I see both sides of the argument. Since I don't know Arabic, I have to make most of my arguments from prior revelation where I see them fit with translations of the Quran.
Personally, I think a winter conception is supported by the gospels. Jesus' birth happened under a period of census, which would not have been enacted to interfere with planting and harvesting in the spring and summer. This leaves winter and fall as the choices for seasons of his birth. Winter is improbable if the announcement to the shepherds is true. They would not be out at night with sheep, at least not comfortably, in winter. There may also be another clue in John's gospel. John 1:14 - "The word became flesh and dwelled among us..." The greek word "dwelled" refers to sojourning in a tent, which could refer to the birth happening during the time of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, when Jews live in tents to commemorate the sojourn from Egypt. This feast happens in the fall, around September or October depending on the year. So, if a fall birth is plausible, count back 9 or 10 months for a normal gestation (1st births tend to go longer), then a late December conception date is the most reasonable.
But again, this is not an argument from the Quran. The only one I can think of is the references to the prophet being cloaked or wrapped in his garments at the revelation of the first suras. Wouldn't this support cooler night time temperatures in the winter?
I think a practical benefit of a summer Ramadan is the effect it has on the human body. I've pretty consistently followed a calorie-restricted diet for the past 3 years, and I can tell you the first summer I clearly noticed a difference in how heat affected me. The building where I work is not air-conditioned, so we get window units to make it bearable. When I ate somewhere between 1,200 to 1,500 calories a day, some days I did not even need to turn the window unit on.
But I'm not sure about it being tied to the summer solstice. Typically, the hottest temperatures don't occur until a month after the summer solstice because it takes time for the sun to raise the overall temperatures of the soil and large bodies of water.
I just don't know. I was going to observe Ramadan this summer, and then I read Layth's posts and read the related chapters from The Natural Republic. I believe the Quran is clear guidance, so what is it that is right in front of our eyes that we are missing?
Interesting. I do believe it's possible for Jesus to have been conceived around December. Even the "rhutab" season point put forth by TNR was pretty logical. But the major link described in TNR to relate the two incidents is the Spirit/Angels coming down at both the conception of Jesus and the Night of Decree. If one does NOT believe in the immaculate conception, then that means though Jesus may have been conceived around December, this doesn't mean the Spirit/Angels were present at this time of season as the announcement could have come at any time by the Spirit/Angels, and then Jesus was conceived around the Winter later on after Mary married/had intercourse, etc.
From what I gather from the thread I made in the general section, The "Immaculate Conception" of Jesus
, you don't seem to believe in the event neither. So that breaks the link as far as I'm concerned. But even if we do find out the Spirit/Angels were present at the time, are those 2 events enough to make the link?
The Summer Solstice theory at least utilizes the meaning behind the word Ramadan. Like I said, it's quite difficult to believe Allah would just use the man-made month name "Ramadan", that holds the meaning of "scorching heat", but that it be a month that can happen any time or during the Winter. This Ramadan would be the first Full Moon after the Summer Solstice, so it will typically be a few weeks after the solstice meaning it would be quite hot, if not the hottest.
Ah, that's the question, what is it that we are missing... I've read a few other theories and none seem to hold as much weight as these two, perhaps we're not far from figuring it out. At least when it comes to J-Day Allah can see we were trying and not following some random calendar.
May peace be with you.