OP-ED

Muslims Use Gregorian Calendar More than Islamic Calendar

National Yemen

Asma al-Mohattwari

The Islamic New Year of Al Hijri calendar for the year 1436 took place on Saturday, October 25. The month of Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic liturgical year. The Islamic year begins on the first day of Muharram, and is counted from the year of the Hegira, the year in which the prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina (A.D. July 16, 622).

Muslims usually bid farewell to the old Hijri year and welcom the new Hijri year, but most Muslims were unaware of the beginning and the end of Al Hijri calendar.

Dr. Ahmed Taha said that the lack of the use of Islamic Calendar in the lives of Muslims is due to western attempts to obliterate the Islamic identity and culture.

He stressed that people should adopt the Islamic Calendar, “but I do not mind the combined use of the Gregorian calendar alongside the Islamic one.  Some bodies and institutions adopted the Islamic Calendar in their work, such as Saudi Arabia and the Islamic University of Gaza,” he added.

Dr. Taha called on all Muslims to return to the Islamic Calendar in their daily lives and seek enlightenment from the Holy Quran and the great events in the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and take lessons from them.

Aml al-Mansour said that most people forget about the Islamic Calendar and remember it only in Ramadan, the fasting month, and in Zul-Hijjah, the pilgrim month. “We have to care more about the Islamic Calendar in our daily lives.”

The Hijri New Year, also known the Islamic New Year, is the day that marks the beginning of the new Islamic calendar year, and is the day on which the year count is counted. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The first Islamic year began in 622 AD during which the emigration of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra.

While some Islamic organizations prefer determining the new month, and hence the new year, by local sightings of the moon, most Islamic institutions and countries, including Saudi Arabia, follow astronomical calculations to determine the future dates of the Islamic calendar.

There are various schema for calculating the tabular Islamic calendar based on observations, which result in differences of typically one or even two days between countries using such schema and those that use lunar sightings. For example, the Umm al-Qura Calendar used in Saudi Arabia was reformed several times in recent years. The current scheme was introduced in AH 1423 (15 March 2002).

A day in the Islamic calendar is defined as beginning at sunset. For example, 1 Muharram 1432 was defined to correspond to 7 or 8 December 2010 in official calendars (depending on the country). For an observation-based calendar, a sighting of the New Moon at sunset of 6 December would mean that 1 Muharram lasted from the moment of sunset of 6 December to the moment of sunset of 7 December, while in places where the New Moon was not sighted on 6 December, 1 Muharram would last from the moment of sunset of 7 December to the moment of sunset of 8 December.