In part 1, we have observed how the present Hijra calendar months are no longer following the seasons they were named after. We can deduce clearly the following points:
- The Prophet was not using the present calendar format which is purely lunar and not in keeping with the seasons throughout the year.
- If the months of Ramadhan and Dhulhijjah were observed during the times of the Prophet, it has to be in the lunisolar format. There are no historical records stating the Prophet started an Islamic calendar.
- The Hijra calendar was started by Caliph Umar.
- It wasn’t clear when the shift from lunisolar to solar had taken place.
- The removal of intercalated months has nothing to do with Al-Nasee in verse 9:37. This in turn raises another question on the validity of the last khutba text regarding the removal of intercalated months.
In the previous post – Al-Siyam, Ramadan & Muttaqin, we have explained that Sharu Ramadhan does not mean the month of Ramadhan. The word unzila indicates that what was revealed in the Quran was Shahru Ramadhan. So the month of Ramadhan has no correlations to Shahru Ramadhan in verse 2:185
In part 2 and the subsequent posts, we will study a number of verses that had been traditionally associated with the calendar months or days, making them seem connected to a religious concept. We shall do this by studying the context of these verses and analyzing the associated quranic terminology using classical Arabic lexicon. An Arabic word can have a range of meanings, and it is important for us to understand their basic meanings and its derivatives. The derived meanings can be evolved meanings based on distortions by those who came later, for whatever motives.
The Quranic terminology must be as close as possible to the original or basic meaning. And to test this, the context of the verse must come into relevance. It is very important that we have a clear grasp of the context to remain faithful to and consistent with the quranic narrative.
The distortions of the quranic terminologies can only be from texts outside the Quran. And its purpose was none other than to form an organized religion, a campaign started by the Abbasid to unite the empire under a single religion. And this campaign was to appeal to all by making the Quran something familiar to all of them. This familiarity of the old ways was how the Abbasid won their religious campaign, and for the Quran to be accepted by all.
The Quran had already warned those who wish to return to the old ways, abandoning the teachings of Muhammad after he died.
3:144 And not The Praised One (Muhammadun) except a messenger; certainly passed away before him; So if he died or is killed, will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah at all, and Allah will reward the grateful ones
The Quran had questioned why would anyone seek to return to the times of ignorance when Allah’s judgement had come before them.
5:50 Then is it the judgement of the ignorance (al-jāhiliyati) they seek? But who is better than Allah in judgement for a people who are certain.
In order to return to their previous ways of ignorance (al-jāhiliyati), there was no better way other than inventing lies against the prophet and presenting another book other than the Quran. They certainly did not like the Quran and wished to conceal the truth in the Quran.
43:78 We had certainly brought you the truth, but most of you, to the truth, were averse.
And they do this by writing whatever they desire, with their own hands, in their own books.
2:79 So woe to those who write the scriptures with their own hands. Then they say, “This is from Allah”, to exchange with it a little price. So woe to them for what they have written with their hands, and woe for what they earn.
And to misled the people, they mixed truth with falsehood, for those who were unaware.
2:42 And do not mix the truth with falsehood or conceal the truth while you know.
It is therefore not surprising to find the practices of the jahiliah in the present religion of Islam such as worshipping the black stone and stoning rituals, which had become integral to Islam. Why have we not questioned these? Or did we simply follow what our forefathers had been doing for generations.
2:170 And when it is said to them, "Follow what Allah has revealed," They say, "Rather, we will follow that which we found our fathers doing." Even though their fathers understood nothing, nor were they guided?
So have we not consider the Quran with the best statement (hadith) ?
4:82 Then do they not reflect upon the Qur'an? If it had been from other than Allah , they would have found within it much contradiction.
7:185 Have they not look in the dominion of the heavens and the earth, and what Allah has created from everything and that perhaps has become verily near their term. So in what statement (hadithin) after this will they believe?
45:6 These are the signs of Allah which We recite to you in truth. Then in what statement (hadithin) after Allah and His signs will they believe?
And should we disregard the best statement (hadithin) from Allah?
39:23 Allah has revealed the best statement (hadithin): a consistent Book wherein is reiteration. The skins shiver therefrom of those who fear their Lord; then their skins and their hearts relax at the remembrance of Allah. That is the guidance of Allah by which He guides whom He wills. And one whom Allah leaves astray - for him there is no guide
So the Quran asks:
68:36-38 What has happened to you? How do you judge? Or you have a book wherein you learn? Indeed for you in it, what you choose.
Many Muslims have shied away from studying the Quran in fear of misunderstanding the verses, or finding some verses difficult to comprehend due to the confusing text. This is exactly why we need to study the text and the words carefully in order to extract the intended meaning. The classical Arabic lexicon is crucial in reverting towards the original meanings of Quranic terminology.
The Quran is full of allegories to explain contemporary situations that are repeating throughout history. So it is important to identify descriptive meanings of the words and verses, as they are applicable to our present predicament.
Apart from using the classical Arabic lexicon, we must not forget to decipher the intended meaning based on the text itself. This is how the Quran explain itself by articulating the verses to express the intended message. So even if those trying to impose their narrative in the Quran had distorted the Quranic terminology, we can easily deconstruct the verse to extract the essence of the message. Very often the Quran will explain the subject matter in the subsequent verses to make clear the message.
We are very fortunate today that there are many Quran reading tools available that we are able to analyze each words and the concordance of the Quranic words that had been systematically indexed online. In this way, we are able to analyze the usage of a particular word, its root meanings and variations. Usually, meaning of words with the same root will not depart very far from the basic meaning and we are able to evaluate whether such words had been distorted or evolved towards a new meaning.
Below are some of online portals that will be useful for those who are interested to further their own personal studies on the Quran.
http://corpus.quran.com is a good online Quran research tool that documents and categorize each words into a systematic indexing into a Quranic dictionary, word concordance, and frequency of words used.
http://islamawakened.com/index.php/qur-an is a compilation of various translators including contemporary translation. There are over 50 translations available on this portal, so you will be able to compare each verse in over 50 renditions. It can give a better comprehension of a particular verse, or you may observe differences or something new.
http://lexicon.quranic-research.net/data/01_A/123_Alm.html is the online source for the classical Arabic lexicon in digital index format. A very useful tool to be used with http://corpus.quran.com
There is no fixed time for Righteousness.
The purpose of this study is to remind our selves that there is no fixed time in the calendar for righteousness. Muslims over the centuries had always associated certain hours, days, and months to obtain something extra from Allah. (please read the bold word “associated” carefully).
Does Allah refer to the calendar to determine the monthly rates of reward that apply upon our deeds performed in that particular month or day? Please think about this carefully. Especially when the calendar originated from the pagan Arabs. None of these ever mentioned or implied in the Quran. No particular months or days were given special treatment, discriminating other days or months. Only our actions and results that count, and it does not matter where or when, as far as the Lord of the vast Universe is concerned.
2:177 It is not Virtuousness (al-Birra) that you turn your faces (wujuhakum) toward the east or the west, but greatness is one who attains security with Allah , the day of resolution (yaumil-akhiri), the Malaikah , the Al-Kitab, and the Nabiyina and gives wealth, in spite of love for it, to Al-Qur’ba, and Al-Yatāma, and Al-Masākīna, and the progeny of Al-Sabili, those who enquire , and in Al-Riqabi; establishing Al-Salat and contribute to Al-Zakat; fulfill their promise when they promise; and those who endure in the stressfulness (al-basi) and the hardship and when of distressed (al-basai) . Those are the ones who have been true, and it is those who are the righteous
There is no specific times to do charity. It is your good works and the results that matter more to Allah rather than your worship to Him.
Allah is self-sufficient and free from any needs.
According to the Quran, whatever your religion is, as long as you believe in the Lord of the Universe and the end results of your actions, you will receive your rewards from your Lord. So the question is, does charity in this world, have to depend on Muslims only? Does charity and good works from non-Muslims, not accepted in the eyes of the Lord of the Universe?
2:62 Indeed, those who had attained security, the Yahuda, the Nasran, and the Sabians — whoever truly believes in Allah and Yaumil-Akhiri, and does good, will have their rewards with their Lord. And there will be no fear for them, nor will they grieve.
Muslims will have to rethink about charity beyond the boundaries of religion. Once Muslims are able to remove the boundaries of religion, true humanity will step in, the true Deen of Islam.
In the subsequent posts, we shall explain the following subject matters and its misconceptions that have been associated with the calendar or implied as a religious period.
- Friday as holy day.
- Four Sacred Months and Twelve Months in a year.
- The word Hajj in the Quran
- Was the universe created in six days?
- Laylatul-Qadr – A special lottery night of Ramadhan?