The Urgency of Calendar in Islamic Shari’a

Hijri Calendar (photo: Screenshot of Santripedia)

By: Imam Yakhsyallah Mansur

On this occasion, let us reflect on the words of Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala contained in the Surah Al-Baqarah verse 189:

يَسْـَٔلُونَكَ عَنِ ٱلْأَهِلَّةِ ۖ قُلْ هِىَ مَوَٰقِيتُ لِلنَّاسِ وَٱلْحَجِّ ۗ وَلَيْسَ ٱلْبِرُّ بِأَن تَأْتُوا۟ ٱلْبُيُوتَ مِن ظُهُورِهَا وَلَٰكِنَّ ٱلْبِرَّ مَنِ ٱتَّقَىٰ ۗ وَأْتُوا۟ ٱلْبُيُوتَ مِنْ أَبْوَٰبِهَا ۚ وَٱتَّقُوا۟ ٱللَّهَ لَعَلَّكُمْ تُفْلِحُونَ (البقرة [٢]: ١٨٩)

“They ask you about the crescent moon. Say: “The crescent is a sign of time for people and (for the worship of) Hajj; And it is not the virtue of entering the houses from behind, but that virtue is the virtue of the pious. And enter into those houses by their doors; and fear Allah so that you may be successful.”

In Al-Muyassar’s interpretation it is explained, Allah Subhanahu wa Ta’ala makes the new moon as signs for humans to know the appointed times of worship, such as the beginning of Ramadan, paying zakat and kafarat, hajj, paying debts or in commerce, and calculate the iddah period for women.

It is not a virtue if the Muslims imitate the habits of the ignorant, such as entering their houses through the back when they want to start Hajj and Umrah. But the real virtue is the act of a pious person, which is to stay away from immorality and try to do worship according to the Shari’a that has been ordered.

Shaykh Ibn Hajar Al-Atsqalani in the book “Fathul Baari” explains, the official hijri calendar was used by Muslims during the Caliph Umar bin Khattab. This departed from his anxiety when he received letters from friends, including from Waliyul Amri in Basrah at that time, Abu Musa Al-Asy’ari, without the day and date of delivery.

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Caliph Umar realized that there were difficulties when filing and selecting the order of letters. Then, he held a deliberation involving experts from among the companions to draw up a calendar that was specifically applicable in Islam.

In one narration, Sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib proposed the beginning of the Islamic calendar starting from the year the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) migrated from Makkah to Yathrib (Medina). The proposal was accepted by the deliberation participants and furthermore, Umar determined the use of the official Muslim calendar on the 8th of Rabi’ul Awal 17 H.

Why is Muharram designated as the first month of the Hijri calendar? Because in that month, the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi Wasallam first intended and planned to emigrate to Medina.

The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wasallam left the city of Mecca on Thursday, 27 Safar and came out of the Cave of Tsur on 2 Rabi’ul Awal, until he arrived in the city of Medina on the 12th of Rabi’ul Awal.

Why should we understand and use the Hijri calendar? Because the hijri calendar is used as a guide in the implementation of worship as described in the interpretation of Al-Muyassar above.

Important and historic events, especially the Nabawiyah Sirah are also recorded with the hijri calendar. So, for anyone who wants to study and explore the history of Islam, he must understand the hijri calendar.

Not only that, if someone wants to understand the history, philosophy, development and progress of science and technology of Middle Eastern and European scholars in the golden age of Islam, then understanding the Hijri calendar is the main requirement. Because in every historical journey, it is always recorded in the Hijri calendar count.

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Using the Hijri calendar also shows our inner and outer attachments, as the people of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi Wasallam. The hijri calendar reminds people of major events that are the milestones for changing human civilization, namely the hijrah event.

The struggle of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi Wasallam in changing civilization must be an inspiration and encouragement for us in carrying out every job we do.

By taking a role model and following the sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi Wasallam, we will be able to achieve success and blessings in the life of this world, even until the Hereafter. As he said:

إِنِّي تَرَكْتُ فِيكُمْ شَيْئَيْنِ لَنْ تَضِلُّوا بَعْدَهُمَا كِتَابَ اللَّهِ وَسُنَّتِى وَلَمْ يَتَفَرَّقَا حَتَّى يَرِدَا عَلَيَّ الْحَوْضَ /رواه الحاكم

“I have left two things that you will not go astray as long as you stick to them, namely the Book of Allah and my Sunnah. The two will not separate until they come to me in the (heaven) lake.” (HR Al-Hakim)

Several scholars have expressed the importance of a global Islamic calendar with the principle of “one day one date” around the world. That means, the hijri calendar system applies in all regions without exception, which is based on the similarity between days and dates.

The application of the global Islamic calendar is included in the category of hifdzuddin (protection of religion). Thus, the days of worship of Muslims can be united.

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The presence of a global Islamic calendar is a demand for civilization (civilization imperative), as well as a requirement for a civilization to continue to exist and develop.

The hijri calendar will help Muslims in making development plans. Meanwhile, debates and differences in the calendar among the ummah such as determining the beginning of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr and the day of Arafah will be resolved because the ummah already has agreed standards.

The hallmark of Islam is its teachings which emphasize universality and togetherness. This is in line with the essence of the presence of the Prophet Muhammad sallallaahu ‘alaihi Wasallam who carried out the mission of rahmatan lil ‘alamin, to provide safety and peace to creatures throughout the world.

So, with one Islamic calendar, the symbols of Islam will shine brightly and the unity of the ummah will be realized as described by Allah in His word:

إِنَّ هَٰذِهِۦٓ أُمَّتُكُمْ أُمَّةً وَٰحِدَةً وَأَنَا۠ رَبُّكُمْ فَٱعْبُدُونِ (الانبياء [٢١]: ٩٢)

“Indeed, this (religion of monotheism) is your religion, one religion and I am your Lord, so worship me.”

The Islamic calendar will be a milestone in the history of human civilization. The Muslims will be victorious again, occupy a noble position and lead the world, with their own identity, their own calendar, their own worship, as was practiced by the Prophet and his companions, continued by generations after.

May we all be able to emulate the success of those who have triumphed and may blessings and convenience always accompany the steps of Muslims in struggling, upholding the message of their religion. Amen Ya Rabbal Alamin. (T/RE1)

Mi’raj News Agency (MINA)