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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Islamic Calendar


Islamic Calendar: 
Origin of the Month Names

The names of the Islamic months were used
before Islam. But, Arabs used tomanipulate the months specially the four
sacred months, mentioned below.


While Islam considered the lunar calendar
as the legal calendar, Islam prohibited any manipulation of the months.

Allah SWT says in Surah At-Tauba 9, Ayah

The postponing (of a Sacred Month) is indeed
an addition to disbelief: thereby the disbelievers are led astray, for
they make it lawful one year and forbid it another year in order to adjust
the number of months forbidden by Allah, and make such forbidden ones lawful.
The evil of their deeds seems pleasing to them. And Allah guides not the
people, who disbelieve. This Ayah prohibits such practice.

There are many rules linked to this calendar.
Zakat, Hajj and Ramdan are allbased this calendar. Also, there are other
significant things determined in Islam based on the lunar calendar, such
as the mourning period for the widow.

Regarding the origin of names, Arabs came
up with the names long before Islam. Most of the names are based on the
climate at the time or big event which was taking place.

MUHARRAM - This month's name is taken from
the word "Haram" which means forbidden. There was a custom in Arabia which
forbade fighting during this month. After Islam, this custom was taken
away by Allah (swt). This month was one of the four sacred months.

SAFAR - This word means "whistling of the
wind". When this name was assigned to this month, it was probably a windy
time of the year. As mentioned earlier, most of the months were named according
to weather conditions at the time. However, since they are based on the
moon, the months shift about 11 days every year. So, the seasons do not
necessarily correspond to the name of the month anymore.

RABI' AL-AWAL - The first month of spring.
It seems it was spring time when the name was given.

RABI' ATHANI - The second month of spring.

JUMADA AL-UWLA - The first month of summer.
"Jumada" means dry.

JUMADA ATHANIA - The second month of summer.

RAJAB - Another one of the sacred months
in which fighting was forbidden prior to Islam. This was one of the most
respected months for the Arabs. It is also called Rajab al Fard. Fard means
alone; because the other three sacred months come one after another, except
this month. It comes alone not like the other 3 consecutive sacred months.

SHA'BAN - This month's name was derived
from the word "shu'ba", which means branch. The Arabs used to branch out
during this month to look for water.

RAMADAN - Taken from the word "ramda' "
which means hot stones. This tells us that when this name was given, it
was a very hot time of the year.

SHAWWAL - Taken from the word "shala" which
means "when the female camel gets pregnant". When this name was given,
the female camels used to get pregnant during this time of the year.

Dhul QI'DAH - Taken from the word "qa'ada"
which means to sit. This is the third sacred month in which fighting was
forbidden. The people also used to stop their business activities during
this month and sit and prepare for the Hajj (Pilgrimage). This is also
a sacred month.

Dhul-Hijjah - This is the last sacred month
in which fighting was forbidden. This is the month in which the Hajj (Pilgrimage
to Mecca) was performed.


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