Author Topic: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation  (Read 2863 times)

Eikonoklastes

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May peace be with you all!

Recently I have been trying to study the outline of Ramadan, The Night of Decree, including it's specific timing, etc. I find it quite difficult to believe that these important times of the year rely upon arbitrary, man-made calendars. Allah has a system, and I do believe there is some sort of cosmic calendar in order.

Indeed we find the Quran has many clues regarding the sun and it's positions, as well as the moon and it's phases, etc. and their purposes. Recently I've been reading The Natural Republic by The Monotheist Group (http://www.free-minds.org/sites/default/files/TNR.pdf) that seeks to explain the Islamic calendar (chapter 13). I believe the views are that of brother Layth's as it matches his two articles on this site (http://free-minds.org/calendars & http://free-minds.org/qadr).

There are a few issues that I have with it however, and I'm hoping that anyone who follows this system can please help clarify them for me.  :)

1) When does the year begin?

TNR says based on 97:1-5 mentioning the importance of the Night of Decree, it makes it most worthy to use as a marker for the beginning of the year. Is this just a matter of opinion? Where objectively confirms this?

2) The Spirits and the Angels Come Down

From what I understand, the author is linking the Night of Decree to the conception of Jesus due to the fact that both of these times have the coming down of both Spirit and Angels. Thus, we can use the clues we have to find out when Jesus was conceived to also find the Night of Decree. My only question is, are these the only 2 times this phenomena has happened? Is there anywhere that proves this hasn't happened at other holy events, that may not be during the Winter Solstice? Perhaps this is merely Allah's "arm"?

3) Night of Decree = Winter Solstice

Isn't this quite the assumption? The only basis here is that Night of Decree is a blessed night, and the Winter Solstice is the longest night, therefore it should be the Night of Decree. I understand it's peculiar that it also lands around the assumed conception of Jesus/Night of Decree, but wouldn't the Quran be a bit more certain about this? Is there anywhere that proves the Night of Decree is the longest or at least very long?

4) The Months Begin with the Full Moon

I understand that 2:189 mentions the crescent moon and doesn't mention anything about the start of a month, thus the Dark Moon and Full Moon are the only ones to be considered. But does that mean it's ONLY for the Pilgrimage and can't be for the beginning of months? Even if you say so, how does the Full Moon relate in any way to 36:39 that references the "old palm sheath"? To me, the sheath is undeniably referring to a crescent shape, unless there is a translation error. How does the Full Moon ever look like an old palm sheath?

Another point is, majority of translations including many progressive ones, translate the "crescent moon" in 2:189 as "new moon". Is there any clarification on the Arabic part of that verse? It seems only The Monotheist Group translates it as "crescent moon".

5) Night of Decree = Month of Ramadan = First of the Restricted Months

I do not see this link at all. The verse used is 9:2-5. Where indicates that the FIRST of the 4 Restricted Months is where the "special" Pilgrimage happens? Where makes certain this "special" Pilgrimage is even Ramadan besides the fact it's one of the most important months in Islam? And how does this make Ramadan the first month of the year/make it so the year begins with the 4 Restricted Months?

I just feel it's too many leaps for something that should be so clear to us. Perhaps there are translation errors that are confusing me, I'm not sure.

But I hope that someone can be patient enough to help clarify these issues for me.

Thank you for your time. :)

May peace be with you all.
Now, we must all fear evil people. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good people.

brook

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #1 on: August 09, 2011, 12:18:09 AM »
Hello Eikonoklastes. May I reply to the points you bring up:

1) To decide when the year begins is man's business rather than God's. Christians have decided that it begins at the time when Jesus was supposedly born; so Muslims can choose it to begin at the time when Prophet Muhammad migrated to Yathrib.

2) In 97:4 والروح is singular and stands for Jibril, the angel of revelation. That night come down the angels and the Spirit. I understand that that night Jibril conveyed to Prophet Muhammed a special chapter (9:64, 81, 86, 124, 127), which dealt with the criterion to show the difference between sincere believers and fake ones.

3) Night of Decree = the first full moon after the summer solstice, which is mentioned in 2:185 along with the very word criterion (والفرقان).

4) The word شهر in the Quran does not mean MONTH; it means the time the moon takes to make a complete turn around the earth once: 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 3 seconds... That period of time begins when the waxing crescent appears after the new moon and ends when it  appears again. 

MONTH is one of the 12 parts of the year, but شهر is one of the 12 or 13 full moons that make up the عدة mentioned in 9:36.

5) There is no such thing as the Month of Ramadan. The شهر رمضان mentioned in 2:185 is the first full moon after the summer solstice; that is, the scorching full moon

Night of Decree = the scorching full moon  = beginning of the first restricted full moon.

Peace,
Hasan Akçay

Layth

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #2 on: August 09, 2011, 01:47:29 AM »
Salam,

I follow the luni/solar calendar in terms of the time of Ramadhan/fasting, so let me try to address your points if I can.

Quote
1) When does the year begin?

TNR says based on 97:1-5 mentioning the importance of the Night of Decree, it makes it most worthy to use as a marker for the beginning of the year. Is this just a matter of opinion? Where objectively confirms this?

The year can begin at any month a society chooses, as long as the 4 restricted months are known/observed. What is mentioned in TNR is an opinoin - that if you had to chose a marker to call "month 1" what would you chose. Ramadhan was chosen because it is a special month in which the event of the night of decree occurs (seems to me to be more special than some human's birth or migration).

Quote
2) The Spirits and the Angels Come Down

From what I understand, the author is linking the Night of Decree to the conception of Jesus due to the fact that both of these times have the coming down of both Spirit and Angels. Thus, we can use the clues we have to find out when Jesus was conceived to also find the Night of Decree. My only question is, are these the only 2 times this phenomena has happened? Is there anywhere that proves this hasn't happened at other holy events, that may not be during the Winter Solstice? Perhaps this is merely Allah's "arm"?

There maybe other events, but the clearest ones are the 2 mentioned in terms of the event of Spirit/Night. There is another miracelous event which occured during the cold of winter - God speaking to Moses, whereby the Quran tells us Moses saw a burning bush and told his family he will try to see what is at the fire and bring them some of it for warmth.

Quote
3) Night of Decree = Winter Solstice

Isn't this quite the assumption? The only basis here is that Night of Decree is a blessed night, and the Winter Solstice is the longest night, therefore it should be the Night of Decree. I understand it's peculiar that it also lands around the assumed conception of Jesus/Night of Decree, but wouldn't the Quran be a bit more certain about this? Is there anywhere that proves the Night of Decree is the longest or at least very long?

This link is related to the concept of God's mercy. Knowing that God is Most Merciful, and knowing that the special events are set during the Night, it is a natural conclusion that God would chose the night with the longest time in it so as to extend His blessing to the people - hence, the winter solstice night as it is the longest night in the year and corresponds with the same period that Jesus would have been conceived.

Quote
4) The Months Begin with the Full Moon

I understand that 2:189 mentions the crescent moon and doesn't mention anything about the start of a month, thus the Dark Moon and Full Moon are the only ones to be considered. But does that mean it's ONLY for the Pilgrimage and can't be for the beginning of months? Even if you say so, how does the Full Moon relate in any way to 36:39 that references the "old palm sheath"? To me, the sheath is undeniably referring to a crescent shape, unless there is a translation error. How does the Full Moon ever look like an old palm sheath?

The palm sheeth falls to both sides (right and left). Thus, in looking at a palm tree with old sheeths, you will see the shape of a circle (not a cresent). Thus the month begins with the shape of the old palm sheeths which is a full circle.

Quote
Another point is, majority of translations including many progressive ones, translate the "crescent moon" in 2:189 as "new moon". Is there any clarification on the Arabic part of that verse? It seems only The Monotheist Group translates it as "crescent moon".

Hilal = Cresent in Arabic. The translation is accurate. The use of "new moon" is based on a preconceived notion that the crescent begins the new moon. This also lends weight to the full moon argument, that God calls the resetting of the Moon to its start as "old palm sheeths" and not cresent (a word He uses clearly in 2:189).

Quote
5) Night of Decree = Month of Ramadan = First of the Restricted Months

I do not see this link at all. The verse used is 9:2-5. Where indicates that the FIRST of the 4 Restricted Months is where the "special" Pilgrimage happens? Where makes certain this "special" Pilgrimage is even Ramadan besides the fact it's one of the most important months in Islam? And how does this make Ramadan the first month of the year/make it so the year begins with the 4 Restricted Months?

You have to look at these events collectively to see the link.

Night of Decree is set to the period of winter solsctice, which makes that period the month of Ramadhan (around December).

The ultimatum of 9:2-5 was issued during the month of pilrimage (called the greater" pilgrimage) and would last for 4 months. The end of this period in 9:5 is referred to as "the end of the restricted months".

In 9:81, we read that the mobilization was done "during the heat", which typically would mean that they were at the onset of April/May for the Middle East.

Deducting 4 months from takes us to Dec/Jan.

This explains the use of the word "greater pilgrimage" (what makes it greater than the other months?). It is because this pilgrimage is also a combination of Ramadhan.

Obviously, this would make Ramadhan a restricted month. And, since the 4 months are sequential, it makes it the first of these months.

Quote
I just feel it's too many leaps for something that should be so clear to us. Perhaps there are translation errors that are confusing me, I'm not sure.

The weakness is not in the translation, the verses are pretty accurate. It could simply be the explanation in TNR on this subject needs rewording.

Hopr this helps.
`And when God Alone is mentioned, the hearts of those who do not believe in the Hereafter are filled with aversion; and when others are mentioned beside Him, they rejoice!` (The Quran 39:45)

Wakas

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All information in my posts is correct to the best of my knowledge only and thus should not be taken as a fact. One should seek knowledge and verify: 17:36, 20:114, 35:28, 49:6, 58:11.

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S29

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #4 on: August 10, 2011, 03:19:04 PM »
Peace,

1) When does the year begin?

TNR says based on 97:1-5 mentioning the importance of the Night of Decree, it makes it most worthy to use as a marker for the beginning of the year. Is this just a matter of opinion? Where objectively confirms this?

Need to define exactly which word means year and exactly which time-frame:

 سَنَةٍ snh feminine
 عَامٍ Aam masculine
 سِنِينَ snyn masculine plural
الْحَوْلِ al-ḥwl masculine

2) The Spirits and the Angels Come Down

From what I understand, the author is linking the Night of Decree to the conception of Jesus due to the fact that both of these times have the coming down of both Spirit and Angels. Thus, we can use the clues we have to find out when Jesus was conceived to also find the Night of Decree. My only question is, are these the only 2 times this phenomena has happened? Is there anywhere that proves this hasn't happened at other holy events, that may not be during the Winter Solstice? Perhaps this is merely Allah's "arm"?

It's continuous; they don't take off the other 364 days.

70:1-5 asked a questioner about a punishment bound to happen to the disbelievers not of it any preventer from Allah owner the ways of ascent. Ascend al-malāikatu wal-rūḥu to Him in a period  is its measure fifty thousand سنة snh so be patient...




Eikonoklastes

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #5 on: August 11, 2011, 08:06:31 PM »
Salam,

I follow the luni/solar calendar in terms of the time of Ramadhan/fasting, so let me try to address your points if I can.

Peace Layth,

Thank you for your explanations, they have helped immensely in understanding this theory. I still have a few issues with it however.

Quote
There maybe other events, but the clearest ones are the 2 mentioned in terms of the event of Spirit/Night. There is another miracelous event which occured during the cold of winter - God speaking to Moses, whereby the Quran tells us Moses saw a burning bush and told his family he will try to see what is at the fire and bring them some of it for warmth.

I see. My only issue with this is that I don't believe that Mary conceived at the time of the Spirit/Angel's announcement of her bearing the Messiah (due to the points outlined here: http://www.freewebs.com/nadqur/birth.htm). Thus if it is the only other time this Spirit/Angel phenomena happened, and the conception is the only major key to identifying the Night of Decree, then I don't find the theory very credible. Interestingly, Jesus would have still been conceived around December, but I suppose there's no way to know if the Spirit/Angels were present at this particular time.  :-\

Quote
The palm sheeth falls to both sides (right and left). Thus, in looking at a palm tree with old sheeths, you will see the shape of a circle (not a cresent). Thus the month begins with the shape of the old palm sheeths which is a full circle.

I'm still having a hard time accepting this as the explanation. Unfortunately I'm not educated in the Arabic language, so perhaps you can help clarify some words for me. I also have a few ideas to bounce off of you that you may find insightful (or not  :P).

Is the translation literally, "...until it returns like an old palm sheath" (36:39)? Is the word for "returns" in Arabic like that of something coming back, like a dog returning the ball? Could it be the moon returning to a closest point or to a distinct start period or to Earth, much like the old palm sheaths return to the trunk as they hang down?

I also see some translators translating it as "old date-stalk, dried-up and curved" or "old curved date-stalk". Any reason behind this? In looking at both old date-stalks and old palm sheaths, I notice they both become a yellow/orange colour. The moon also becomes this colour at certain times. I'm still researching this for myself (learning both Arabic and astronomy tends to be overwhelmingly), but if you have any ideas surrounding them, I'd appreciate the knowledge.

Quote
Hilal = Cresent in Arabic. The translation is accurate. The use of "new moon" is based on a preconceived notion that the crescent begins the new moon. This also lends weight to the full moon argument, that God calls the resetting of the Moon to its start as "old palm sheeths" and not cresent (a word He uses clearly in 2:189).

Hmm, is the word 'circle' or 'full' used anywhere in the Quran? I know it describes the Earth as an Ostrich egg or something. I feel a full moon would have an easier description than the old palm tree one. The sheaths hardly make a circle, and if anything it's like a circle with two crescents cut off from either side, but I don't think that's even a phase.

Peace.
Now, we must all fear evil people. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good people.

Eikonoklastes

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #6 on: August 11, 2011, 08:11:32 PM »
Hello Eikonoklastes. May I reply to the points you bring up:

1) To decide when the year begins is man's business rather than God's. Christians have decided that it begins at the time when Jesus was supposedly born; so Muslims can choose it to begin at the time when Prophet Muhammad migrated to Yathrib.

2) In 97:4 والروح is singular and stands for Jibril, the angel of revelation. That night come down the angels and the Spirit. I understand that that night Jibril conveyed to Prophet Muhammed a special chapter (9:64, 81, 86, 124, 127), which dealt with the criterion to show the difference between sincere believers and fake ones.

3) Night of Decree = the first full moon after the summer solstice, which is mentioned in 2:185 along with the very word criterion (والفرقان).

4) The word شهر in the Quran does not mean MONTH; it means the time the moon takes to make a complete turn around the earth once: 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes 3 seconds... That period of time begins when the waxing crescent appears after the new moon and ends when it  appears again. 

MONTH is one of the 12 parts of the year, but شهر is one of the 12 or 13 full moons that make up the عدة mentioned in 9:36.

5) There is no such thing as the Month of Ramadan. The شهر رمضان mentioned in 2:185 is the first full moon after the summer solstice; that is, the scorching full moon

Night of Decree = the scorching full moon  = beginning of the first restricted full moon.

Peace,
Hasan Akçay

Peace,

Thank you for your help. Is this the theory put forth here: http://free-minds.org/timing ? Or one of your own finding?

have you read?
http://free-minds.org/timing

Peace,

I've read it over once, but I found it a bit much to digest. I do have it printed out and will go through it once I have settled my opinion on this Winter Solstice theory. I'll probably have to make a thread picking at Ayman's mind as well. :P

It's continuous; they don't take off the other 364 days.

70:1-5 asked a questioner about a punishment bound to happen to the disbelievers not of it any preventer from Allah owner the ways of ascent. Ascend al-malāikatu wal-rūḥu to Him in a period  is its measure fifty thousand سنة snh so be patient...

Peace,

I shared a similar belief, but it does seem to describe the Night of Decree as special for this reason.  :-\

Thanks for your input, nonetheless.  :)

May Allah guide me to the truth.
Now, we must all fear evil people. But there is another kind of evil which we must fear most, and that is the indifference of good people.

brook

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #7 on: August 12, 2011, 07:34:24 AM »
I learned the gist of the idea from Ayman about calendars in relation to full moons in general and the scorching full moon in particular. I agree with him. I studied it on my own too resorting to other sources.

Peace,
Hasan Akçay

farida

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2011, 08:43:11 AM »
Salam,
There is another miracelous event which occured during the cold of winter - God speaking to Moses, whereby the Quran tells us Moses saw a burning bush and told his family he will try to see what is at the fire and bring them some of it for warmth.

Salaam

I recently watched Michael Palin around the world, in Sahara where he wondered how they needed to light a fire to keep themselves warm after a very hot day in Sahara. The fact is that nights can get very cold in the desert.
The varied experience of fasting is a unique experience because Ramadhan, unlike the static celebration of one specific period (such as Christmas), is NOT anchored to a specific period.

Peace
farida

loli

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Re: Winter Ramadan (as outlined by The Natural Republic) - Investigation
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2011, 10:17:25 PM »
Salam Layth,

From TNR i learned that the 1st(Ramadhan) to the 4th Month is the Restricted Months/Hajj Months

From the Quran we know that in 2:196 Hajj have some fasting involved in the process as an option for whoever have affliction to his head
also in the same verse it is mentioned that for people who continues visiting till hajj need to give donation, but if he cant, thenr he needs to fast  3 days in Hajj and 7 days when we are back home

Also in 5:95 it is said that fasting is a punishment option for those who hunt animals during Hajj .

In my opinion, having Ramadhan as a part of the 4 restricted/hajj months creates a problem when the person who is already fasting(because of ramadhan - be it 10 days or a month) having to fast during the hajj months as indicated in 2:196 and 5:85. Hence my opinion that the restricted/hajj months and Ramadhan does not overlaps.
 
How do you address this problem?

Peace
ashraf
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