By Editorial Staff
It is known that most of the nations of the world have their own way to determine the dates and chronicling their events. Islam also has started a special criterion for determining the years, months and days that begin from the year in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his companions emigrated from Makkah to Madinah when they were subjected to the cruelest forms of torture because of their belief.
Hindus also have some particular events that have been regarded as the standard for determining the years and months. However, the difference between these cultures in the way of celebrating is evident and clear. In this article, we are going to compare some rituals and traditions of Islam and Hinduism.
The Importance of the Prophet’s Migration
The days, months and years generally occupy a prominent place in Islam. The Glorious Qur’an has highlighted the importance of the great events that occurred in the days and months, as Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
And remind them of the days of Allah. Indeed in that are signs for everyone patient and grateful. (Ibrahim14:5)
As well as, the beginning of the Islamic calendar is related to one of the most significant events in Islamic history, rather, in human history in general.The migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah to Madinah is considered a peaceful resistance to the injustice and tyranny practiced by the people of Makkah on the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers. Therefore, the Muslims are in need of remembering that decisive moment and the astonishing results of this migration.
The Islamic new year begins with the month of Muharram and ends with the month of Dhul-Hajj; the month of sacrifice and pilgrimage to Makkah. There are four months in Islam that have been regarded as hurum or sacred, because, all kinds of battle were forbidden during these four months.
The Prophet (peace be upon him) gave a sermon during his Hajj and said:
“Time has completed a cycle and assumed the form of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year contains twelve months of which four are sacred, three of them consecutive, i.e. Dhul-Qi`adah, Dhul-Hajjah and Muharram and also Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumadah and Sha`ban.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
This Hadith denotes that every year would be twelve months and every month of it would be between twenty-nine to thirty days, because, the Arabs during the age of ignorance used to change the year from twelve months to thirteen months, and delayed the Hajj to the coming month. So, the Prophet (peace be upon him) abolished the tradition and restored the months and year to their original nature.(1)
The Glorious Qur’an also clarified this issue, as Allah (Glory be to Him) said:
Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred. That is the correct religion, so do not wrong yourselves during them.(At-Tawbah 9:36)
In addition, the Glorious Qur’an has explained the system of days, months and years in a brief and unique style, as Allah (Glory be to Him) says:
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 time]. Allah has not created this except in truth. (Yunus10:5)
The Islamic date system began for the first time on Thursday, 1-1-1 A.H. that coincides with July 15th, 622 A.D.
The Calendar in the beginning was called the `Umari year, as it was first initiated by the second Caliph of Islam, `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him).
When did the Hijri Calendar Start?
Before the advent of Islam, Arabs chronicled the years through some significant events, such as; the year of the elephant or the year of the Plague, etc. The year of the elephant refers to the attack of Abrahah, the Abyssinian King on the Ka`bah. The story was mentioned in the Glorious Qur’an in SuratAl-Fil (the Elephant) in a brief and unique style.
The same method of chronicling was followed until the Caliphate of `Umar (may Allah be pleased with Him). It was narrated that Abu Musa Al-Asha`ri wrote to `Umar ibn Al-Khattab saying: “Letters have reached us from the Commander of the Faithful, but we do not know which to obey. We read a document dated [the month of] Sha`ban, but we do not know which of the Sha`bans is meant: is it the month that has passed, or that which is to come?”(2)
Then `Umar(may Allah be pleased with him) gathered the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) to seek their opinions regarding this issue. This meeting was held on Wednesday, 20 Jumada Al-A’khirah in the year 17 A.H.
Thus, the Companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him) agreed and concluded to make the beginning of the Islamic calendar from the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). Thus, the year of the migration was regarded as the beginning of the Islamic calendar.
It is noteworthy that many important worship and Islamic rituals are based on the lunar Islamic calendar such as; paying Zakah, fasting, performing Hajj, etc.
After this brief introduction to the Hijri year, we are going to compare the way of celebration in Islam and Hinduism. You can read the second part of this article in our coming article.
(1) Muhammad Shamsul-Haq Al-`Azimabadi, `Awn Al-M`abud, Dar Al-Fikr 1995, p.329.
(2)`Abdur-RahmanibnHasan Al-Jabarti, Tarikh `Aja’ib Al-A’atharfi at-Tarajim Wal-Akhbar, Dar Al-Jil, Beirut, vol.1, p.6.