Maintenance of Lunar Calendar; Why and How?

Maintenance of Lunar Calendar; Why and How?

Nowadays, more than forty calendars are common in the world and some of them are more famous than others. Most of these calendars are solar and some of them are lunar, too.

According to historical sources and narrations, Egyptians were from the first who established the solar calculation for their calendar.
In a solar calendar, the four seasons of a year are in the basis of the calendar. Each day has 24 hours that begins at midnight and ends when the clock strikes twelve at midnight.
The Islamic calendar known as Hijri (lunar migration) is an integral part of the identity of each Muslim as all Muslim communities in every corner of the world must be aware of that.
This calendar is related to migration of the beloved prophet of Islam, Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, and other immigrants to Madinah; a migration which is considered the most important turning point in the history of Islam.
Though, Muslims understand some important occasions commonly such as Ramadan and Eid days by various styles, but many of them do not know that the Islamic calendar starts by the month of Muharram.
Unfortunately, the various classes of Muslims do not know the name of all lunar months correctly in sequence. Many of them are not aware of their accurate arrangement due to negligence and faults of officials and religious leaders.

Why is the lunar history important?
Muslims must pay attention to the Islamic calendar; it is the foundation and base of many jurist and divine commandments. As well as, knowing of the important historical invents of Islam is based on the lunar calendar.
For example, if we do not know the accurate date of Ramadan, the day of Arafa (9th Dhul-Hijjah), shining nights (13th, 14th and 15th of every lunar month) and Ashura (10th of Muharram), how we can obtain the virtues of fasting and special worships in these days? Moreover, without knowing lunar date, how can we be aware of Fitr or sacrifice Eid? How can we perform the pilgrimage and slaughter animals on the specific days? As well as we should spell Takbirat of Tashriq from 9th Dhul-Hijjah to 13th.
It should be clear, in viewpoint of Islamic jurisprudence the authentic and valid date is lunar calendar. That’s why, the lunar month and year are valid not the solar one in many commandments such as duration of waiting period of a woman whose husband has been died or he divorces her after her menopause.
On the other hand, the noble Qur’an has stated the significance and usefulness of lunar calendar in several verses; take into consideration the following blessed verses:

Why did the emigration become the origin of Islamic calendar?
Unlike many current calendars which are related to birthday of people, seasons or beginning the rule of some kings, Islamic calendar is related to a good act.
As many scholars urge, the migration of the Prophet Muhammad and other Muslims from Makkah to Madinah is one of the most important events in the history of Islam. This pivotal event is a turning point in the history of Islam and Muslims.
It was after migration that Muslims could enjoy religious and civil freedom. It is worthy to know that the texture of Islamic lifestyle and its political and economic programs appeared in Madinah. It was a golden opportunity for the Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, to promote and spread the chosen religion of Allah the almighty. This issue made Omar al-Farooq, may Allah be pleased with him, to declare the event of migration the starting point of Islamic calendar in the period of his caliphate, the opinion of Osman and Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, was so ,too. On the other hand, the noble Qur’an alludes to this point, too: (توبه: 108).
Some scholars and religious experts believe the purpose from “the first day” in the verse is the first day of migration. The mosque of “Qoba” is the first mosque which was stablished after migration. Thus it became clear that the consensus of companion has not been slipped.

Precept to maintain and preserve Islamic calendar:
As it has been affirmed in famous exegesis “Ma’arif-ul-Qur’an” written by the former grand Mufti of Pakistan, Mawlana Mohammad Shafi’ Usmani, may Allah have mercy on him, preservation of lunar calendar -which is known as “Islamic calendar” in a lot of dictionaries- is Fardh kifayah (communal obligation):
“The honorable jurists legislated maintenance of lunar calendar Fardh kifayah (communal obligation) on Muslims; this date and calculation is Sunnah of the honorable prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be on him, other prophets and rightly guided caliphs and its utilization will cause goodness and blessing.” [See Ma’arif-ul-Qur’an: 4/506 (Urdu)]

How can we promote & preserve the Islamic calendar?
If every member of the Muslim Ummah utilizes the Hijrah calendar in his daily and personal occupations regularly, this calendar will be prevalent in the society. For instance, we should remember the lunar date of our birthday. We should note other important events of life according to Islamic calendar such as marriage, important travels, valuable and lofty purchases, the birthday of children and etc. if we write memory, then we should not forget noting the lunar date.
We can write the date of establishment of personal structures such as buildings, houses, as well as public buildings such as Masjids, schools, hospitals, parks and hotels on tableaus and special tables according to Hijri calendar.
In regard to public places, the offices and official personnel should be more dutiful. Moreover, we can note the birth and death anniversaries of our dears and relatives according to Islamic calendar. Even we can insert it on their headstones.
The various communication sources including audial, visual and print media can play an important role in promotion of Islamic calendar, too. Next to the common calendar, the media can align and put the date of publishing and transmitting of their programs according to lunar calendar. They can relate the significant historical events by the mentioned date and calendar.
Moreover, the teachers also can work on promotion and maintenance of the Islamic calendar, too; they can remind the importance of this calendar to their students. They also can exactly invoke the lunar date at the beginning of their lessons encouraging them to utilize it in their personal and social life.
The board of trustees of Masjids can be pioneer in promotion and maintenance of the Islamic calendar; if the exact lunar date is announced on a suitable place in Masjids, worshippers comfortably will be aware of this blessed date. It would help them in regulation of their daily works.
Similarly, if companies and official institutes do not neglect the lunar date in announcements and different forms of their agreements, they undoubtedly will play a good role in advancement of the Islamic calendar.

By: Abdul Hakeem Shahbakhsh
Translated into English for SunniOnline by: Abdullah Sasoli



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