Friday, January 19, 2007

Ma'al Hijrah #1

Ma'al Hijrah 1428

Tomorrow, Saturday 20th January 2007 is the 1st. Muharram 1428, marks the new Islamic Year.

The dating of the Islamic years was introduced by the second caliph, ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab, in 638 CE [16 AH] in an attempt to circumvent all the various conflicting dating systems used during his time. After consulting his companions, he set the Hijrah—the migration of the Prophet SAW from Makkah to Madinah—as the most appropriate reference to the new Islamic era. The Hijrah, historically speaking, is the central event of early Islam, the turning point in Islamic history that led to the foundation of the first Muslim state.

In conjunction with this auspicious day, I would like to wish all the Muslim Ummah a Happy Maal Hijrah 1428. May Allah SWT shower us with His blessing guided on strait path.

“They ask thee, [O Muhammad], of new moons. Say: They are fixed seasons for mankind and for the pilgrimage…” [Al-Baqarah 2:189]

The Islamic or Hijriah calendar is based on a lunar month of 29 to 30 days, with the day starting at sunset.

The new moon announces the arrival of a new month, but due to differences in the weather [rain and fog, et cetera] that may prevent a clear view of the moon, or due to great distances between countries, the start of a new month is neither definite nor conclusive. Therefore scientists have developed a number of norms to help predict when the first sighting of the crescent moon will be, but there will be small discrepancies between countries when determining the birth of the crescent heralding the month of Ramadhan and the first day of the following month, indicating the end of the fast.

The Islamic year consists of twelve months: [1] Muharram, [2] Safar, [3] Rabi’ul Awwal, [4] Rabi’ul Thani, [5] Jamadil Awwal, [6] Jamadil Thani, [7] Rajab, [8] Sha’ban, [9] Ramadhan, [10] Shawwal, [11] Dzul- Qae’dah, and [12] Dzul- Hijjah.

The most important dates in the Islamic calendar are: 1 Muharram [Islamic New Year]; 10 Muharram [Day of 'Ashura’]; 27 Rajab [Israa’ and Mi’raj]; 1 Ramadhan [first day of the month of fasting]; the last ten days of Ramadhan, which include [Lailatul-Qadr]; 1 Shawwal [‘Eidil-Fitri]; 8 - 10 Dzul-Hijjah [Hajj]; 9 Dzul-Hijjah [Day of ‘Arafah]; 10 Dzul-Hijjah ['Eid Al-Adha]. However, the dates of so me of these events, such as that of Laylat Al-Qadr and the Prophet Muhammad’s journey of Israa’ and Mi’raj, have not been conclusively specified, and there has been some uncertainty about the exact date of the event.

Four of the twelve months are sacred: Rajab, Muharram, and Dzul-Qaedah, Dzul- Hijjah. In the pre-Islamic period, raids among the Arab tribes were forbidden and hunting was halted during these months. Islam inherited and approved this practice. Fighting [killing] is prohibited during these sacred months except in self-defense.

Since the Islamic calendar is lunar, its year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year. This means that Muslim months fall in different seasons. For example, Ramadhan and Hajj can fall in the summer as well as in the winter. It takes about 33 years for the Islamic dates to rotate through the solar seasons.

Naming of Islamic Calendar Months.

1. Muharram: is named so because the Arabs used to prohibit fighting during it.

2. Safar: is named so because the Arabs used to leave their homes during that month as they used to set out to fight their enemies. It is also said that they used to leave their homes to escape summer heat.

3. Rabi’ul-Awwal: is named so because it usually coincides with the spring time.

4. Rabi’ul-Akhir: is named so because it usually coincides with the winter time.

5. Jumada al-‘Ula: The Arabs named it so because water gets frozen at winter time, and that coincides with the time of Jumada al-‘Ula.

6. Jumada al-‘Ukhra: is named so because it coincides with winter time.

7. Rajab: is derived from the Arabic word ‘rajaba’ which means to ‘sanctify’ something. The Arabs used to sanctify the month of Rajab by putting a halt to fighting during that month.

8. Sya’ban: The Arabic word Sya’ban is derived from the word ‘tash'aba’, which means to go in different directions. It is said that Sha`ban takes such a name because the Arabs used to go in different directions fighting their enemies.

9. Ramadhan: The word Ramadhan is derived from ‘Ar-ramda’ which refers to extreme heat. Ramadhan time used to coincide with that extreme climate of heat in the Arab Peninsula, and that is why it is called Ramadhan.

10. Syawal: The name Syawal is derived from the Arabic word ‘tashawwala’, which refers to the scarcity in she-camels’ milk.

11. Dzul-Qae'dah: refers to Arabs decline to go out fighting their enemies as the early Arabs used to call it a sacred month.

12. Dzul-Hijjah: is named so because the Arabs used to perform Hajj during that month


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