How many Months in the Year?

How many Months in the Year?
Questions & Answers, The Islamic Calendar

How many Months in the Year?

  • masjidmuhammad
  • Aug 17, 2021

In Sūrah at-Tawbah, verse 36, Allāh says:

“Surely, the number of months according to Allāh is twelve (as written) in the Book of Allāh on the day He created the heavens and the Earth, of which there are four sacred months. That is the right faith. So, do not wrong yourselves therein.”

From this, we can see that Allāh has made twelve months in the Islamic Calendar and four of these months are sacred as Allāhhas mentioned. These four months are:

• Rajab
• Dhul QaꜤdah
• Dhul Ḥijjah
• Muḥarram

The month of Rajab occurs around the middle of the year, whilst the last three months are all consecutive, with Dhul Ḥijjah being the final month in the Islamic Calendar and Muḥarram the first month.

The Sacred Months

In the famous book of Tafsīr, Maʿāriful Qur’ān.3, it mentions that the Sharīʿah (Religious Laws) of all the Messengers of Allāh were unanimous on the fact that worship in the sacred months was more rewarding and if anyone sins, the punishment would also be more severe. In the past Sharīʿah’s, bloodshed was also forbidden in these months.

The inhabitants of Makkah were the descendants of Ibrāhīm through his son IsmāꜤīl, so they also claimed to follow his Sharīʿah. And as bloodshed, fighting and hunting were prohibited in the religion of Ibrāhīm, they found this rule very difficult to follow.

During that time, fighting and bloodshed was very common among the Arabs, so they would create their own rules and excuses to make it easy for themselves and satisfy their personal objectives.

Sometimes the need would arise to fight in one of the sacred months or they would be fighting, and one of the sacred months would begin. They would now say, in this year, this month is not sacred, the following month will now be sacred. For example, the month of Muḥarram would arrive, they would say this year, the month of Muḥarram is no longer sacred but the month of Ṣafar is now sacred. And if the need increased, they would then say the month of Rabīʿ al-Awwal is now sacred.

They would also sometimes swap the months, so they would say in this year, the month of Ṣafar has come first and the month of Muḥarram will come later, so Muḥarram was exchanged with Ṣafar. They would call whichever month they wished Dhul Ḥijjah and whichever month Ramaḍān. They would bring some months forward and move others back. Sometimes if they had been fighting for 10 months, they would increase the number of months in the year! They would say, in this year, there are 14 months, therefore, they would fight for 10 months and then not fight for 4 months and say, these were the sacred months.

They would complete four sacred months each year but not follow the order and fixation of the months correctly as per the designation of Allāh.

The result of this was that in those days it was difficult to work out which actual month they were in, as there had been so much swapping around.

In the 8th year of Hijrah, the conquest of Makkah had taken place and in the 9th year, Rasūlullāh sent Abū Bakr as the Amīr (leader) of Ḥajj. Even though the Ḥajj had taken place in the month of Dhul Ḥijjah, according to the old ways it was the month of Dhul Qaʿdah.

In the 10th year of Hijrah, when Rasūlullāh came for Ḥajj, it was the month of Dhul Ḥijjah and it just so happened that according to the old ways, it was also the month of Dhul Ḥijjah.

During his sermon in Minā, Rasūlullāh mentioned that the period of times has moved around and now returned to how it was when Allāh created the Heavens and the Earth.


2 Sūrah At-Tawbah verse 36

3 Maʿāriful Qur’ān Volume 4 p370

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