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
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.