Names of the Islamic Months

Names of the Islamic Months
Questions & Answers, The Islamic Calendar

Names of the Islamic Months

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  • masjidmuhammad
  • Aug 18, 2021

As mentioned earlier, there are 12 months in the Islamic Year. The Names and meanings of these months are given below.1

Muḥarram

This was named as such because it was a sacred month (bloodshed was forbidden – ‘Ḥarām’ in this month). According to ibn Kathīr, it was named as such to emphasize its sacredness because the Arabs would keep on changing it. One year they would say it was not a sacred month and the following year, they would say it was sacred.

Ṣafar

This comes from the word ‘to empty’. In this month, the people used to leave their houses, due to travelling or going to fight. The Arabic phrase ‘Ṣafir al-Makān’ was used when a house is empty.

Rabīʿ al-Awwal

This comes from the word ‘Irtibāʿ’ which means to maintain one’s property. In this month and the following month, the people used to maintain their houses, hence the names.

Rabīʿ al-Ākhir

As above. Also known as Rabīʿ al-Thānī.

Jumāda al-Ūlā’

This comes from the word ‘Jamūd’ which means to freeze. As the Islamic Months are based on the lunar cycle, they would travel through the seasons. However, it could be that in the year this month was named, the weather was cold causing the water to freeze.

Jumāda al-Ākhirah


As above. (No significant dates were noted for this month)

Rajab


This is the second of the sacred months and the only sacred month which is apart from the others. This comes from the word ‘Tarjīb’, which means ‘to honour’.

Shaʿbān

In this month, the tribes would separate and go here and there to fight. The word ‘Tashaʿub’ means to move in different directions, to part company.

Ramaḍān

This comes from the word ‘Ramḍā’’ which means ‘sun-baked ground’. The intensity of the sun-baked ground was due to the heat in this month, therefore Ramaḍān was named as such. As for those people who say it is one of the names from the names of Allāh, they are mistaken.

Shawwāl

This comes from the word ‘Shāla’, which means to raise the tail. The camels used to be playful this month and raise their tails’ hence the name of the month.

Dhul Qaʿdah

This is the third of the sacred months. The word Dhu means possessor and the word ‘Qaʿada’ means to sit. So Dhul Qaʿdah means, the month of sitting. The Arabs would generally sit in this month instead of fighting or travelling for other reasons.

Dhul Ḥijjah

This is the fourth and final sacred month. It is called as such because the Ḥajj takes place in this month

Reference;

1. Tafsīr ibn Kathīr Volume 2 p440

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