History behind the Islamic calendar

History behind the Islamic calendar

All praise to Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala that once again we are entering a new year. Every New Year starts with splendour and brings with it new hopes, new happiness and new resolutions. But by the end of it, we feel that we have achieved nothing. We need to learn from the past years to make our future years more fruitful. In this book we will look at some practical ways of attaining this. But first we shall understand the concept of months and years in Islam.

As we follow the lunar calendar, let us learn the significance of the motion of the moon and how it affects us. Allah Ta’ala states in the Holy Qur’an:


It is He Who created the sun radiating and the moon shining and appointed positions for it, for you to know the number of the years, and the account; Allah has not created it except with the truth; He explains the verses in detail for the people of knowledge. [Surah Yunus]


They ask you, (O dear Prophet Mohammed – Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam), regarding the crescents (moon); say, “They are indicators of time for mankind and for Hajj (the pilgrimage)

In the above verses it is indicated that the movement of the moon helps us establish the system of time, years and also its account.

My beloved Prophet Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam’s beloved devotees! Qu’ran is the complete code of conduct, which guides us in every aspect of our life. We need to organise our time in such a way that we can do our day to day business, worship and also have enough rest. These days we divide our time according to hours and minutes but in the olden days there were no clocks and no such concept of time. Then how did people in those days manage their time and schedule? The answer lies in the Holy Qur’an where Allah Ta’ala has guided us that the rotation and revolution of the sun and the moon is not only the source of energy and light but it also helps to determine the time for Hajj and other purposes. Even the modern concept of time that we use today is based on the movement of the sun and the moon.

Unfortunately there are people who try to paint Islam as a backward religion. They boast about their developments in science and technology, but they need to see how Allah Ta’ala, more than fourteen centuries ago, outlined the purpose of the sun and moon and highlighted the concept of time.  And in the same way, Qur’an has provided the base for all the research and developments that we see today.

After reading briefly about the moon and its significance, it would be beneficial to look at the system of months in Islam. The twelve months that we know of is not the invention of any scientist but it is from Allah Ta’ala and it has been continuing since the day Allah created the heavens and the lands. Allah Ta’ala states,


‘Indeed the number of months before Allah is twelve – in the Book of Allah – since the day He created the heavens and the earth, of which four are sacred; this the straight religion; so do not wrong yourselves in those months; and constantly fight against the polytheists as they constantly fight against you; and know well that Allah is with the pious.’ [Taubah 9:36]

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