Ka’ba – a Sign of Allah is the Prime Meridian
BISMILLAH HIRRAMAN NIRRAHEEM !
The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth;
There is no two opinions about a calendar year consisting of 12 months. But two different methods are employed in the major calendars followed globally. One is on the basis of Sun being called Solar Calendar and the other is on the basis of rotation of Moon being called Lunar Calendar.
In the case of Solar Calendar which is also called Gregorian Calendar the city Greenwich which is in England is chosen as Prime Meridian dividing the Globe. And an imaginary line is stipulated in the middle of Pacific 180 degree left and right of Greenwich that is about 12 hours to the right and left of Greenwich. This imaginary line is called International Date Line.
The time prevailing at Greenwich that is at the Prime Meridian is called as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This time is then unanimously agreed as official Universal Time (UT) for comparing Local Time of the places across the world.
In the English calendar which is widely in use world over the day begins from International Date Line from mid-night and then it progresses towards Prime Meridian and crosses it at noon and completes the day at mid night on reaching back to the date line. A month in English calendar consists of 30 or 31 days.
But the Moon Calendar which is also in use in many parts of the world do not have any definite propositions like when? , from where? and How? the day starts and navigate around the world. We Muslims around the world who follow lunar calendar begin the day from Sunset (Maghreb prayer) at the local places where we live.
As far the Lunar Calendar is concerned there is no clarity about a single day which is One Unit of a month. To know in details about a day of the lunar month let us move towards the Holy Qur’aan and the teachings of the Prophet of Allah, Mohammed(Sal) for their guidance’s to humanity.
Till, when he reached the setting place of the sun, he found it setting in black muddy (or hot) spring water, and found a people thereabout:
Till, when he reached the rising place of the sun, he found it rising on a people for whom We had provided no covering , protection against the sun.
In the above two verses the Creator of Universe , Allah(sub) fixes two distinct points on Earth describing one as point of Sunset and the other as point of Sunrise. And He also gives some clear-cut clues in the verses for identification of the particular places.
As far Sunrise and Sunset is concerned it is a continuous occurrences on most part of the Globe. But Allah(sub) fixes two distinct points on Earth for this continuous event. So let us go into the details of the above two places indicated by Allah(sub) the Creator of this Universe.
In the verse 18:86 Allah(sub) indicates Black muddy water or in some interpretation boiling water in which the Sun sets and also the place is inhabited by communities. After precise deliberation of the clues we can come to a conclusion that the indication is towards Dead Sea.
The Dead Sea is a perfect place fitting to the descriptions given in verse 18:86 for Sunset point. Dead Sea contains more than 20-25 percent of salt and minerals present in any other sea in the world. So the sea resembles more like a Black Muddy Water which is a clear-cut distinction of this particular sea. People living around this sea and tourists visiting this part of the world apply the mud from the seabed on their body as it has many medicinal values.
Due to its high salinity people can float in the sea without fear of getting drowned in the sea. Also there are Hot Water Springs found around the shores of this sea. And most importantly the Sunset at Dead Sea is a huge tourist attraction. Every evening huge number of people visiting this place gather at the seashore to watch this awesome event. (See Snapshots of Dead Sea given separately)
And the first Kiblah for the mankind , the Baithul Maqdis which is also called Masjid al Aksa is situated in the city of Jerusalem on one coast of the sea. On the other shore is Amman the capitol of Jordan. Obviously Baithul Maqdis and its surroundings are considered to be Head Quarters for a long list of Prophets like Jesus(Sal) and his predecessors. This is being referred in the verse as ‘ a nation found living in the neighborhood.’
It is little difficult to find the place of sunrise from the clues given in verse 18:90 nevertheless we already know the place of sunset clearly from verse 18:86. So we can easily identify the point of sunrise and match it with the clues given in verse 18:90.
If one half of the earth is in sunshine the other half is in dark also when sun is setting at one place on earth it will be sunrise at the other end. Accordingly when sun is setting at Masjid al Aksa it is sunrise in the middle of Pacific near the Islands of French Polynesia.
The islands in the middle of pacific are just about 4 meters above the sea level and are largely sunny beaches. Also as per the findings dating back to about 4000 years half naked short Polynesians were making their livings fishing in these islands. So the clues given in verse 18:90 for sunrise point clearly matches with these findings.
From the clues given in the Holy Qur’an we have identified and located both Sunrise and Sunset points fixed by Allah(sub). Sunrise point is falling in the middle of biggest ocean and Sunset point is in the middle of civilization.
Allah(sub) the creator of the universe has clearly guided us in identifying Masjid al Aksa as the point of Sunset and the Oceanic’s as Zone of Sunrise. Now with these findings we will proceed to find how one complete day consisting of a daylight and a night begins?
Generally Muslims who follow moon calendar begin the day from sunset. This is mainly due to the custom of ending the month on sighting the new moon after sunset. Accordingly we believe that the day has ended and night of the next day has commenced and started calling the night in the name of the following day. So it is common to call preceding night of the day of Jummah as ‘jummerath’.
If a day has to commence from sunset (Maghreb prayer) then it has to begin from Oceanic’s from sunset. Then only it can navigate around the world in a proper manner. But Allah(sub) has fixed this place as sunrise point and it doesn’t fit to start a day from sunset from this place. Also we are not able to find any guidelines from Qur’aan and Sunnah in this regard. So let us move towards Holy Qur’an and Sunnah for its guidance’s.
He is the Cleaver of the Daybreak (from the dark): He makes the night for rest and tranquility and the sun and moon for the reckoning (of a day and month): such is the judgment and ordering of (Him) the Exalted in Power, the All-knowing.
And We have made the Night and the Day as two (of Our) Signs. Then, We have obscured the Sign of the Night (with darkness) while We have made the Sign of the day illuminating, that you may seek Bounty from your Lord, and that you may know the number and count of the years. And We have explained everything (in detail) with full explanation.
In the above verses Allah(sub) makes it very clear that the night which encompass with tranquility is for relaxing and it is the emergence of daylight which is meant for reckoning of the year , month and date.
Also let us move forward to more evidences in this direction. :
Guard strictly your (obligatory) prayers especially the middle prayer and stand before Allah in a devout (frame of mind).
While interpreting the above verse Prophet(Sal) indicated Asr prayer as the middle prayer . It is recorded in Buhari narrated by Ummul muhmineen Ayesha(ral).
If we begin a day from Sunset then Maghreb is the first prayer of the day followed by Isha , Fajr , Duhar and finally Asr. However prophet(Sal) has indicated Asr as middle prayer. So for Asr to be in the middle it has to be Fajr the first prayer of the day then only the sequence of prayers remain first Fajr then Duhar , Asr in the middle followed by Maghreb and finally Isha. This indication by Prophet(Sal) remains one of a strong evidence to prove a Day begins with Fajr.
Prophet(Sal) has said pray ‘withar’ as the last prayer of the day as this prayer is cap for all other prayers of the day. Accordingly ‘withar’ is prayed at the dead end of the night. So this Sunnah taught by Prophet(Sal) also remains a strong evidence for a day to begin from Dawn.
‘Ihtikaf ’ observed by Prophet(Sal) remains a very strong evidence to prove a day begins from Dawn (fajr). It was routine to name and count the night after sunset of a day with the dawn of the next day. But this practice prevailing was proved wrong by Prophet(Sal) and he clearly showed that a night doesn’t belong to the dawn of next day.
Also ‘Ihtikaf’ observed by Prophet(Sal) indicates very clearly that the occasion of ‘lailatul kadr’ not only belongs to a night but a day consisting of a daylight and night that is one full day which is one unit of a month. Thus this one full day of ‘lailatul kadr’ which is equivalent to one thousand years prevails over a complete day starting from Dawn to Dawn (mathlayil fajr) of the next day. Ahathiths explaining these facts are recorded in Sahi al Buhari and Sahi al Muslim under the heading ‘Ihtikaf ’ by Prophet(Sal).
Let us know in detail and understand the facts about ‘Ithikaf ’ observed by Prophet(Sal). It is recorded in Sahi al Buhari narrated by Ummul Muhmineen Ayesha(ral) and Ibn Umar(ral) that Prophet(Sal) till his death observed Ihtikaf only during the last ten days of Ramadan. He used to enter into the special tents erected for this purpose immediately after the Fajr Prayer of the 21st day.
As per the above hadith Prophet(Sal) till his death used to enter into Ihthikaf on the 21st day after Fajr. So he never had the chance of observing Ihthikaf on the previous night which is supposed to be the night of 21st. So it is amply clear that Prophet(Sal) did not believe that the preceding night belonged to the 21st day. Also in the above hadith emphasis is made that Prophet(Sal) kept this practice till his death. So highlighting of this point by Ayesha(ral) in her narrations clearly indicate that all the earlier practices in this regard stands nullified.
“ Look out for ‘lailatul kadr’ on odd numbered days during the last ten days of Ramadaan. The exact day was shown to me but I was made to forget. I saw myself prostrating on a wet ground.” said Prophet(Sal) ; Iqama was given for the prayer and I saw mud on the face of prophet(Sal) when he turned after completing the Fajr prayer. That happened on the Fajr of 21st day of Ramadaan. This incidence is recorded in Sahi al Buhari narrated by Abu Saeed Alkudri(ral).
Starting a day from sunset was in practice at the time of Prophet(Sal). So accordingly one of an earlier year the Prophet(Sal) decided to observe Ihthikaf and enters into it in the middle ten. On the morning of 20th he and his companions come out of Ihthikaf after completing ten nights. But immediately after leaving the masjid Prophet(Sal) asks all those who were with him to return to the masjid to continue with Ihthikaf. Also gives a speech informing them to find ‘lailathul kadr’ on the last ten days of Ramadaan. And also informs them ‘lailatul kadr’ was shown to him but made to forget. But indicates that he was prostrating on a wet ground on the day of ‘lailatul kadr’.
Only this year alone Prophet(Sal) observed Ihthikaf during the middle ten. Prophet(Sal) completes ten nights in the middle and leaves the masjid after Fajr prayer of 20th day. But after realizing that the previous night did not belong to the 20th day he decided to complete the 20th day, so he asks every one who were with him to return to masjid and complete the middle ten days and also want them to continue with him to observe ihtikaf of the last ten days. After this year till his death as narrated by Ayesha(ral) in Sahi al Buhari he enters into Ihtikaf from Fajr of 21st day only.
Also the narration by Abu Saeed alKudri(ral) clearly indicates that it just started raining and Iqama for the Fajr prayer was given and then he saw mud on the face of Prophet(Sal) after completion of Fajr prayer of 21st day. It means even though they were present in the masjid in the preceding night nobody saw clay on face of Prophet(Sal) during the night prayer or after two rakh’aat of sunnah he prays before farz. So it is very clear that it was not raining in the previous night but it rained only after the dawn of 21st day.
Also we know that Prophet(Sal) begins Ihthikaf from Fajr of 21st and also the Surah Al Kadr verse (97:05) states that ‘Lailatul Kadr’ will be prevailing till it begins to dawn (mathlayil fajr). So the lailatul kadr which was prevailing on 21st Fajr when Prophet(Sal) was prostrating on mud cannot belong to the previous night but belonged to the dawn of 21st day and it should have prevailed till the beginning of dawn of the next day.
So ‘lailatul kadr’ is not a single night but it prevails over one full day from Dawn (fajr) to the dawn (mathlayil fajr) of next day. That is why Prophet(Sal) enter in to Ihthikaf from Fajr prayer of 21st day and leaves masjid only after praying fajr on the day of Eid. Also Holy Qur’aan says , ‘this one full day is equivalent to about 28500 days which is 1000 months’.
Further more , “ If one has reached the boundaries of Arafa before the dawn of tenth day of Dul Hijja then he has fulfilled the obligation of hajj.” As it is mandatory for a faithful to be present in Arafa on the 9th of Dul Hijjah this statement by Prophet(Sal) recorded in Soonan Abudauood and Nasaee also remains a strong evidence for a day to begin from dawn and end at the dawn of next day.
So as per the teachings of Qur’aan and Sunnah a day has to start from Sun rise point from Dawn. And it should cross Masjid al Aksa at Sunset after completing the day and enter into its night. This journey reaches Oceanic’s and completes its night and next day starts at the dawn of the day.
The Holy Qur’aan which is 1200 years older than the birth of English Calendar clearly indicates that the middle part of one full day comprising a daylight and a night is Sunset. And it cannot be 12.00 noon at Greenwich as in the case of English Calendar. So as per Holy Qur’aan a day begins its journey from Oceanic’s at the dawn and crosses Ummal Qura that is Makkah the Prime Meridian fixed by Allah(sub) at Sunset. And completes the day at the dawn of a new day at Oceanic’s.
This is how a full day comprising a daylight and a night is defined by the Holy Qur’aan. As we observe a day on the basis of sunlight falling on Earth the procedure for reckoning of a day indicated by the Creator of this Universe is scientific and quite logical.
As commanded by Almighty Allah(sub) the Kiblah for Muslims is shifted from Masjid al Aksha that is Baithul Maqdis to Masjid al Haram that is Ka’batullah in Makkah.
(2:144 – 150)
Makkah being named Ummal Qura that is Mother of Cities is fixed as Prime Meridian by Allah(sub) the Creator of the Universe. And Ka’ba the house of Allah is rightly situated in the middle of Prime Meridian. So Muslims around the world from East , West , South and North stay facing the Ka’ba continuously for 24 hours by fulfilling their five times obligatory prayers. Indeed this isn’t a great Sign from the Creator of this world !
Indeed it doesn’t make sense to imagine a Date Line in the vast zone of Pacific which is mostly no man’s land. Even those closer to the imaginary date line are also reluctant to follow it. But they are happy to be in coordination with their big neighboring countries with whom they have their trade and other interests.
However it is ideal to decide a day on the basis of Sunset at Ummal Qura which is being fixed as Prime Meridian by Allah(sub). Accordingly Dawn of a new day is decided on the basis of Ummalqura Makkah Time (UMT). Let us see the feasibilities.
If one half of the Globe is in daylight then the other half is in night (see fiq.2). And if Sun is setting at one point of the Globe then it is Sunrise at the opposite end. Thus it is destined by Allah(sub) that everyday at the time of Sunset at Ummal Qura a new day is set to dawn at the middle of Pacific.
Here we also have to consider the fact that it doesn’t dawn everyday at a fixed place in Pacific at the time of sunset at Makkah due to many factors like the path and angle of Earth orbiting the Sun. Due to this factor days are longer in some months and also in some months days are shorter and nights are longer. It means if Ka’ba the Prime Meridian is fixed as the point of sunset then the place of sunrise cannot be one fixed point but falls in a huge zone in the middle of Pacific stretching across the region about (-134) degree west and about(-176) degree west.
Considering the above factor and also the situation in which the islands which are in the middle of Pacific not following the rule book of the existing date line and starting the date without any regulations it becomes complicated for the islands in the middle of Pacific to decide the ‘Kiblah’ that is the direction to face Ka’ba from East or West.
Allah(sub) clearly resolves this issue in the verse (73:20) He says:
“ But Allah does appoint Night and Day in due measure. He knows that you are unable to keep count thereof. So He has turned to you (in mercy).”
On a shortest day of a year which is called Winter Solstice it is about Fajr in the region of Pacific beyond Alaska when the Sun sets at Ka’ba the Prime Meridian. So Alaska remains the last candidate to face Ka’ba from west. And the region which falls there after like Kritimati will see the first Sunrise when the Sun sets at Makkah on the shortest day.
Also on a longest day of a year which is called Summer Solstice it is about Fajr closer to Fiji Islands when the Sun sets at Ka’ba the Prime Meridian. So the Sunrise is oscilating between Fiji and Alaska when the Sun sets at Makkah everyday. As Allah(sub) grants concession in verse 73:20 for those in the middle of Pacific there is no harm in them facing Ka’ba from east or west.
International Date Line fashioned by humans in the vast region of Pacific is not practical and makes no sense. But Ka’batullah the Prime Meridian fixed by Allah(sub) which is Kiblah for the entire mankind remains a grand Sign and an evidence for His Supremacy.
So it is Sensible and Ideal to agree and proceed that a new day Dawns everyday in this Globe when the Sun sets at Makkah.
Sadakkallahul Aleem !Walhamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen !