People have come to believe that the month begins after they see the hilaal after Magrib. Since the preparations for fasing begins after magrib and people are informed, at the time of Magrib, about the decision of fasting next day, they have believed that the month begins at Magrib. This is only a layman’s view. Months are counted in days. The first date will begin with the first day of the month. It will not begin at Magrib before the daily routine of the 5 prayers have not ended. The Prophet SAW taught that 5 prayers make a day and the first prayer of the day is the Fajre. It is not Magrib. Asar is the middle prayer (Salaathal wustha) according to many Mufassireen.
“Hilaal is seen on the last day of the lunar month” is a rumour spread among the people in very early times, may be just after the period of Khulafa ur Rashideen. A lie repeated many times becomes like truth. People believe it. The Prophet SAW has warned us about telling lies. All people of our generation believe that the months begin after the Hilaal is seen to the naked eye. Even at the time of Umar RA they wanted to attack Umar RA saying that Umar AR begins the month without seeing the Hilaal. They quoted the Hadees “Laa thasoomoo hatta tharawul hilaala…..” out of context giving it a wrong meaning. We have already explained it above quoting Fath’ul Baari.
People believe that the Prophet SAW has ordered to begin the month after seeing the Hilaal. They do not want to verify whether the Prophet SAW has ever issued such an order. But this hadees mentioned above reported by Ibn Umar RA clears the doubts.
AlBakhthari said: “We set out for Umra and when we camped at ‘Bathni Nakhla.’ We discussed about the Hilaal. Some people said it is aged three days and some people said it is two days old. He said, we met Ibn Abbas RA and we said to him: “We saw the Hillal, some of the people said it is three days old and some of them said it is two days old. Then he said: “On which day did you see it?” We replied on such and such day. Then he said that the Messenger of Allah SAW said: “Verily Allah has arranged it for observation, so the one you saw is for the day you saw it.”
It is clearly known from this Hadees that the Hilaal that we see denotes the date for that day. It is not the date for the next day. People have the wrong idea that day begins at sun set and the crescent they see shows the dates for the next day. If the day begins at sun set when will the night begin? Will it begin at sun rise? Quran refutes such wrong ideas of the Jews and Christians by “Walallailu saabiqun nahaari” “night is not the forerunner of the day”.
I have seen this Hadees in the English translation of Sahih Muslim. It is written in it:” Verily Allah has deferred it till the time it is seen. So, it is to be reckoned from the night you saw it”. These translations which are carried out by people without knowledge in the subject mislead the readers. “Defer” means ‘delay’ which is not congruent with Allah SWT. The Heading of the chapter itself is misleading. These people have no idea about the wonderful arrangement of Allah SWT – the moon and its phases which show the mankind the dates fixed by Allah SWT on the very day of creation. They never see the moon, then how can they admire the wonders of Allah which Galileo saw and for which the Christian clergy punished and tortured him.
I quote below the English Translation of the above Hadees:
Chapter 6: IT IS IMMATERIAL WHETHER THE NEW MOON IS LARGE (ON ACCOUNT OF APPEARING AFTER THIRTY NIGHTS) OR SMALL (ON ACCOUNT OF APPEARING ON THE THIRTIETH NIGHT) ; AND ALLAH DEFERS IT TO MAKE IT SUITABLE FOR SIGHTING AND IF THE SKY IS CLOUDY, THEN THIRTY (FASTS) ARE TO BE COMPLETED
Book 006, Number 2392: Abu’l-Bakhtari reported: We went out to perform Umra and when we encamped in the valley of Nakhla, we tried to see the new moon. Some of the people said: It was three nights old, and others (said) that it was two nights old. We then met Ibn ‘Abbas and told him we had seen the new moon, but that some of the people said it was three nights old and others that it was two nights old. He asked on which night we had seen it; and when we told him we had seen it on such and such night, he said the Prophet of Allah (may peace be upon him) had said: Verily Allah deferred it till the time it is seen, so it is to be reckoned from the night you saw it.
Mistakes in the existing Ummul Qura Calendar
The present Ummul Qura calendar from 1420 to 1450AH is calculated based on the hypothesis of ‘Imkaane ru’uya’ or possibility of visibility which is not found in the Quran and the Sunnah. It is built upon the superstition that the Hilaal is seen to the naked eye after sun set on the last day of every lunar month.
The research conducted on sighting Hilaal for a century proves that the Hilaal is not seen to the naked eye on the last day of the month. Even the old records such as Thafseer Ibn Kathir, Thabari, Kurthubi etc. state that Hilaal becomes visible after sun set on the first day of the lunar month.
The moon seen on the last day at daytime under certain circumstances such as solar eclipse and Hilaal that is seen miraculously before or after noon on such occasions is not for that day but for the following day which will be the first day of the month. If it happens in Ramadan one need not break the fast because that day belongs to Ramadan. From this it is clearly known that a solar eclipse marks the end of the lunar month and next day belongs to the new month.
A solar eclipse occurs only on the day of conjunction. So, the criterion for calculating the lunar month is ‘conjunction’ or new moon which can be accurately calculated by astronomical rules. This will give us the true lunar dates and months.
When the months are calculated by ‘Imkane ru’uya’ criterion, the measure of the months is changed. The dates which must tally with phases of the moon do not go with phases (2:189). Allah SWT has fixed the months, some as 29 and some as 30 days on the very day of creation. (9:36). The Imkaane ru’uya method changes months of 29 into 30. No one has a right to interfere in the Nizam of Allah SWT.
Changing the months of 29 as 30 is Haram and comes under Nasie (9:37). For example last year 1429H fasting began in Haramain on the 2nd of Ramadan! The first day was neglected. Fortunately, The Eidul Fitre was observed on the right day. Again the Arafa was observed on the wrong day! How can we say that we do not know calculations? All this happens because of the defects in the calendar. All of a sudden the date is changed according to the whims of the people. Others are made to believe that Islam is not practical now and this prevent them from embracing Islam!
Allah SWT has entrusted the change of dates with the moon. Clouds or people have no right to change the fixed dates of Allah SWT. Ramadan 1430 H begins on Friday according to Nizam of Allah SWT, but the present Ummul Qura calendar puts it as on Saturday. According to the phases and stages of the moon Ramadan 1430 begins on Friday and ends on Friday (29 days) and Eidul fitre falls on Saturday.
Zul Hijjah 1430 begins on Tuesday. These could be verified with naked eye observation of the Ahillah and Manaazil of the moon. But the present Ummul Qura puts it on Wednesday!
Such serious mistakes which mislead the people are found in the present Ummul Qura calendar. Printing and publishing true lunar calendars based on the Quran and Sunnah is the need of the hour. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia should take the lead first and then Insha Allah others will follow. May Allah bless us all and lead us to the Truth!
The root cause of the present confusion in the Islamic dates is the misunderstanding of the Quran and Hadees.
The Quranic Ayaths 2: 183 to189, 9:36,37, 10:5, 36:37 to 40, 55:5 and other related ayaths, which deal with the calendar need thorough examination and appropriate interpretation of the Ulema.
Points to Ponder
1. There is no confusion in the religion of Allah SWT, the Great Islam. So there should not be the confusion of Hilaal and Dates in the Muslim world. All Muslims must follow the Great Religion of Allah. Allah SWT has perfected our religion and completed His Ni’amah. If anyone believes that there is confusion in the dates of Islamic calendar which depends on the Ahillah and Manaazil of the moon and that this calendar is not practical in the present world, doubts about the perfection of Deenul Islam. He doubts Allah and HIS apostle (Naudubillah).
2. “Soomu Li ru’yathihi….” does not mean that we should see the Hilaal by naked eye at Magrib and begin Ramadan fasting on next day. If we waited till we see the Hilaal which is seen only after the sun set of the first day of the month we certainly will miss the first day.
3. There is only one Yawmul Jumu’a in a week, i.e. Friday. There are no 2 or 3 Jumu’a days in a week. There is no possibility of 2 or 3 days coming under a single date. This is absolutely wrong. Then how can there be 3 days for Eidul Fithre in a year? And how could Ramadan begin in 3 days? There are no 2 or 3 days of lailathul Qadr. Quran tells us about one lailathul Qadr repeating every year.
4. Quran and Sunnah clearly explain that our day starts before dawn. All creations of Allah get up at dawn when sun rays fall on the atmosphere of the earth, indicating that we must begin the day at the time of dawn. Then how do the Muslims start their day from Magrib. If so, when will they begin their night? Will they begin their night in the morning?
5. Days should be counted systematically for calculations beginning at a date line according to the Nizam of Allah SWT. A place where Muslims must perform Jumu’a for two days on the earth is inevitable. This means that there must be two Fridays at one locality or zone in the world. This must be separated by a boundary of sea so that people cannot reach two sides without travelling. Here lies the Islamic date line. Here alone Eid also will be performed for two days like the Jumu’a. But there will not be difference in the name of the day of Eid. In both sides people will celebrate Eid on Saturday only. Subhanallah! How wonderful is the Nizam of Allah.
6. This date line was perfected and declared as “International Date Line” in 1886. So, lunar datelines created by hypothesis of Imkaaane Ru’uya and Makkah date line with an intention to make Makkah the capital of the world are impossible and impracticable.
7. Saudi Arabia, where the two Haramain are situated and blessed land of Islam must come forward to implement the true lunar calendar of Allah SWT. The Custodian of two Holy Mosques has the responsibility of carrying out this task of establishing this calendar in the Islamic world for the good of humanity at large.