We find out more about a society and its culture through its traditions and customs. We learn about them through their form of worship and how they live. All of these mentioned practices are linked to their calendar.
Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has given the Muslims their own identity by providing a separate calendar to them and this been mentioned in the Qur’an:
اِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُوْرِ عِنْدَ اللّٰهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ شَهْرًا فِیْ كِتٰبِ اللّٰهِ یَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الْاَرْضَ
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth;
These months existed even before the time of the Prophet ﷺ. After the death of the Prophet ﷺ, Umar Farooq (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) felt it was important to compile this calendar and attach it to an important event in the Muslim history. When the Companions heard this, they began giving their opinion as to what that event could be. The most appropriate suggestion was from Ali (رَضِيَ ٱللَّٰهُ عَنْهُ) who said the most significant event was the hijrah (the journey from Makkah to Medina) of the Prophet ﷺ as hijrah was what caused a major shift in the Islamic history. It was only after hijrah did Islam find its place and Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) caused it to rise. Hijrah laid the foundation of creating an Islamic Republic. The Prophet ﷺ as well as the Companions sacrificed a lot for this change but this is what led to a shift in the Islamic position. Hence, Hijrah was what was selected to mark the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
The months were left the same as what the Arabs used to follow. These months are twelve in number. The Prophet ﷺ continued to use the same name for the months of the new Islamic calendar.
Why is the Hijri Calendar considered as an identity of the Muslims?
- First of all, the calendar is related to the hijrah itself
- Secondly, since Muslims love the Prophet ﷺ and they want to follow in his ﷺ footsteps, they will continue to have an identity for as long as they choose to stay connected to the Islamic calendar, they will stay on the right path.
- This calendar informs of all the days of worship that Muslims need to follow.
In the Qur’an it is said:
يَسْأَلُونَكَ عَنِ الْأَهِلَّةِ ۖ قُلْ هِيَ مَوَاقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَالْحَجِّ ۗ وَلَيْسَ الْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّ الْبِرَّ مَنِ اتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَأْتُوا الْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَابِهَا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about the new moons. Say, “They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj.” And it is not righteousness to enter houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah. And enter houses from their doors. And fear Allah that you may succeed.
Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has clarified that the calendar that has been given to the Muslims is connected to the days of worship. Whether it is Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-ul-Adha or Hajj are all days that are identified through the Islamic Calendar.
The days of Ayyam al Beed which are the fast of the lunar days of 13, 14 and 15 of each month have to be given through the calendar and the Islamic dates in that calendar.
The four sacred months are identified through the Islamic Calendar. Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) says in the Qur’an:
مِنْهَاۤ اَرْبَعَةٌ حُرُمٌ
of these, four are sacred
These are the following:
- Dhul Qadah
- Dhul Hijjah
Hence, all our days of worship are given to us through the calendar. This is the Islamic tradition and the Islamic way of life. If we do choose not to follow the Islamic Calendar and choose to rely on just the Gregorian one, we will forget the Islamic traditions and the following of the Prophet ﷺ. We will also lose our identity as Muslims. We will never remember or recall the Islamic history.
The Hijri Calendar is according to the nature of man. The moon is sighted to mark the beginning and the ending of the month. If we were to lose all track of time, for the Muslims, the moon and its size will always remain as a tool to mark the date.
Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has kept the lunar calendar rotational in such a manner that the month of Ramadan falls in a cyclical way. Ramadan can fall in the summer and then eventually would fall in the winter. This creates balance for all those who are fasting throughout the world. Otherwise if it was constant then one geographical location would continue to benefit from the short hours of fasting during Ramadan as it would fall in the winter and the other area would continuously witness the long Ramadan fasts of the summer
Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) has created such a beautiful balance and discipline to the world. The Gregorian calendar, on the other hand, it takes us away from the days of workship and also steers us away from our belief system.
The Gregorian calendar was introduced in October 1582 by a Christian man called Pope Gregory XIII. The original goal of the Gregorian calendar was to change the date of Easter. Hence, the origin of the calendar is with the purpose of propogating Christian beliefs.
If we were to look at the names of the months given in the Gregorian calendar, i.e January, February, March, April, May and June, we notice that they are derived from Greek gods and goddesses. The Greek worship these gods. So is this saying that we also are in some way involved in this form of worship along with them?
Additionally, all such followings and doing it with the belief that this is the only correct way because it is the way of the world takes a person away from the accurate belief of the Oneness of Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ). For example, Sunday is derived from the sun has been placed by the sunworshippers. Monday is from the moon, and there are many who worship the moon. All such forms of belief weaken our beliefs as Muslims.
The Muharram that we witness this year is yearly seen. It is a sacred month. From the above ayat of the Qur’an quoted, we are advised that we need to correct our dates. We need to follow our own calendar and remember those important dates that have been given to us in the Islamic history. This is who we are – we are Muslims. We worship Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) in the prescribed manner following our own way of life through our own calendar and the important dates given to us. I pray to Allah (عَزَّوَجَلَّ) to give us the ability to love and follow the Hijri calendar as opposed to the calendars devised by Christians. I pray that this calendar is what is made public and applicable for the Muslim countries as opposed to it being the side calendar. (Aameen)