Wednesday, 28 September 2011

The Hijri Calendar

The Hijri Calendar

            On the authority of the Holy Qur’an, the Hijri year that is observed by Muslims the world over, is of twelve months.  And it is based on a natural phenomenon: the moon’s orbit.

            The moon takes either 30 days or 29 days to complete one revolution around the earth. Each month, therefore, has either 30 days or 29 days according to the number of days the moon has taken in that particular month for this revolution.

            In the computation also, of the 24-hour span of time termed as the date, our concept is different.  While the date begins with midnight for others, the Hijri date commences much earlier, as the sun sets. We treat the sunset as marking the end of one and the beginning of the next date.
            The first date of the month, therefore, commences with the sighting of the Crescent, on the evening of the last day of the preceding month, as the dusk sets in.

            Where the moon is not visible, the leader of the community makes the announcement if it had been sighted anywhere nearby; and this is accepted by all.

            If the full 30 days of a month have been completed, the new month has commenced already.  The sighting of the Crescent is not considered essential in this context.

            Accordingly, the Laiy’lathul Qad’r (explained in the following chapter) commences once the sun has set on the 26th day of Ramadan.  It is actually the night of the 26th/27th.

            We are informed: “The number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year) as ordained by by Allah on the day He created the heavens and the earth.  Four of these months (namely, Muharrum, Rajjab, Zul Qa’yidah and Zul Haj) are sacred. That is right religion.  So wrong not yourselves in them.” (Holy Quran: Surath ath Thav’bah: 36)