The Calendar System
Cont’d from page 3
The count of months, as far as God is concerned, is twelve. This has been God’s law, since the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred.... (9:36)
In the first chapter of the Bible, the Story of Creation, it says:
Then God said: “Let there be lights in the dome of the sky, to separate day from night. Let them mark the fixed times, the days and years.”
It took centuries following God’s revelations before Copernicus (1473-1543) was inspired to come up with the notion that the sun and the moon are moving in a measurable orbit. He determined that the sun stood still, and that the earth was one of the heavenly bodies moving around it; and that as the earth moved in a measurable orbit around the sun, the moon travelled around the earth in its own measurable path (orbit). However, God already revealed the accurate astronomical information to mankind in the honorable Quran as follow:
“The sun sets into a specific location, according to the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient. The moon we designed to appear in stages, until it becomes like an old curved sheath. (36:38-39)
He is the One who rendered the sun radiant, and the moon a light, and He designed its phases that you may learn to count the years and to calculate.
God did not create all this, except for a specific purpose. He explains the revelations for people who know.” (10:5)
The history of calendar
The history of calendar shows that the ancient Sumerians devised the first known lunar calendar about 5,000 years ago. Later Babylonians divided months into weeks and a week into 7 days. The Jews, once captive in Babylonia, used the Babylonian 7-day week, as did the sun-worshipers in Egypt, who developed a 52-week solar calendar based on 7-day week. Julius Caesar (circa 100-44 BC) tried to adjust the solar calendar so that it would repeat itself the same way every year. Then early Christians modified Caesar’s calendar so that all years following year 1, when Jesus Christ was born, would be known as AD (Anno Domini).
The Islamic calendar (Hijri) system is the purely lunar calendar with its year corresponding to about 354 earth days. The Islamic months are:
Muharram, Safar, Rabi I, Rabi II,
Note that AH, After Hijra—the emigration of Prophet Muhammad and his followers to the city of Medina in 622—is used to indicate the Islamic year.
The solar and lunar calendar systems are confirmed uniquely in the Quran in verse 18:25; where 9 is the difference between 300 solar and (corresponding to 309) lunar years.
They stayed in their cave three hundred years, increased by nine. (18:25)
Appreciating the use of calendars
The primary practical use of a calendar is to identify days, to be informed about and/or to agree on a future event and to record an event that has happened. For example, a calendar provides a way to determine which days are religious or civil holidays, which days mark the beginning and end of business accounting periods, and which days have legal significance, such as the day taxes are due or a contract expires. Also a calendar may be use by identifying a day and provides other useful information about the day such as its season:
“At the crack of dawn, He causes the morning to emerge. He made the night still, and He rendered the sun and the moon to serve as calculation devices. Such is the design of the Almighty, the Omniscient.” (9:96)
“And He is the One who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon; each floating in its own orbit.” (21:33)