We hope that Your Eminence can clarify in detail the matter of the true date of the Islamic Hijri new year, and to please provide historical pieces of evidence.
In the Name of Allah, the All-Beneficent, the All-Merciful.
May Allah bless Muhammad and his Family and damn their enemies.
The beginning of the Islamic year is calculated from the migration of the Noble Messenger (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family). There is no disagreement on the fact that his emigration took place during the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. He (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) himself instructed that the Islamic new year shall be written from this date. His companions followed this order till the era of the tyrant Omar, son of al-Khattab (may the curse of Allah be upon him), during which he changed the date of the Islamic new year and brought the date of the Islamic new year back to when it used to be during the Jahiliya-period, which was at the month of Muharram.
Al-Hakem narrates on the authority of al-Zuhri narrates that:
When the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings be upon him) reached Medina, he ordered people to record the beginning of the year, so it was written on Rabi’ul-Awwal.
Fath’ul-Bari, by Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani, volume 7, page 207
They recorded the beginning of the year on Rabi’ul-Awwal, the month of the emigration.
Al-I’lan bit-Tawbeekh, by Sakhawi, page 78
Al-Sahib, son of Ubad, said:
He entered Medina on Monday after twelve days had passed from Rabi’ul-Awwal. The year was calculated from that incident, and then it was returned to Muharram.
Unwan-ul-Ma’arif, by Sahib, page 11
He (the Prophet – may Allah’s blessings be upon him) ordered the year to be recorded, and it was written down from the date of the emigration. It was said that Omar was the first one who recorded it and made it begin on Muharram.
Al-Mawahib-ul-Ladunniya, by al-Qastalani, volume 1, page 67
Ibn Shahr-Ashoub said:
Al-Tabari and Mujahid said in their history books that Omar, son of al-Khattab gathered the people to ask them which day they should record (as the first day of the Islamic year). Ali (may peace be upon him) said: ‘The day when the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) emigrated and left the people of polytheism.’ It was as if he said that they should not innovate an innovation, and to record the date similarly to how it was being recorded during the era of Allah’s Messenger (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family), because when the Prophet (may Allah’s blessings be upon him and his family) entered Medina during the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal, he ordered the beginning of the year to be recorded, and the people would then record each month and every two months till a year had passed. Both history-books wrote this on the authority of Ibn Shihab.
Al-Manaqib, by Ibn Shahr-Ashoub, volume 1, page 338
On this basis, we may know that the Islamic Mohammadiyan year begins on the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal. As for the innovated Jahiliyan Omari year, it begins on Muharram. One must use the calculations and the dates according to the Islamic year, and hence we are now in the month of Safar, the year 1430, not 1431. That is because we record the new Islamic year to begin on the month of Rabi’ul-Awwal.
The Office of Sheikh al-Habib