Acts of Misplaced Loyalty: Following the Non-Muslims’ Calendar

In the Name of Allaah, the Most Gracious, the Ever Merciful…

In his discussion of the various impermissible ways some Muslims show misplaced loyalty and allegiance to the non-Muslims, senior Islamic scholar Shaykh Saalih ibn Fowzaan al-Fowzaan (may Allaah preserve him) states:

#6 – Keeping track of the date using their calendars, especially those that highlight their rituals and holidays, like the Christian (Gregorian) Calendar

It (the Gregorian Calendar) is something that commemorates the birth of the Messiah (may Allaah grant him peace), and something which they invented themselves, not something from the Religion of the Messiah (may Allaah grant him peace). Using this calendar includes sharing with them in the preservation of their rituals and holidays.

To avoid this, the Companions (may Allaah be pleased with them) wanted to establish a calendar for the Muslims in the time of ‘Umar, the (second) Caliph. They ignored the previously established calendars of the disbelievers and began with the Messenger’s emigration (i.e. his hijrah to the city of al-Madeenah).

This proves the obligation to oppose the disbelievers in this and all other things which are specific to them, and Allaah is the One from whom we seek help.

Source: Al-Walaa’ wal-Baraa’ (pp.11-12), Daar al-Imaam Ahmad printing, 1434.

Important Notes:

[1] The English names of some of the months on the Gregorian Calendar have polytheistic origins rooted in Greek, Roman, and other mythology:

  • January: named after Janus, their god of doors and gates
  • March: named after Mars, their god of war
  • May: named after Maia, their goddess of growth of plants
  • June: from junius, Latin for their goddess Juno

[2] The Islaamic Hijri Calendar is not a cultural “Arab” thing, rather it plays a very important role in the life of every Muslim, Arab or not. When it is ignored, Muslims unknowingly can fall into blameworthy neglect related to four of the five pillars of Islaam!  This is explained in detail in the lecture: “The Concern of Giving Full Preference to the Kaafir Calendar (16 Ways It Affects Your Practice of Islaam!)” (YouTube/Safeshare)

[3] When it is not possible to use the Hijri Calendar to coordinate things, like booking a plane ticket for example, then Muslims are allowed to use the non-Muslims’ calendars when needed. However, these instances of necessity do not become a proof that we can completely abandon our Islaamic calendar and fully adopt the non-Muslims’ one.

[4] Muslims should embrace their calendar, since it was founded by the rightly-guided Caliph, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be pleased with him), and none of the Companions had any problem with it. The Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) said:

عليكم بسنتي وسنة الخلفاء الراشدين المهديين عضوا عليها بالنواجذ

“Upon you is (to follow) my Sunnah, and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Caliphs, bite onto it with your molars.” (Aboo Daawood and others, authentic)

Thus, as mentioned by Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan, the use of the Hijri Calendar instead of other calendars should be understood an issue of walaa’ and baraa’ (loyalty to Islaam).

[5] The best way to implement this good reminder (in case you are not following the Hijri Calendar already) is to learn today’s date on the Hijri Calendar, and then begin referring to the date in Hijri in some of the ways you communicate with other Muslims. For example, you could date your emails (at least) by adding the Hijri date at the end. It is hard to forget the months of a calendar you actually live by!

Use this helpful one-page PDF to learn and memorize the Islaamic months if you do not know them already.

And Allaah knows best.

Translation and Commentary: Moosaa Richardson (1434-08-19)

22 thoughts on “Acts of Misplaced Loyalty: Following the Non-Muslims’ Calendar

  1. BaarakAllaahu feekum. JazaakAllaahu khayraa for the important article. May Allaah guide the Muslims to a complete return to their Deen.

    Allaahu ‘alam, but I once read from Shaykh Ferkous – حفظه الله – that the correct name for the 1st month is “Al-Muharram” and not just “Muharram”:

    “فَقَبْلَ الجوابِ على سؤالكم فينبغي التنبيهُ على خطأ شائعٍ في إطلاق لفظ «محرم» مجرّدًا عن الألف واللاَّم؛ ذلك لأنّ الصواب إطلاقه معرَّفًا، بأن يقال: «المحرَّم»، لورود الأحاديث النبوية بها معرَّفة؛ ولأنَّ العرب لم تذكر هذا الشهر في مقالهم وأشعارهم إلاّ معرَّفًا بالألف واللام، دون بقية الشهور، فإطلاق تسميته إذًا سماعي وليس قياسيًا.”

    المصدر: http://ferkous.com/site/rep/Bg29.php
    Translation: http://ferkous.com/site/eng/Bg29.php

  2. As-Salaamu Alaykum,

    May Allah reward you for sharing this with us. This is something I have been curious about recently.

    Have you any advice for Muslims living in the west in dealing with the naming conventions for days of the week, and also the calendar issue mentioned in the article? In particular, what is a good way (or perhaps the best way) for us to communicate with non-Muslims that follow a pagan calendar?

    Jazakallahu khayran.

  3. Are the week days encompassed in the Islaamic calendar?Meaning,is it also encouraged to be distinguished from the kuffaar in using the Arabic weekdays or is this left to custom?I ask because the weekdays are,as are the months,deep rooted in polytheistic elements.In fact,some groups amongst the Christians shun using the weekdays as it is polytheistic and they use numbers instead,i.e., Day One,Day Two etc.

    BaarakAllaahu feekum.

  4. As-Salaamu ‘Alaykum wa Rahmatullaah,

    Baarak Allaahu feek, akhee Moosaa. Living in these non-Muslim lands creates many problems, one of which is this. Suppose today is the 20th of Sha’baan. Although most Muslims would agree, there is always that sizable community who are either a day ahead or behind. This creates a lot of problems during, say, the sighting of the moon for ‘Eed Al-Fitr. For instance, some Muslims complete 29 days of fasting while others complete 30 days, due to differing opinions on how the moon ought to be sighted (i.e. internationally or locally). Do keep in mind that this differing happens in a single city or locality. So, as you can imagine, much confusion ensues, for the month of Sha’baan can’t be both 29 and 30 days in the same year! Add up other days of possible differing (ex. differing on the date for the start of Dhul Hijjah and ‘Eed Al-Adha, for the beginning of Muharram, etc.) and you just may have a calendar which is, in actuality, a couple of days ahead or behind the legitimate Islamic date. The question sounds very theoretical but, unfortunately for us Muslims in the West, this is a reality we have to deal with.

    So whom do you suggest we follow? Should we follow the Islamic calendar as it is according to an Islamic state such as Saudi Arabia? Or should we follow the Islamic calendar as dictated by masjid or masaajid in our locality? I’m a bit confused about this. At this moment in time, I take Saudi Arabia’s Islamic calendar to be the definitive calendar.

    Jazaak Allaahu khairan for your help, akhee Moosaa!

    Rofi Syedul Islam

    • wa ‘alaykas-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi. You should stick to what your Muslim community is doing. If the Muslims in your area have started fasting based on a global moon sighting (and this is against your opinion), then follow the authentic hadeeth: (( الصوم يوم تصومون والفطر يوم تفطرون والأضحى يوم تضحون )), which means: “Fasting is (begun) when you all fast, Breaking the fast is (done) when you all break your fast, and (‘Eed) al-Adh’haa is when you all slaughter.” It was collected by at-Tirmithee (#697), who said, “Some of the scholars have explained this hadeeth to mean that fasting and breaking fast are to be done with the congregation, with the multitudes.” Al-Bayhaqee included this hadeeth in his chapter about when people err in sighting the moon (and thus differing occurs). And Allaah knows best.

      • Assallamwalikum Wa Rahmutullah Hi Wa Barakatuhu!

        Noble Quran says that the dates must tally with the moon-phases… [very long comment abdridged by admin]

        …This is a very clear explanation regarding phases of the moon and lunar dates depicted by them. But some people who have no idea about the moon phase, the moon age, moon’s manaazil etc have mistaken Ahillah for Hilaals which are seen to the naked eye on the first day of every month. They believe that Ramadan begins when they see it without worrying whether Hilaal they saw was the first , second or third according to the height and size of the crescent. They do not realize that the word ‘Hilaal’ itself is not used in this Hadhees.

        • wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Thank you for your comment, and we apologize for abridging it. While your view is appreciated by the educated who have studied the matter at or near your level of study, you may have overlooked one small but important matter: The Deen of Allaah is for all people in all places, not just the astronomers. As the Prophet (may Allaah raise his rank and grant him peace) said: إنا أمة أمية، لا نكتب ولا نحسب which means “We are an illiterate nation, we do not write nor count,” and he went on to explain that a month is either 29 or 30 days using customary hand gestures. (Bukhari & Muslim) This means that Islam can be practiced by the illiterate and uneducated in a complete way, and while literacy and education aid a person from a number of angles, the basic obligations in Islam can be accomplished by the most uneducated of the people.

          Also, regarding your claim that the word “hilaal” is not mentioned in the hadeeth: This is clearly erroneous, as Ibn ‘Umar’s hadeeth in both al-Bukhari (#1906) and Muslim (#1080) includes a clear mention of the word “hilaal” – “Do not fast until you sight the HILAAL” ( لا تصوموا حتى تروا الهلال ).To proceed in a discussion that requires working with the texts of Prophetic revelation, without having knowledge of those basic authentic texts and their wordings is – quite frankly – a kind of complex ignorance ( جهل مركب ), even if a person were highly educated in worldly matters. I apologize for this blunt comment, but hopefully it can serve as a humbling reminder to those whose worldly education has led them into thinking too highly of themselves and their opinions which contradict the basic teachings of Islam. Quite simply, knowledge comes before speech and action. And we seek refuge with Allaah from knowledge that leads to arrogance and confusion about the beautiful teachings of our simple and practical Religion. And Allaah knows best.

  5. Jazakum’Allahu khayr for this beneficial post,

    I have a question regarding using the Hijri calendar and the Gregorian .
    Is it allowed to write when you are writing a letter the Hijri date and below corresponding to the Gregorian calendar? .

    For example what was posted from the link http://ferkous.com/site/rep/Bg29.php :
    الجزائر في: 04 من المحرم 1429ﻫ
    الموافق ﻟ: 11/01/2008م
    Algiers, Al-Muharram 4th, 1429H.
    Corresponding to: January 11th, 2008.

    Baraka’Allahu feekum

  6. As salamu alaikum,jazakumullah Khair fr this v beneficial posting,and thought provoking.well living in th land of thekuffaar since birth has many disadvantages,this and many others.a clarification on your reply to one of the earlier posts,if one is in disagreement with global sighting,can we follow the localized sighting of a kuffaar land, which does not have in its a ruling body a single aa’lim, and in fact consists of a large percentage of deviants,tableegis, ikhwwanis etc?in fact it’s a politicized group who also manipulate the dates to suit the politicians who are a superstitious lot.

    • wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. One reliable Muslim witness is all that is needed for a moonsighting to be legally effective in Islam. For those who go with “global” moonsighting, it includes accepting a moonsighting anywhere in the world, especially in your own country.

    • PAs salamu alaikum,jazakumullah Khair fr this v beneficial posting,and thought provoking.well living in th land of thekuffaar since birth has many disadvantages,this and many others.a clarification on your reply to one of the earlier posts,if one is in disagreement with global sighting,can we follow the localized sighting of a kuffaar land, which does not have in its a ruling body a single aa’lim, and in fact consists of a large percentage of deviants,tableegis, ikhwwanis etc?in fact it’s a politicized group who also manipulate the dates to suit the politicians who are a superstitious lot.

  7. As salamu alaikum wa rahmatullahi ws barakathuhu,since we are just 2-3 hrs ahead of Saudi Arabia,can we follow the sighting of Saudi?

    • wa ‘alaykis-salaam wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh. Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have Mercy on him) was asked about fasting in Spain along with the Saudi beginning and ending of Ramadhan, and he said that it was not a problem at all, and that “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the foremost of countries to be followed due to their efforts in applying the Sharee’ah, may Allaah increase it (KSA) in success and guidance. Also (this is fine) since you live in a land that does not implement Islaam (as the law), nor do the people there (non-Muslims) care about the rulings of Islaam.” (His Fatwaa Collection, 15/105-106) May Allaah bless you for visiting and asking your question.

  8. As-Salaamu Alaykum,

    I have noticed this website uses the gregorian dates, rather than the hijri dates. Perhaps it is out of the control of the site administrators? I do not mention it except with the intention of bringing the admin’s attention to it, just in case, for the sake of Allah. Please forgive me if it comes across as insolence.

    Jazakallahu khayran.

    • Wa ‘alayk as-salaamu wa rahmatullaah. There is no harm in your question at all. Whenever WE date something, we use the Hijri calendar whenever possible.

      Example: http://www.bakkah.net/en/history-bakkah-net.htm

      By Allaah’s Permission, this has been the case since we first began over 12 years ago.

      When the programs we use date things, it is with the Gregorian polytheist calendar, which we do not know how to change.

  9. Jazakum’Allahu khayr for this beneficial post,

    I have a question regarding using the Hijri calendar and the Gregorian .
    Is it allowed to write when you are writing a letter the Hijri date and below corresponding to the Gregorian calendar? .

    For example :
    الجزائر في: 04 من المحرم 1429ﻫ
    الموافق ﻟ: 11/01/2008م
    Algiers, Al-Muharram 4th, 1429H.
    Corresponding to: January 11th, 2008.

    Baraka’Allahu feekum

    • I would advise that when there is a need to put both dates that the Gregorian non-Muslims’ calendar date be put in a secondary way, like between parenthesis, like this: Wednesday the 8th of Ramadhaan, 1434 (07-17-2013). And Allaah knows best.

  10. I would like to get a clarification of about what is mentioned in the audio i.e. on youtube about the iddah of the woman whose husband has passed away. It is mentioned that if she follows the gregorian calendar she will add 2 to 3 days and that salaah will be due on her and she would not be offering them (at mark 15:30) I dont understand how it is related to her iddah?

  11. So basically it sounds like that we should use the Islamic date rather than the Gregorian date as much as we can. Is this correct?

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