Umm al Qura Calender - a Shari'ah - Long Version
In the name of Allah the most Beneficent and the most Merciful !
All Praise be to Allah!
All praise is due to Allah, who has sent down upon His Servant the Book and has not made therein any deviance.
And we have sent down to you the Book (the Qur’an) as an Exposition of Everything , a Guidance , a Mercy and Glad Tidings for those who have submitted themselves (to Allah as Muslims)
Peace and Blessings of Allah is showered for ever on the Holy Messenger of Allah , his family , his companions and all of us who follow him with complete submission in following the right path guided by him.
The prophet (sal) has said , “ any innovations by any persons which will be injected into the (already completed) Deen will be rejected.
Narrator : Ayesha (Ral) ; Book : Buhari
Best of the word is words from Allah(sub) , best of the path is the one guided by Prophet(sal) , new deeds injected into the Deen is innovation , and every innovation leads you to a wrong path.
Narrator : Jabir (Ral) ; Book : Muslim
All the messengers of Allah who were sent down for the enlightenment of the mankind preached one deen that is one particular faith to the people. But some relaxations were granted to them in the implementation of the rules pertaining to the faith depending upon their period of living in this world. But all the rules and regulations pertaining to the Faith has been completed by the Almighty with the Qur’anic injection of the verse 5:03
So goes the saying of the Prophet Mohammed(sal) that even if Prophet Moses(alai) is sent back to this world again He has to abide by the rules and regulations that is the Shari’ah finalized during my life time. So messenger of Allah Mohammed(sal) have declared that none other than him have any right to increase , decrease , change or modify the Shari’ah stipulated in his life time.
Our Deen is completed during the life time of the Holy Messenger of Allah (sal). The Shari’ah is crystal clear and stand apart from the innovations (bid’ah) entered in our Deen. So there is no scope in what so ever manner to modify or bring innovations in our Deen that is the way of life stipulated by Messenger of Allah (sal).
Now with this knowledge of differentiating Shari’ah from what is bid’ah , let us enter into the detailed understanding of the subject named Ummal Qura Calendar – a Shari’ah.
Regarding Ramadaan the Holy Prophet(sal) said: “ Do not start fasting until you see the crescent moon and do not stop fasting until you see the (next) crescent moon. If the new moon is obscured then count it.(as a month of thirty days.). ”
Narrator : Abdullah bin Umar(ral) ; Book : Buhari , Muslim
So far from the period of the Holy Prophet(sal) till to date for about a period of 1400 years Muslims around the world are deciding the Islamic months by sighting the new moon or by getting the news of sighting of the new moon from others or if there is no news of sighting the new moon then completing the month as of thirty days.
But there is a great deal of misconceptions growing amongst the new generations in following the miraculous teachings of the Holy Prophet(sal) with regard to deciding of the Islamic months by sighting the new crescent moon. So it is equally important to know the reason for dejection of the people in following this simple method to decide the Islamic months.
1. Confusions associated with Sighting of the new moon :
As per the teachings of the Prophet(sal) one should try to sight the new moon on the eve of 29 th day of every month or try to get any report of sighting from other places. Accordingly every Islamic month has to be decided as per the instructions given by the Prophet(sal).
But the Hilal Committees around the world who are empowered by the local people to decide the new moon remain lethargic around the year and wake up only during the end of Sah’baan to sight the crescent moon which may appear in the western sky after sunset according to the information’s available in the local calendars. This practice is against the teachings of the holy Prophet(sal) that you should keep track of sighting the crescent moon every month and decide the month accordingly.
The next worst thing is not to accept the sighting of moon by persons belonging to one jamath by other jamaths and subsequent arguments and fights which erupts amongst us regarding the sighting of the new moon spoils the Holiness of the months.
2. Confusions in accepting the messages of sighting the new moon.
The Messenger of Allah(sal) has accepted the messages of sighting which were received within the stipulated time interval of thirty days. But the companions of the Prophet refused to act on the messages which were received after completion of the previous months as of thirty days. These incidences are clearly recorded in the books of ahadeeths. But the Ulemas have a very wrong understandings of these ahadeeths and interpreted these incidences as norms for accepting new moon from various distant places. Accordingly people refuse to act on the basis of sighting messages received from neighboring places.
Also countries in the Arabian Peninsula have their own Civil Calendar drafted by following some kind of rules to suit them in conducting their day to day activities. So others are not so enthusiastic to follow the announcements made from Saudi Arabia.
3. Afraid of accepting one set of Sunnah and rejecting other guidance’s.
Nabi(sal) have forbidden to fast on the two days of Eid that is on the day of Eid al Fitr and on Eid al Adah.
Narrator : Abuhuraira (ral), Abusaeed(ral) ; Book : Muslim
“ If any one observe fasting on the day of Arafa then Allah(sub) forgives his sins of the past and future one year .” Narrator : Al Kattada ; Book : Muslim
On the 9th day of Dil hijja when Hajees reach Arafa is the Day of Arafa. On that day the people around the world have to fulfill the sunnah of fasting on the Arafa Day. So the next day being the day of sacrifice for hajees, it becomes imperative for people around the world to celebrate Eid al Adah on that day.
So the third argument is, like a regular day which starts from the east and ends in the west Arafa day also has to begin from Australia and pass through Ka’ba in the middle and end at America. This is the best way for Muslim ummah around the world to unite and show the solidarity by adhering to the guidance’s of the Prophet(sal) .
But the recent trends are indication to the fact that people started deciding the Big Occasions like fasting in Ramadaan and two Eids depending upon whatever knowledge they have gained in understanding the Deen. Accordingly we see three groups of people following three sets of rules in deciding important Islamic dates. So one group follow some sort of computations and decide the date on a day. And the second group is not averse to accepting information from other places and decide the date on second day. And the third group who are firm in the belief that sighting is a local criterion, they decide accordingly on the third day.
But the Holy Qur’an is steadfast in declaring that ‘the Sun and the Moon follow courses (exactly) computed (for them) (55:5)’ ; ‘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 (9:36)’ ; ‘and He has fixed Phases for the Moon that you might know the number of years and the count of months (10:5)’.
The Holy Qur’an is out right in its message that months can be calculated on the basis of Phases fixed to the Moon. But the Messenger of Allah(sal) clearly guided the ummah that sighting of the crescent is mandatory to begin a month. We can clearly see the deviation from the Qur’an in the teachings of the Holy Prophet(sal) in this particular subject. So the Object of this article is to find out the reasons for this deviation and take steps to uphold the message of The Qur’an and The Sunnah with equal importance and act accordingly.
They ask you, [O Muhammad], about Ahillath, the new moons. Say, "They are measurements of time for the people and for Hajj." And it is not righteousness to enter the houses from the back, but righteousness is [in] one who fears Allah. And enter into the houses from their doors. And fear Allah that you may succeed.
Now with the above verse the following questions arises. What is Ahillath ? , Who ask about Ahillath ? , Why they ask about Ahillath ? and What they ask about Ahillath ? How Ahillath will show the month ? and How will it indicate Hajj ?
Also by Commanding the Prophet(sal) in the above verse to convey the message to the people , Allah(sub) intends the Prophet(sal) to guide in detail about Ahillath regarding which people were waiting to hear further guidance’s from Allah(sub). So it is obvious that Prophet(sal) should have guided very clearly about Ahillath to his Companions.
Before going into the details it is also very important to understand the message Allah(sub) intends through the verse 10:05. Allah(sub) claims Manazil or Phases of the moon are fixed and the Sun and the Moon are following a fixed course. This claim by Almighty Allah(sub) is now proved beyond any doubt by the occurrences of Solar and Lunar Eclipses on the dates computed by the Astronomers well in advance.
In acknowledgement of the above claim by Allah(sub) the Prophet(sal) orders a Special Eclipse Prayer of two ‘rakh’aath’ with two ‘rukh’hu’ in each ‘rakh’aath covering the entire period of Eclipse.
Also Allah (sub) proclaims in the verse (9:36) that the manazil or phases for the moon were fixed at the time when the Earth then the Sun and the Moon were created and assigned their role. Also the Holy Qur’an clearly mentions that Allah(sub) fixed the Phases to the moon for the reckoning of the months and years (10:05). And He also sends clear warning to those who remain silent or not even bothered to take notice of the Evidences or Signs Allah(sub) created for them (10: 7 , 8)
The above verses were revealed to the Prophet (sal) during his stay in Makkah before the event of Hijrat. Also after Hijrat till the middle of Sahbaan of the second year of Hijrat there was nothing obligatory except the five time prayer assigned to the prophet (sal) at the time of Mehraaj.
After a long gap after Mehraaj only in the middle of sahbaan in the second year of Hijrat Allah (sub) reveals the next obligations which are to be implemented immediately. First shifting of Kiblah from Masjid al Aksha to Masjid al Haram then fasting is made obligatory through the verse (2:183) then conditions for fasting were revealed through the verse ( 2:184 , 185) and subsequently the verse (2:189) revealed the rules for computing a month on the basis of Ahillath. And so on the verses from (142 to 242) of Surah al Bakara were revealed with full of Shari’ah and clarifications to the ummah.
When Allah (sub) made fasting obligatory with the condition that it should be observed only during the month of Ramalaan then the Prophet(sal) and his companions who already know the verse (10:05) which reveals that the month can be calculated on the basis of Phases fixed to the moon then it is obvious that they were waiting for further orders from Allah (sub) for calculating the months from the Phases of the Moon. So the verse (2:189) which is revealed immediately after fasting is made obligatory begins with the message “ They are asking you about Ahillath ! ”.
But after revelation of this verse the Prophet (sal) rules out the possibilities of computing a month on the basis of Ahillath citing the following reasons and teaches a simplified method to count the months on the basis of ‘Hilal’ the crescent moon.
قال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم: ان الله عز وجل جعل هذه الاهلة مواقيت للناس صوموا لرؤيته وافطروا لرؤيته فان غم عليكم فاتموا العدة (مسند احمد وصحيح ابن خزيمة)
عن ابن عمر رضى الله عنهما عن النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم انه قال انا امة امية لا نكتب ولا نحسب الشهر هكذا وهكذا يعنى مرة تسعة وعشرين ومرة ثلاثين (صحيح البخارى وصحيح مسلم)
وعن ابن عمر رضى الله عنهما ان رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ذكر رمضان فضرب بيديه فقال الشهر هكذا وهكذا وهكذا ثم عقد اامه فى الثالثة فصوموا لرؤيته وافطروا لرؤيته فان اغمى عليكم فاقدروا له ثلاثين (صحيح مسلم)
Allah(sub) created Ahillath to indicate the deadline (of a month) to the Mankind. But (it is meant for the future genarations who will have the knowledge of Computing. So it is not for us as ) we are illiterate nation neither know to write nor know the ‘hisaab’ the calculation involved in it.
And the Prophet(sal) clapping his hands and showing his fingers said thus and thus that a month can be either of 29 days or of 30 days.
And said, “ So , begin fasting when you sight the new moon and stop fasting when you sight the new moon. And if the new moon is obscured then count the month as of 30 days.
Also we must consider the message Allah(sub) leaves at the end of verse (10:05) that He did not create all this like the Sun ,the Moon and the Earth without any Plan or Truth. And also claims every creation by Him bears a strong reason and remain a strong evidence to the Mankind. And this particular evidence is meant for ‘li koumi yahlamoon’ the Civilization who will boast their Wisdom (of Science and Technology at a later stage).
The decision taken by the Prophet(sal) after revelation of the verse (2:189) is very clear without any doubt. And now we should make sure that the interpretation so far being in circulation for this verse is incorrect and no more valid.
In the verse (2:189) after the word Hajj it forbid some actions of the people which was a custom. This ban is attributed to a ritual of Hajj followed by the Pre-Islamic tribes by Barau bin Asif(ral) and recorded in Sahi al Buhari. The verse forbid entering into the houses from behind or from the middle or sides. Since this ban comes after the word Hajj Barau bin Asif (ral) attribute this ban to the practice of pre-Islamic tribes who enter into their houses from behind when in ‘ihram’ or when they return after performing Hajj.
The fact is the verse was revealed in Madeena during Sahbaan of 2nd Hijri year. And at that time there was no question of any one undertaking the pilgrimage of Hajj as Makkah was in the custody of people who were strongly objecting to Islam. Also Muslims performed the first Hajj after the revelation of verses (196-203) which clearly explains the ritual of Hajj at a much later period in the 8th year of Hijri.
Also the verse is very clear in preventing the people to enter into ‘al buyooth’ the particular house but Barau bin Asif (ral) says it prevented them from entering into their house that is ‘buyoothihum’. So the interpretation given to the verse by Barau bin Asif(ral) is his own guess and not received from the Prophet(sal). Also in Sahi al Buhari there is no mentioning of receiving this message from the Prophet(sal).
Now let us decode the verse with proper meanings to the words contained in the verse. First let us know the proper meaning to the word Ahillath.
And the moon - We have determined for it phases, until it returns [appearing] like the old date stalk.
It is He who made the sun a shining light and the moon a derived light and determined for it phases - that you may know the number of years and account [of month]. Allah has not created this except in truth. He details the signs for a people who understand.
In the above two verses Allah (sub) refers to the manazil or Phases of the Moon when he mentions about the Moon. So it is mandatory to know some details of the Phases of the Moon particularly the first Phase, the Phases of the New Moon.
When the Moon which is orbiting the Earth comes in between the Sun and Earth in series in one Plane it is called Conjunction of the Moon. Immediately after the Conjunction the Moon moves forward till it appears as Crescent for first few days after Sunset at the western Horizon. Scientifically this Phase of the Moon is called Phases of the New Moons. And Allah(sub) mentions this Phase in the verse 2:189 as (Manazil of) Hilals that is ‘Ahillath’ which is plural of ‘Hilal’ in Arabic. (See: Fig.1)
Secondly the word ‘mawakeeth’ which means ending or deadline. Since ‘Ahillath’ the manazil of hilal is an occurrence which keeps repeating with some fixed time interval it is most appropriate to interpret ‘mawakeeth’ as ‘ Deadline or Ending (of every month).’
Now the proper interpretation for Hajj :
وقال النبى صلى الله عليه وسلم "الحج عرفة" وقال من ادرك ليلة جمع قبل صلاة الصبح فقد ادرك حجه (مسند احمد وسنن النسائى).
The prophet (sal) said ‘al hajju arafathu’ that is to reach ‘Arafa’ is ‘Hajj’. And said If any one reaches ‘Arafa’ before the dawn of the tenth day then he has fulfilled the obligation of Hajj. (Book: Musnad Ahmed and Soonan Nasaee).
So it is most appropriate to interpret the word ‘Hajj’ in the verse as :
the day of Arafa in which the faithfuls converge on the plains of Arafa to fulfill the obligation of ‘ Hajj’.
Now let us also find proper meaning for the Arabic word “BUYOOTH” from the same verse.
In almost all the interpretations of the Holy Quran the word “ Buyooth” which is plural of “Baith” in Arabic is translated as “Houses”. Whereas we can also find much broader meanings to this word in Arabic lexicons.
“Baith” is being translated as place to stay or house or mansion, situation, stage, phase in the Arabic lexicons. So subject to context of verse 2:189 it is most appropriate to interpret the word “Buyooth” as Mansions(of the Moon) or scientifically Phases(of the Moon).
Now let us interpret the verse with the proper meanings obtained to the words enclosed in the verse.
“ They ask you about ( Ahillath , the Manazil of ) Hilals , ( the Phases of ) the New Moons ! Say (you) ! It is (intended) for the Mankind (to know) the deadline (of a month) and (to know the day of Arafa in which the faithfuls converge on the plains of Arafa to fulfill the obligation of ) Hajj ; And it is not Piety to enter into the Phases (of the new moons from behind or from the middle ; But Piety is ‘thakwa’ fear of Allah in obeying His Commands ; And enter into the Phases (of the new moons) from (proper) entrances ; And fear Allah in obedience to His Commands so as to be Successful ! ”
Now let us understand the broader meaning of the above verse. :
Ahillath , the Manazil of Hilals or the Phases of the New Moon will indicate the deadline of a month that is Ahillath will indicate weather the month ends in a period of 29 days or in a period of 30 days. Also it will indicate the day of Arafa to fulfill the obligation of Hajj.
If ‘Ahillath’ is intended to indicate the period of a month and also an important occasion falling in the month then it is purely intended by Allah(sub) for the Mankind to formulate ‘An Universal Calendar ’ on the basis of Ahillath.
It is not Piety to enter into the Phases of the new moon from back or middle. This situation can arise only when we wait for hilal to appear first in any part of the world and begin the month from there. The Holy Qur’an says it is not Piety. So Sighting of the new moon is not Piety.
Piety is ‘thakwa’ fear of Allah in obeying his orders without any hesitation.
Now the Diktat : Enter into the Phases of the new moon from proper entrances. Here Allah(sub) stipulate a formula to end and begin the month with respect to the Phases of the Moon.
“ Enter into the Phase of the new moon through the proper entrances.” This Shari’ah which Allah(sub) diktats through the verse (2:189) can be implemented by fixing Ka’ba as the Center or Prime Meridian of the Globe.
The Diktat of Allah(sub) is to enter into the Phases from proper entrances. That is when Ahillath starts its course then the first day of the new month should start from the places east of Ka’ba and navigate towards Ka’ba which is a Sign of Allah also the Prime Meridian fixed by Almighty Allah(sub).
So the rule stipulated by Allah(sub) make it Mandatory to consider Ka’ba as the reference point for all purposes. So hence forth the Ummalqura Makkah Time (UMT) will remain the reference time for all type of Calculations. ( For more detail refer the Article : Ka’ba – a sign of Allah is the Prime Meridian ).
To implement the Diktat of Allah(sub) following set of conditions have to be taken into account. :
1. Every month Conjunction of the Sun , the Moon and the Earth takes place and the next moment Ahillath begins its course. This event either happens before the Sunset of 29th day in Makkah , the Ummal Qura or there after.
2.When Sun sets at Makkah , the Prime Meridian a new day dawns at the middle of Pacific , the eastern hemisphere of the Globe.
Now if Ahillath begins before Sunset of 29th day in Makkah then the month ends with 29 days and the first day of the new month will dawn from the eastern hemisphere and navigate towards Ka’ba and end at places west of Ka’ba. Also Allah’s Apostle(sal) has said a month consists of twenty nine days (recoded in Sahi Al Buhari narrated by Ibn Umar(ral). ).
And if Ahillath did not begin its course before the Sunset of 29th day in Makkah then the 30th day of the month which is called ‘yaumus shakh’ that is the day of doubt by Allah’s Apostle(sal) already begun its course from Pacific. So the month ends with 30 days.
If the month ends with 29 days with the start of Ahillath before Sunset of 29th day in Makkah then the birth of the new moon on the western parts of the Globe can be confirmed Scientifically , Sighting the new moon with Optical aids are also possible and at some time the new moon can be sighted with naked eye.
And if the month ends with 30 days with the start of Ahillath after Sunset of 29th day in Makkah then the birth of new moon cannot be confirmed by any means on the 29th day of the month from any part of the world which is pointed out by Prophet(sal) as day of qumma , the day when moon is obscured.
( See : UMT Clock developed by the Author which will show ‘mawakeeth’ the last day of the month and ‘ruiyath’ the visibility of the ‘hilal’ the new moon.)
Today the Prediction of the Prophet(sal) that a month can be either of 29 days or of 30 days is proved Scientifically as an Absolute Truth. The Ahillath , the Manazil of Hilals indicate the deadline of a month accurately without any doubt. So it is a fact proved beyond any doubt that the Simplified method shown by the Prophet(sal) remain as an Absolute Scientific Marvel in determining the month prior to gaining the Knowledge of Ahillath.
So the Teachings of the Prophet(sal) is compatible with the Diktats of the Holy Qur’an and nobody can see any controversy between them. Months of a Calendar year computed in advance on the basis of Ahillath ensures the birth of Hilal , the new moon of the month. So there is no difference in the basic Principle for determining the Calendar either on the basis of Hilal or on the basis of Ahillath. On the basis of Sighting it is not possible to announce the date for Hajj in advance. But on the basis of Ahillath computation of months can be done well in advance and The Umm al Qura Calendar can be formulated with aquiracy for Centuries in advance.
( UMMAL QURA CALCULATIONS FOR THE HIJRI YEAR 1433 - 1445 given separately )
Now the Ummah is under the obligation of implementing a Shari’ah which so far remain neglected or not being paid any attention from any quarters of the intellectuals and Islamic Jury. “ On the day of Eid al Fitr and on the day of Eid al Adah (which are the two days of feasting for the entire Ummah) the Apostle(sal) forbidden fasting on these two days.”
Narrated by Ayesha(ral) , Abu Huraira(ral) and Abu Saeed(ral) ; Book : Muslim.
Also the following Sunnah which Guarantees Purification of a Person for the life time if followed regularly remains meaningless. “ If any one observe fasting on the day of Arafa then Allah(sub) forgives his sins of the past and future one year .”
Narrated by Al Khathadha(ral) ; Book : Muslim
Holy Qur’an is Supreme and Declares beyond any doubt that Ahillath indicates Hajj that is the day of Arafa for the entire Ummah. So the day of Arafa is the day when faithfuls reach the plains of Arafa to fulfill the obligation of Hajj. And the day of Sacrifice in Makkah is Eid al Adah for entire Ummah. Also Holy Qur’an Diktats the Ummah to enter Baithullah from the entrances that is from the places East of Ka’ba when Ahillath begins its course. So the days of two Eids should start from East like the day of Jum’ah Prayer which is also a day of Eid for the Believers and arrive at Ka’ba in the middle and end at places west of Ka’ba.
Now onwards The Umm Al Qura Makkah Calendar will remain the Sole Universal Islamic Calendar for the entire Ummah. And it is Shari’ah to follow the dates of Umm Al Qura strictly. So if any Muslim Ummah who are not in agreement with the dates of Umm Al Qura then their actions are against Shari’ah and their Deeds are simply wasted.O you who have believed, fear Allah as He should be feared and do not die except as Muslims [in submission to Allah].
And do not be like the ones who became divided and differed after the clear proofs had come to them. And those will have a great punishment.
(O you , the Ummah of Mohammed !) , Establish the religion and not be divided therein.
Fear Allah(sub) in obedience to His Commands so that you will be Successful !
Sadakkallahul Aleem !
Walhamdu Lillahi Rabbil Alameen !