10. Letter to the Director for the Islamic Jurisprudent Academy, Makkah, dated 23-11-2001 (08-09-1422). The Sahar time of Makkah or the midnight of Greenwich is the time of day change in the Islamic world since the time of the Prophet (saw). The day actually changes at the Meeqathul Qibla or the International Date Line, where East Qibla changes to West Qibla. The letter defines the International Date Line, substantiates its relevance and emerges that the day must change at that line and that any changes in the Ummul Qura calendar is unwarranted.
The Director for the Islamic Jurisprudent Academy,
Muslim World League, Secretarial General,
Makkah Al Mukarramah,
Dear Brother in Islam,
Assalamu alaikum Warhmatullahi Wabarakatuhu,
A letter received from KACST says that the beginning of the Hijra month used to be determined before 1420H based on the beginning of the day in Greenwich at midnight and that this is not congruent with the Hadith "Soomoo li ru'uyatihi" and that they want to change the month when the Hilal becomes visible at Makkah. This will not coincide with the Islamic Day change. The Sahar time of Makkah or the midnight of Greenwich is the time of Day change in the Islamic world since the time of the Prophet (saw).
I think their view is not congruent with the text of the Qur’aan, which should be the basis for the rules of the Shariah. The Messenger of Allah has not said anything, which is not congruent with the Qur'aan.
"Soomoo li ru'uyatihi" has vast meaning. It is just like "Aqimissalatha li dulookisshamsi" We cannot say that the Prophet (saw) has ordered us to begin the fasting when we see the Hilal. It would be a wrong interpretation.
According to the Qur'aan the lunar months should be measured depending on the cycle of the moon. This would be from new moon to new moon. This is the Islamic lunar month. A month begins with a particular day of the week. It cannot begin in the middle of the day. So the new moon day would be treated as the last day of the month and the next day would be the first of the ensuing month.
The days do not change at Greenwich or Makkah. Days change only at the Meeqatul Qibla or the International Date Line, the place where the East Qibla changes to West Qibla on the Earth. This was defined in 1886AD by non-Muslim Navigators. It passes through Bering Strait between Russia and America. Day or date cannot be changed where people live. The Islamic Shariah does not permit it in a town. The two sides should be separated by travel. So changing the day at Makkah is wrong and not congruent with the Qur'aan or the Hadith.
The calendars given in the volume containing the Ummul Qura calendars from 1882AD to 2007AD are correct, except for a few printing mistakes. The rule adopted in that work is purely scientific and congruent with the Book of Allah (swt) and the teachings of His Messenger (saw). There is no need to change this rule.
The calendar used at the time of the Prophet (saw) in Arabia was the lunar calendar of the Jews. It was an artificial lunar calendar and the Prophet (saw) ordered to make the calendar purely natural for which observing the moon was necessary. Since they did not know the methods of calculations they fixed the first day of the month by observing the moon. Now we have learnt the laws of the moon and we have changed it into calculations just as we have done with our time. We no more look at the shadow, but we look at the watches.
The change of day does not take place at the Ka’aba; it takes place only at the Meeqatul Qibla or the International Date Line. The calendar day should begin from there only. The time of day change in the world would be the time when the first Jumu'a of the Friday is prayed on the Earth. Please remember that the first Jumu'a is not prayed at the Holy Kaaba. So there is no need to deviate from the natural order. It will create problems and our actions would become ridiculous. KACST has already given the statement: "New UmmUlQura Calendar changed ~1420H by KACST (King Abdul Aziz City for Science & Technology, Riyadh). Has a single criterion: Sunset is before Moonset in Makkah. Insha’Allaah starting 1423H it will change again to directly take astronomical new moon into account." The present statement of KACST is contradictory to this.
Therefore I request you to follow the original rule of the Ummul Qura calendar when you prepare the 100-year calendar from 2000 to 2100AD.
If you have any difficulty in understanding my explanations please arrange an interview with me so that we can discuss everything in detail. The Ummul Qura calendar for 1423H should be free of errors and according to the Qur'aan and and Sunnah. Hope you will take the responsibility and do the needful for the cause of Islam.
May Allah (swt) reward you for the good work! Wassalam,
Your Brother in Islam
Advisor to the Hijra Committee of India
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org