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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

Why Muslims Love the Lunar Hijri Calendar

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Three pillars of Islam are based on the lunar (not solar) calendar: zakat, fasting, and Hajj. (The five daily prayers depend on the motion of the sun, not the solar calendar)

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used the lunar calendar for zakat, fasting/Eid, and Hajj.

All companions and followers of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ after his death continued using the lunar calendar.

The Quran (9:36) defines the lunar year as 12 lunar months long.

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ defined the lunar month as 29 or 30 days.

The Quran and hadith use the Arabic word shahr (شهر) to refer to the lunar month (not solar).

The Quran (2:185) honors Ramadan, a lunar month.

The greatest spiritual night, the night of qadr, is in Ramadan, a lunar month (not a solar month). Night of qadr may be translated as: “Night of High or Great Value”, “Night of Esteem”, or “Night of Greatness”

The Quran (9:36) says there are four lunar (not solar) sacred months.

In the hadith literature, we find that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ specified four sacred lunar (not solar) months which are:
ذُو القَعْدَة، ذُو الحِجَّة، الْمُحَرَّم، رَجَب.

The pre-Islamic Arabs used to change the sequence of the months to fit the politics of the day. The Quran (9:37) says it is kufr (disbelief/great sin) to tamper or play with the lunar calendar. If you cannot even play with it (because it’s kufr), what do you think of the one who tells us to abandon the entire lunar calendar?

Throughout Islamic history, scholars of religion and scholars of science (including astronomy) used the lunar calendar for the three pillars.

Both Solar And Lunar Are Necessary For Life

Even though Islamic worship (zakat, fasting, and hajj) is based on the lunar calendar, not the solar calendar, there’s no prohibition in Islam from utilizing the solar calendar for worldly purposes such as business, farming, military, international travel, etc. Nowhere in the Quran/sunnah have I come across anything that indicates that we cannot use a solar calendar.

The solar calendar is good for worldly purposes (business, farming, military, international travel, etc.,) and is a necessity. We should continue to use it. The Quran (55:5) tells us that the sun and the moon are both subjected to laws (i.e., laws of physics) that determine their motion. We need both the sun and the moon. We need both the solar and the lunar calendars.

Governments Cannot Mess with the Lunar Calendar

Solar calendar has gone thru many changes and corrections. Lunar calendar, on the other hand, has NEVER gone thru any changes by governments and political authorities. Governments cannot control or mess with the lunar calendar. If we mess up on one month of the lunar calendar, it won’t affect the following month. It “self-corrects”. If, on the other hand, you mess up the solar calendar on a given month, it won’t be automatically corrected the following month as seen historically. It took humanity a long time to get the solar calendar right.

ولله الحمد أول وآخرا.

By Ustadh F Qazi

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