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Dates can be confusing you know, with all these calendars floating about. The sparkly clothes are out in the shops in preparation for Christmas, our glam Eid Al-Adha clothes have just been shelved away, and the hectic life of a first term at school or university is filling up our diaries.
The Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar, so it changes precisely with the motion of the moon. The time it takes for the moon to go around the earth is one month (29 or 30 days). Because of this, the Islamic calendar ends up shorter than the usual worldwide Gregorian calendar, which stays fixed according to the movement of the Earth around the Sun. (So if you were all like, “Why is Ramadan EVEN HOTTER this year?!” now you know why!)
What’s really interesting about the count of Islamic years – this new year being 1437 – is that it begins in the year of Prophet Mohammed’s important move from Mecca to Medina, peace be upon him. It doesn’t begin with his birth or the moment of revelation. This shows just how big a deal it was. The city, once called Yathrib, was renamed to Medina.
When the Prophet arrived in Medina, his message was simple and clear: “O people,give unto one another greetings of Peace; feed food unto the hungry; honour the ties of kinship; pray in the hours when men sleep. Thus shall you enter Paradise in peace.”
So can we expect fireworks and countdowns this week? Not really! But there will certainly be fireworks of the soul. The first month of Muharram opens with calm and prayer. Get together with your families and friends for a hug. Remember those who are facing difficult times. Take a breather, reflect on the past year, and pray for the future ahead. No prayer is too large. Savour the moment.
Now listen to the latest Ummahsonic podcast here!
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