-Akbar", [i.e.] "God is the Most Great") on seeing the crescent of the months of Ramadân and Shawwâl] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him."

External links

Dhu al-Hijjah

Dhu'l-Hijjah or alternatively Zulhijja (Arabic: ذو الحجة‎; properly transliterated, also called Zil-Hajj) is the twelfth and final month in the Islamic calendar. It is a very sacred month in the Islamic calendar, one in which the Hajj (pilgrimage) takes place as well as the Festival of the Sacrifice.

"Dhu al-Hijjah" literally means "Possessor of the Pilgrimage" or "The Month of the Pilgrimage". During this month Muslim pilgrims from all around the world congregate at Mecca to visit the Kaaba. The Hajj is performed on the eighth, ninth and the tenth of this month. Day of Arafah takes place on the ninth of the month. Eid al-Adha, the "Festival of the Sacrifice", begins on the tenth day and ends on sunset of the 13th.

Fasli calendar

Fasli Calendar or Fasli era, Fasli (Urdu: فصلی‎, Arabic: فصلى‎) and (English: meaning Harvest) it is an Arabic word Imported to Urdu language.Fasli year means period of 12 months from July to June. Adding 590 to Fasli year comes to Gregorian calendar, corresponding Gregorian year for Fasli year 1410 was from July 2000-June 2001.

Hijri year

The Hijri year (Arabic: سَنة هِجْريّة‎) or era (التقويم الهجري at-taqwīm al-hijrī) is the era used in the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins its count from the Islamic New Year in 622 CE. During that year, Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Yathrib (now Medina). This event, known as the Hijra, is commemorated in Islam for its role in the founding of the first Muslim community (ummah).

In the West, this era is most commonly denoted as AH (Latin: Anno Hegirae , "in the year of the Hijra") in parallel with the Christian (AD), Common (CE) and Jewish eras (AM) and can similarly be placed before or after the date. In Muslim countries, it is also commonly abbreviated H ("Hijra") from its Arabic abbreviation hāʾ (هـ). Years prior to AH 1 are reckoned in English as BH ("Before the Hijra"), which should follow the date.Because the Islamic lunar calendar has only 354 or 355 days in its year, it slowly rotates relative to the Gregorian year. The year 2019 CE corresponds to the Islamic years AH 1440 – 1441. AH 1440 corresponds to 2018 – 2019 in the Common Era.

Islamic New Year

The Islamic New Year, also known as Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year (Arabic: رأس السنة الهجرية‎ Raʼs al-Sanah al-Hijrīyah), is the day that marks the beginning of a new Hijri year, and is the day on which the year count is incremented. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The epoch (reference date) of the Islamic era was set as 622 Common Era (CE), the year of the emigration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra. All religious duties, such as prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage, and the dates of significant events, such as celebration of holy nights and festivals, are calculated according to the Islamic calendar.

While some Islamic organizations prefer determining the new month (and hence the new year) by local sightings of the moon, most Islamic institutions and countries, including Saudi Arabia, follow astronomical calculations to determine future dates of the Islamic calendar. There are various schema for calculating the tabular Islamic calendar (i.e. not based on observation), which results in differences of typically one or even two days between countries using such schema and those that use lunar sightings. For example, the Umm al-Qura calendar used in Saudi Arabia was reformed several times in recent years. The current scheme was introduced in 1423 AH (15 March 2002).A day in the Islamic calendar is defined as beginning at sunset. For example, 1 Muharram 1432 was defined to correspond to 7 or 8 December 2010 in official calendars (depending on the country). For an observation-based calendar, a sighting of the new moon at sunset of 6 December would mean that 1 Muharram lasted from the moment of sunset of 6 December to the moment of sunset of 7 December, while in places where the new moon was not sighted on 6 December, 1 Muharram would last from the moment of sunset of 7 December to the moment of sunset of 8 December.

Islamic holidays

There are two official holidays in Islam: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha.

Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting during daylight hours), and Muslims may invoke zakat (charity) on the occasion which begins after the new moon sighting for the beginning of Shawal. The Eid al-Fitr celebration begins with prayers the morning of the 1st of Shawal, and is followed by breakfast, and often celebratory meals throughout the day.

Eid Al-Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah when Hajj (pilgrimage) takes place, and lasts for four days. Muslims may invoke an act of zakat and friendship by the slaughter of a sheep and distribute its meat in 3 parts: among family, friends, and the poor. Muslims are also encouraged to be especially friendly and reach out to one another during this period.

Both of the holidays occur in the lunar based Islamic calendar which is different from the solar based Gregorian calendar. The Islamic calendar is based on the synodic period of the Moon's revolution around the Earth, approximately 29​1⁄2 days. The Islamic calendar alternates months of 29 and 30 days (which begin with the new moon). Twelve of these months make up an Islamic year, which is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year. The Gregorian calendar is based on the orbital period of the Earth's revolution around the Sun, approximately days.

Javanese calendar

The Javanese calendar (Javanese: ꦥꦤꦁꦒꦭꦚ꧀ꦗꦮ, translit. Pananggalan Jawa) is the calendar of the Javanese people. It is used concurrently with two other calendars, the Gregorian calendar and the Islamic calendar. The Gregorian calendar is the official calendar of the Republic of Indonesia and civil society, while the Islamic calendar is used by Muslims and the Indonesian government for religious worship and deciding relevant Islamic holidays.

The Javanese calendar is used by the main ethnicities of Java island—that is, the Javanese, Madurese, and Sundanese people—primarily as a cultural icon and identifier, and as a maintained tradition of antiquity. The Javanese calendar is used for cultural, metaphysical, and spiritual purposes.The current system of the Javanese calendar was inaugurated by Sultan Agung of Mataram in the Gregorian year 1633 CE. Prior to this, the Javanese had used the Hindu calendar (Saka), which begins in 78 CE and uses the solar cycle for calculating time. Sultan Agung's calendar retained the Saka calendar year system of counting, but differs by using the same lunar year measurement system as the Islamic calendar, rather than the solar year. Occasionally, the Javanese calendar is referred to by its Latin name Anno Javanico or AJ (Javanese Year).

Jumada al-Thani

Jumada al-Thani (Arabic: جمادى الثاني‎, also transliterated Ǧumādā aṮ-Ṯānī, IPA: [d͡ʒʊˈmæːdæ θˈθæːniː]; also pronounced Ǧamādā aṮ-Ṯānī, IPA: [d͡ʒæˈmæːdæ θˈθæːniː]) is the sixth month in the Islamic Calendar.

It is also known as Jumaada al-Akhir and Jumada al-Akhira (جمادى الآخر, also transliterated Ǧumādā al-ʾĀḫir/jumādā al-āḵir, IPA: [d͡ʒʊˈmæːdæ lˈʔæːxɪr]; also pronounced Ǧamādā alʾĀḫir/jamādā al-āḵir, IPA: [d͡ʒæˈmæːdæ lˈʔæːxɪr]).

This is the sixth month of the Islamic calendar. The origin of the word is as follows: the word Jumda, from which the name of the month is derived, is used to denote dry parched land: land devoid of rain, and hence denote the dry months.

Lunar calendar

A lunar calendar is a calendar based upon the monthly cycles of the Moon's phases (synodic months), in contrast to solar calendars, whose annual cycles are based only directly upon the solar year. The most commonly used calendar, the Gregorian calendar, is a solar calendar system that originally evolved out of a lunar calendar system. A purely lunar calendar is also distinguished from a lunisolar calendar, whose lunar months are brought into alignment with the solar year through some process of intercalation. The details of when months begin varies from calendar to calendar, with some using new, full, or crescent moons and others employing detailed calculations.

Since each lunation is approximately ​29 1⁄2 days (29 days, 12 hours, 44 minutes, 3 seconds, or 29.530588 days), it is common for the months of a lunar calendar to alternate between 29 and 30 days. Since the period of twelve such lunations, a lunar year, is only 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 34 seconds (354.367056 days), purely lunar calendars lose around 11 days per year relative to the Gregorian calendar. In purely lunar calendars like the Islamic calendar, the lack of intercalation causes the lunar months to cycle through all the seasons of the Gregorian year over the course of a 33 lunar-year cycle.

Although the Gregorian calendar is in common and legal use in most countries, traditional lunar and lunisolar calendars continue to be used throughout the Old World to determine religious festivals and national holidays. Examples of such holidays include Ramadan (Islamic calendar); Easter; the Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian New Year (Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, and Mongolian calendars); the Nepali New Year (Nepali calendar); the Mid-Autumn Festival and Chuseok (Chinese and Korean calendars); Loi Krathong (Thai calendar); Sunuwar calendar; Vesak/Buddha's Birthday (Buddhist calendar); Diwali (Hindu calendars); and Rosh Hashanah (Hebrew calendar).

Muharram

Muḥarram (Arabic: مُحَرَّم‎) is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is one of the four sacred months of the year during which warfare is forbidden. It is held to be the second holiest month, after Ramaḍān. Since the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar, Muharram moves from year to year when compared with the Gregorian calendar.

The tenth day of Muharram is known as the Day of Ashura, part of the Mourning of Muharram for Shia Muslims and a day of fasting for Sunni Muslims. The practice of fasting during Ashura stems from the hadith that Musa (Moses) and his people obtained a victory over the Egyptian Pharaoh on the 10th day of Muharram; accordingly Muhammad asked Muslims to fast on this day and on the day prior, the Day of Tasu'a.

Shia Muslims mourn the death of Ḥusayn ibn ʿAlī and his family, honoring the martyrs by prayer and abstinence from joyous events. Shia Muslims do not fast on the 10th of Muharram, but some will not eat or drink until zawal (afternoon) to show their sympathy with Husayn. In addition there is an important ziyarat book, the Ziyarat Ashura about Husayn ibn Ali. In the Shia sect, it is popular to read this ziyarat on this date.

November

November is the eleventh and penultimate month of the year in the Julian and Gregorian Calendars, the fourth and last of four months to have a length of 30 days, and the fifth and last of five months to have a length of less than 31 days. November was the ninth month of the ancient Roman calendar. November retained its name (from the Latin novem meaning "nine") when January and February were added to the Roman calendar.

November is a month of late spring in the Southern Hemisphere and late autumn in the Northern Hemisphere. Therefore, November in the Southern Hemisphere is the seasonal equivalent of May in the Northern Hemisphere and vice versa. In Ancient Rome, Ludi Plebeii was held from November 4–17, Epulum Jovis was held on November 13, and Brumalia celebrations began on November 24. These dates do not correspond to the modern Gregorian calendar.

November was referred to as Blōtmōnaþ by the Anglo-Saxons. Brumaire and Frimaire were the months on which November fell in the French Republican Calendar.

Rabi' al-awwal

Rabīʿ al-Awwal (ربيع الأوّل) is the third month in the Islamic calendar. During this month, many Muslims celebrate Mawlid - the birthday of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad. Although the exact date is unknown, Sunni Muslims believe the date of birth of Muhammad to have been on the twelfth of this month, whereas Shi'a Muslims believe him to have been born on the dawn of the seventeenth day. Muhammad himself never celebrated the mawlid, instead encouraged Muslims to fast on Mondays of every week due to his birthday being “on a Monday”. The name Rabī‘ al-awwal means the first [month] or beginning of spring, referring to its position in the pre-Islamic Arabian calendar.

Rajab

Rajab (Arabic: رجب‎) is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. The lexical definition of Rajaba is "to respect", of which Rajab is a derivative. This month is regarded as one of the four sacred months in Islam in which battles are prohibited. The pre-Islamic Arabs also considered warfare blasphemous during the four months.Muslims believe Rajab is the month in which ‘Alī ibn Abī Tālib, the first Imam of Shia Islam and Fourth Caliph of Sunni Islam, was born inside the Kaaba, the most sacred place of worship for Muslims. Rajab is also the month during which Isra' Mi'raj (journey from Mecca to Jerusalem and then to heaven) of the Islamic prophet, Muhammad, took place.

Rajab and Shaʿbān are a prelude to the holy month of Ramaḍān.

Ramadan (calendar month)

Ramadan (Arabic: رمضان) or Ramadhan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Islamic prophet Muhammad.

Fasting during the month of Ramadan is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. The month is spent by Muslims fasting during the daylight hours from dawn to sunset. According to Islam, the Quran was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month, thus being prepared for gradual revelation by Jibreel (Gabriel) to Muhammad. Therefore, Muhammad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open for the entire month and the gates of Hell (Jahannam) would be closed. The first day of the next month, Shawwal, is spent in celebration and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast" or Eid al-Fitr.

Safar

Ṣafar (Arabic: صفر‎) is the second month of the lunar based Islamic calendar. The Arabic word ṣafar means "empty", corresponding to the pre-Islamic Arabian time period when people’s houses were empty, as they were out gathering food. Ṣafar also means "whistling of the wind", as this was likely a windy time of year. Most of the Islamic months are named according to weather conditions of the time; however, since the calendar is lunar, the months shift about 11 days every year, meaning that the seasons do not necessarily correspond to the name of the month.

Sha'ban

Sha'ban (Arabic: شَعْبَان‎, translit. sha‘bān) is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar.

This is the month of "separation", so called because the pagan Arabs used to disperse in search of water.

The fifteenth night of this month is known as the "Night of Records" (Laylat al-Bara'at). However, observance of this day is disputed.Sha'ban is the last lunar month before Ramadan, and so Muslims determine in it when the first day of Ramadan fasting will be.

Shawwal

Shawwāl (Arabic: شوّال‎) is the tenth month of the lunar based Islamic calendar. Shawwāl means to 'lift or carry'; so named because a female camel normally would be carrying a fetus at this time of year.

Solar Hijri calendar

The Solar Hijri calendar (Persian: گاه‌شماری هجری خورشیدی‎, translit. gāh-shomāri-ye hejri-ye khorshidi; Pashto: لمريز لېږدیز کلیز‎), also called the Solar Hejri calendar or Shamsi Hijri calendar, and abbreviated as SH, is the official calendar of Iran and Afghanistan. It begins on the March equinox (Nowruz) as determined by astronomical calculation for the Iran Standard Time meridian (52.5°E, UTC+03:30) and has years of 365 or 366 days.

Its determination of the start of each year is astronomically accurate year-to-year as opposed to the more fixed Gregorian calendar or "Common Era calendar" which, averaged out, has the same year length, achieving the same accuracy (a more simply patterned calendar of 365 days for three consecutive years plus an extra day in the next year, save for exceptions to the latter in three out of every four centuries). The start of the year and its number of days remain fixed to one of the two equinoxes, the astronomically important days which have the same duration of day as night. It results in less variability of all celestial bodies when comparing a specific calendar date from one year to others.Each of the twelve months corresponds with a zodiac sign. The first six months have 31 days, the next five have 30 days, and the last month has 29 days in usual years but 30 days in leap years. The New Year's Day always falls on the March equinox.

Tabular Islamic calendar

The Tabular Islamic calendar (an example is the Fatimid or Misri calendar) is a rule-based variation of the Islamic calendar. It has the same numbering of years and months, but the months are determined by arithmetical rules rather than by observation or astronomical calculations. It was developed by early Muslim astronomers of the second hijra century (the 8th century of the Common Era) to provide a predictable time base for calculating the positions of the moon, sun, and planets. It is now used by historians to convert an Islamic date into a Western calendar when no other information (like the day of the week) is available. Its calendar era is the Hijri year.

It is used by some Muslims in everyday life, particularly in Ismaili communities, believing that this calendar was developed by Ali. It is believed that when Ali drew up this calendar, the previous events of the earlier prophets also fell into line with this calendar. It is their belief that all Fatimid Imams and their Da'is have followed this tradition.

Each year has 12 months. The odd numbered months have 30 days and the even numbered months have 29 days, except in a leap year when the 12th and final month Dhul-Hijjah has 30 days.

Timeline of Islamic history

This timeline of Islamic history relates the Gregorian and Islamic calendars in the history of Islam. This timeline starts with the lifetime of Muhammad, which is believed by non-Muslims to be when Islam started, though not by Muslims.

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