The Twelve Months of the Islamic Lunar Calendar

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. And fight against the disbelievers collectively as they fight against you collectively. And know that Allah is with the righteous [who fear Him]. Quran 9:36

 

The Islamic calendar is based on the year prophet Muhammad () and his fellow Muslims (known as Sahabah, the Companions) emigrated to Madinah in the year 622 C.E. (Christian Era).   The emigration took place after thirteen years of persecutions by the disbelievers of Makkah. By the command of God, the Prophet left the city with his companion Abu Bakr Siddique (R.A.) and escaped a death threat by the disbelievers. The event marks the beginning of a second phase of the Islamic movement. It is the phase when Madinah became the center of an Islamic state.

    The Islamic calendar is lunar. Each month must begin with the evening when the new moon is sightable by the unaided naked eye. Muslims are obligated to sight the crescent in every country. Different countries may begin the year at different days based on their own sightings. The calendar is called Hijri calendar. The Arabic word Hijrah means emigration.

 

The Islamic Months

    The names of the twelve Islamic months are as follows:

  1. Muharram
  2. Safar
  3. Rabiul-Awwal
  4. Rabi-uthani
  5. Jumadi-ul-Awwal
  6. Jumadi-uthani
  7. Rajab
  8. Sha’ban
  9. Ramadan
  10. Shawwal
  11. Dhil-Q’ada
  12. Dhil-Hijja

 


Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar).
Surah (Chapter) at-Tawbah (Repentance) Qur-an 9:36

 

Allah  has also mentioned about maintaining the sanctity of the sacred months:


O you who believe! Violate not the sanctity of the Symbols of Allah, nor of the Sacred Month,…
Surah (Chapter) al-Ma”idah (Table Spread with Food) Qur-an 5:2

The four sacred months are not named in the Holy Qur-an, but their names are available from Ahadith (Sayings of Muhammad pnuh).

Messenger of Allah pbuh  in his farewell Khutbah (Sermon) and said: “Time has completed its cycle and is as it was on the Day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred, three consecutive months Dhul Qa’dah, Dhul Hijjah and Muharram – and the Rajab of Mudar which comes between Jumad al Ukhrah and Sha’ban.”
Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim

Ahadith (Sayings of Muhammad pbuh) have clearly established that the following four months as the sacred months:

1. Muharram (1st month of the Islamic Calendar)

2. Rajab (7th month of the Islamic Calendar)

3. Dhul Qa’dah (11th month of the Islamic Calendar)

4. Dhul Hijjah (12th month of the Islamic Calendar)

Muslims should live by a code of conduct ordained by Allah that was demonstrated by His last Rasul (Messenger) all the time. But they should pay special attention to respect the four months, because Allah (God) has given them a special status.


Verily, the number of months with Allah is twelve months (in a year), so was it ordained by Allah on the Day when He created the heavens and the earth; of them four are Sacred (i.e. the 1st, the 7th, the 11th and the 12th months of the Islamic calendar).
Surah (Chapter) at-Tawbah (Repentance) Qur-an 9:36

Allah (God) has Commanded Muslims not to commit sins during these sacred months. Committing sins any time is bad, but committing sins during these sacred months is even worse.

 

 

Muharram
 First month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: The word “Muharram” means “Forbidden.”  Even before Islam, this month was always known as a scared month in which all unlawful acts were forbidden, prominently the shedding of blood.  

Blessing: There are many bounties of this month, especially on 10th of Muharram.

10th of Muharram: On this day he who spends more lavishly for the sake of his family members, Allah Ta’aalaa will bestow blessing upon the sustenance of the following year.

Abu Qataada (R.A.) has related that the Prophet  has reported to have said, It is my thought that by fasting on the 10th of Muharram Allah Ta’aalaa will pardon the sins of the past year. (Tirmizi)

 

During Islam:

1. Hadhrat Hussain (R.A.) was martyred in this month.

2. Shaykhain Tirmizi & Haakim has narrated from Anas (R.A) that the following verse:

“Allah may forgive thee of thy sins that which is past and that which is to come . . .”
(Qur’an Al-Fath 48:2)
was revealed on the 10th of Muharram.
3. The Prophet Muhammed  went to defeat Bani Muhaarin and Bani Tha’laba (Tribes of Bani Gatfan) in the year 4 A.H. (Asahhus-siyar)

 

Safar
 Second month of the Islamic calendar

Meaning: This word means “whistling of the wind”. When this name was assigned to this month, it was probably a windy time of the year. As mentioned earlier, most of the months were named according to weather conditions at the time. However, since they are based on the moon, the months shift about 11 days every year. So, the seasons do not necessarily correspond to the name of the month anymore.

Misconception:

This time of the year was considered to be cursed as many catastrophes and calamities took place.  However this belief has been proven to be false and totally without foundation (absurd).

This can also be confirmed by the following hadeeth.
Hadhrat Jaabir (R.A.) has said that, “I have heard the Prophet  saying, the descending of illness and evil superstition befalling in the month of Safar is untrue.” (Muslim)

Events:

1. The Battle of Abwaa took place on 12th of Safar in the year 2 A.H.
2. The Battle of Khaibar took place in the year 7 A.H.
3. Hadhrat Ali (R A ) married Prophet daughter Hadhrat Fatima (R.A.) in the latter days of Safar 2 A.H.
4. Khubaib Ibn Adey (R.A.) was martyred in Safar in the year 4 A.H. in Makkah.
5. Zaid Ibn Dathina (RA) was martyred in this month in the year 4 A.H. in Makkah.


 

 

Rabi-Al-Awwal

Third month of the Islamic calendar

Meaning: First month of spring.  It seems it was spring time when the name was given.

Events:

1. The Holy Prophet  was born in this month as mercy for all and departed from this world 63 years later.

2. The Holy Prophet   migrated from Makkah to Madinah Munawwarah.
3. Battle of Buwaat took place in the year 2 A.H.
4. Battle of Saf’vaan took place in the year 2 A.H.
5. Abu Bakr’s(R. A) daughter, Asma (R.A.) was born 6 years before Prophecy.
6. Ruqayyah (R. A.) the daughter of the beloved Prophet  was born 7 years before Prophecy.
7. Abu Bakr (RA.) was appointed Caliph.
8. Hadhrat Umme Kuithum was married in this month to the third Caliph; Uthman (R.A.) in 3 A.H.
9. Wife of the Holy Prophet  Zainab (RA.) passed away in the year 4 A.H.
10. Ibrahim (RA.) the son of Maaria Qibtiya & of the Holy Prophet  passed away in the year 10 A.H.

 

 

Rabi-Al-Thani

Fourth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: The second month of spring.

Events:
1. Battle of Furu’ from Buhraan took place in 3 A.H  Sariyyah-Battle in which the Holy Prophet  did not take part in, instead he consigned one of his Companions as the colonel.  The consigned: Sariyyah Ali Ibn Abi Talib in the 9th Hijri.  Sariyyah-Ibn Alqamah Mujaazziz Mudlejee.

2. Hadrat Khwaja Nizamuddin- 18th Rabi-ul-Akhir: 725 Hijri.  Hadrat Sheikh Abdul Qadir Jilanee- 11th Rabi-ul-akhir: 561 Hijri passed away at the age of 90.


 

Jumada-Al-Awwal
Fifth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: The first month of summer. “Jumada” means dry.

Events:

1. The Battle “Moota” took place in 8 A.H.  A war against infidels in which th Holy Prophet  did not participate.  Th battle is named after a famous city in Syria (Moota).  Hadrat Zaid Ibn Haritha (R.A) was the first appointed General by the Holy Prophet 

2. In the same Battle Hadrat Khalid ibn Walid (fourth general of the Battle of Moota) was proclaimed by the Holy Prophet  as being “one of the swords of Allah”.

3. The Holy Prophet  married his first beloved wife; Hadrat Khadijah (R.A) 15 years prior to Prophecy.

4. Deaths:

Hadrat Zaid Ibn Haritha (R.A) met martyrdom in 8 A.H
Hadrat Ja’far Ibn Abi Talib (R.A.) met martyrdom in 8 A.H.
Hadrat Abdullah Ibn Rawaahah met martyrdom in 8 A.H.
Hadrat Abdullah Ibn Uthman (R.A.) passed away.
The Holy Prophet  grandfather Abdul Muttalib passed away 32 years prior to prophency.

 

 
 

 

Jumada-Al-Thani

Sixth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: Second month of summer.

Events:

1. Battle of Salaasil took place in 8 A.H.
2. Abu Salama (R.A) died in the year 4 A.H.

 

Rajab
 Seventh month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning:    From Rajaba “to respect”.  Another one of the sacred months in which fighting was forbidden prior to Islam. This was one of the most respected months for the Arabs.  It is also called Rajab al Fard. Fard means alone; because the other three sacred months come one after another, except this month.  It comes alone not like the other 3 consecutive sacred months.

Events:

1. The Holy Prophet  ascended to Heaven on the 27th of Rajab on either Sunday or Monday (Mi’raaj).
2. Hadhrat Bilal Ibn Haritha (R.A) brought a congregation of four hundred men named Banu Muzeena in the presence of the Holy Prophet .  They all embraced Islam and became followers of the Holy Prophet  in the year 5 A.H
3. The battle of Tabook took place in the year 9 A.H. This was the last battle in which the Holy Prophet  participated.
4. The second Oath of Aqabah took place in Rajab, 12 A.H.

5. Deaths:

Imam Abu Hanifa (R.A) passed away on the 15th of Rajab 150 A.H.
Imam Shafi’ee (R.A) passed away on the 14th Rajab 204 A.H.
Imam Muslim (R.A) passed away on the 24th of Rajab 261 A.H.
Imam Nawawee (R.A) passed away on the 14th of Rajab 677 A.H.


 

Shaban

 Eight month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning:    Consecutively escalating.  (Undisturbed increase).  Derived from the word “shu’ba”, which means branch.  The Arabs used to branch out during this month to look for water.

Blessings:

With the Arrival of the Shaban moon numerous blessings are showered upon us.  Just as the initiation of rainfall begins with “pitter patter” such blessings reach us in the same accord and fashion.

With the Beginning of Shaban blessings are initiated which progressively escalate so that by mid-Shaban the blessings have reached a considerable amount and finally such blessings reached a considerable amount and finally such blessings reach their peak by the end of Ramadan.

For example just as a farmer prepares for a fruitful harvest by harrowing his acreage so that the soil may readily retain water, in contrast our souls are geared by the presence of such blessings in Shaban effectively preparing us for a fruitful and completely advantageous Ramadan.
Our Holy Prophet  has said, “Shaban is my month and Ramadan the month of Allah Ta’aalaa.” (Daylami)

Events:


1.
“Laila-tul Baraa’at (Night of forgiveness) the fifteenth night of Shaban.
2. “Qibla”, the direction to be adopted within salaah, was reverted back to the “Ka’aba” in Makkah (after being coverted to Baitul Muqaddas in Jerusalem for a short period of time).  This took place two years after Hijraah on the 15th of Shaban.
3. Fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan was made compulsory in the year 2 A.H. on the 25th of Shaban.
4. Three years A.H. Hadhrat Hafsa (R.A) was joined in matrimony with the Prophet .
5. In this very month forty two years later Hadhrat Hafsa (R.A) took leave from this world.
6. The birth of the Prophet’s  grandson Hadhrat Hussain (R.A.) took place, four years on the fifth of Shaban.
7. The battle of Banu Mustaliq took place in Shaban.
8. During the above mentioned battle, the “Aayah of Tayammum” (Purifying with sand before salaah) was revealed, in the year 5 A.H.
9. The daughter of the beloved Prophet  Umme Kulthum (R.A.) took leave from this world, in the 9 A.H.

 


Ramadan
Ninth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: Derived from “RAMADHA”, literally means “intense heat”.  The possible reasons for this meaning:

1. When the Islamic months were enforced the month of fasting coincided with the summer months of intense heat.

2. The second reason which has been mentioned is that due to fasting the temperature within the stomach increases, again the element of heat is a factor behind the actual naming of RAMADAN.

3. It has also been said that “RAMADHAA” is one of the names of Allah Ta’aalaa.  If that is the case then the month has acquired the name due to the fact that Allah Ta’aalaa burns away accumulated sins and eliminates then from the list of unlawful deeds.  Once again the burning sins cannonades “HEAT”.  However. it should be acknowledged that this reasoning is not wholly reliable.

Blessings:

Hadhrat Salmaan (R.A) reports that on the last day of Sha’baan the Messenger of Allah Ta’aalaa addressed then and said, “Oh people, there comes before you now a great month, a most blessed month in which lies a night more greater in virtue than 1,000 months; (LAYLATUL-QADR).  It is a month in which each day should be observed by fasting, this has been made obligatory by the Almighty Allah.”

Events:
1. Hadhrat Hasan (R.A.), Holy Prophet  grandson was born on 15th of Ramadan, three years after Hijrah.

2. Qur’an was revealed on the 27th night of Ramadan from the “Lauhe Mahfooz” (on 7th heaven) to 1st heaven.

3. The first Battle in the Islamic History, “BATTLE OF BADR” took place on the 12th of Ramadan in year 2 A.H.

4. Victory of Makkah took place on 18th of Ramadan in the year 8 A.H.
5. Hadhrat Sawdah (R.A) was married in year 10 A.H. to the Holy Prophet 
6. Hadhrat Zainab Bint Khuzaima’s (R.A.) marriage took place in the year 3 A.H. to the Holy Prophet .

7. Deaths:

i)  Hadhrat Ruqayyah (R.A),  Holy Prophet  daughter, passed away at the young age of 23 in the year 2 A.H when the Prophet  was at “Battle of Badr”.
ii)  Hadhrat Khadijah (R.A), wife of the Holy prophet   departed from this world on the 11th of Ramadan in the year 10 A.H.

iii)  Hadrat Fatimah (R.A) took leave from the world on a Tuesday 3rd Ramadan in the year 11 A.H. (6 months after the death of Holy Prophet  she was only 29 years old.)

iv)  Hadrat Abbas (R.A.) the Holy Prophet  uncle passed away on a Friday  12th Ramadan in the year 32 A.H at the age of 88
v)  Hadrat Ali (R.A.) the Prophet  son-in-law departed from this world on Friday 27th Ramadan, age 57 in the year 40 A.H.

vi)  Hadhrat Saffiyah (R.A.) took leave from this world in the year 50 A.H., aged 60 years.

vii) Hadhrat Aa’ishah (R.A.) was 65 years old when she departed in the year 58 A.H.


Shawwal
Tenth month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: Uplift/breakage, as before Islam, Arabs believed that any marriage held in Shawwal would always turn out to be unsuccessful.  Taken from the word “shala” which means “when the female camel gets pregnant”. When this name was given, the female camels used to get pregnant during this time of the year.

Blessings:

The first day of Shawwal is Eid-Ul-Fitr, the day of festival and when all sins are forgiven as a reward for fasting and prayers in the month of Ramadan.

Its Sunnah ( Tradition of Holy Prophet  ) to fast for six days in Shawwal, as narrated in the following Hadeeth by Abu Ayyub Ansaru (R.A) that the Holy Prophet  has said, “If one throughout his life keeps the fasts of Ramadan and keeps six consecutive fasts in Shawwal it will be as though he has kept a whole life time of fasts, and if one fast for six consecutive days in Shawwal it will be as though he has fasted all year round.”

(Muslim)

Events:

1. Hadhrat Aa’ishah Siddiqah (R.A) was born in Shawwal, 4 years after Prophethood and 9 years before Hijrah.
2. Hadhrat Aa’ishah Siddiqah (R.A.) was married to Holy Prophet   in Shawwal,  10 years after Prophethood which is 3 years before Hijrah.

3. The fight between Banu Qaynaqaa took place between the battle of Badr and Uhud, Shawwal 2 A.H. after Hijrah.

4. The battle of Uhud also took place in Shawwaal, three years after Hijrah.
5. Hadhrat Hussain (R.A) Holy Prophet’s grandson (son of Hadhrat Fatima R.A.) was born in the month of Shawwaal 4 years after Hijrah.
6. The Holy Prophet  married Hadhrat Umme Salamah (R.A.) in Shawwal in the 4 year after Hijrah.
7. Hadhrat Aa’ishah Siddiqah’s (R.A) mother passed away in year 5 A.H.
8. The Holy Prophet’s  uncle Abu Talib departed from this world in the middle of Shawwal in the year 5 A.H.
9. Imam Bukhari (R.A.) was born on a Friday of Shawwaal in the year 194 A.H.

 


Zul-Qa’dah
 

Eleventh month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: Taken from the word “qa’ada” which means to sit. This is the third sacred month in which fighting was forbidden. The people also used to stop their business activities during this month and sit and prepare for the Hajj (Pilgrimage). This is also a sacred month.

Events:

1. The battle of ‘khandaq (trench) or Ahzab’ took place in the year 5 A.H.

2. In the year 6 A.H.-Truce of Hudaubiyah.

3. In the year 6 A.H ‘Bay’at-e-Rizwaan’ (The oath of allegiance named Rizwaan).

4. The return to Makkah for Umrah by Holy Prophet  and his Companions in the year 7 A.H.

 

Zul-Hijjah
 Twelfth and last month of the Islamic Calendar.

Meaning: The month of “Hajj” (Pilgrimage).  This is the last sacred month in which fighting was forbidden.

Blessings: 

The fifth pillar of Islam “Hajj” is performed in this sacred month.  The first ten days of Zul-Hijjah are the most virtuous days in this whole month, Hajj is performed amongst these ten days.

Hadhrat Abu Haraira (R.A) reports from the Holy Prophet  : “Amongst all days there are none better to engage in sole worship of Allah than in the ten days of Zul-Hijjah,  To observe a fast on any of these days is equivalent to fasting throughout the year, to actively engage in prayer and worship throughout any of these nights holds such rewarding values leveling with “night of power” (Laylatul-Qadr) “Tirmizi”

It has been stated in the Holy Qur’an, “By the dawn; By the ten nights (ie. the first ten days of the month of Zul-Hijjah), and by the even and the odd (of all the creations of Allah) and by night when it departs.  There is indeed in them (the above oaths) sufficient proofs for men of understanding.  (and that they should avoid all kinds of sins and disbelief)”
Hadhrat Abi Qataadah (R.A) reports in a part narration from the Holy Prophet  concerning the fast observed on the day of Arafaat: “I have full confidence in Allah for the one who observes a fast on the day of Arafaat that his previous year’s sins and the proceeding year’s sins are forgiven.”

(Muslim)

Events:
1
. The Prophet  performed the farewell Hajj and gave the historic sermon known as the “Farewell Sermon”
2. Egypt was conquered by the army sent by Hadhart Umar (R.A.)
3. Uthmaan (R.A.) was appointed the third Caliph
4. “Bay’ate-Aqabah”

5. Hadhrat Fatimah (R.A.) was married in this holy month to the fourth Caliph Hadhrat Ali (R.A.)

Deaths:

i) Hadhrat Umar (R.A.) met martydom- 27th of Zul-Hijjah in the year 26 A.H.
ii) Hadhrat Uthmaan (R.A) was martyred- 18th Zul-Hijjah in the year 35 A.H.

 

Reference: http://www.isgr.org/islammonth.htm

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