Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513

brill.com/arab

The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca
Hideyuki Ioh

Tokyo Jogakkan College, Department of International Liberal Arts

Abstract
In pre-Islamic times, pilgrimages were made to sanctuaries in various regions of
Arabia. Feasts connected with idolatry and annual fairs were held at convenient seasons of the year. To keep all these events in order, a lunisolar calendar was used, and
the calendar adjuster of the Banū Kināna was charged with intercalation (nasīʾ). They
inserted a leap month according to the same cycle as the Jewish calendar. Though it
was exceptional, in emergency situations (e.g. the war of Fiǧār), they would postpone
a sacred month, set to guarantee the safety of pilgrims. In the first decade of hiǧra
calendar, in fact, three leap months were inserted immediately after ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa of 1/623,
3/625, and 6/628. On the occasion of the pilgrimage lead by Abū Bakr in 9/631, the leap
month was not inserted, and in the following year at the Farewell Pilgrimage,
Muḥammad formally abolished intercalation. The day that Muḥammad arrived in
Medina was, if the account reported by Ibn Isḥāq is correct, 28th June 622, and the
battle of Badr was 2 months earlier than in the standard correspondence.

Keywords
Pre-Islamic calendar, nasī ʾ, hiǧra calendar, Jewish calendar, sacred month, Muḥammad,
Farewell Pilgrimage, Mecca

Résumé
À l’époque préislamique, des pèlerinages étaient faits aux sanctuaires de diverses
régions de l’Arabie. Des festins en lien avec l’idolâtrie et des fêtes annuelles avaient lieu
tout au long de l’année selon les saisons. Pour garder l’ordre de tous ces événements, un
calendrier luni-solaire était utilisé, et un régulateur de calendrier de la tribu Kināna
était en charge des intercalations (nasīʾ). Un mois intercalaire était introduit selon le
même cycle que le calendrier juif. En cas d’urgence (par exemple la guerre de Fiǧār), le

© koninklijke brill nv, leiden, ���4 | doi 10.1163/15700585-12341319

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mois sacré – établi afin d’assurer la sécurité des pèlerins – était reporté, bien que cela
fût exceptionnel. En fait, durant la première décennie du calendrier hégirien, trois
mois intercalaires furent insérés immédiatement après le mois de ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa des
années 1/623, 3/625 et 6/628. À l’occasion du pèlerinage dirigé par Abū Bakr en l’an
9/631, le mois intercalaire ne fut pas introduit, puis lors du Pèlerinage de l’Adieu,
Muḥammad abolit formellement les intercalations. La date où Muḥammad arriva à
Médine, si la description d’Ibn Isḥāq est exacte, fut le 28 juin 622 de l’ère chrétienne et
la bataille de Badr eut lieu deux mois plus tôt que dans la conversion standard.

Mots clés
calendrier préislamique, nasīʾ, calendrier hégirien, calendrier juif, mois sacré,
Muḥammad, Pèlerinage de l’Adieu, La Mecque

Preface
Mecca was one of the religious centers of the Arabs in the pre-Islamic period.
Sacrificial feasts, harvest festivals, and many kinds of polytheistic rituals took
place in various regions throughout the Arabian Peninsula. Sacred months
were set during the pilgrimage period in different areas of the peninsula, and
all kinds of fighting and killing were prohibited to ensure the safety of pilgrims
and merchants coming from great distances.
Each pilgrimage and trading at the annual fair (sūq) took place during a
specific season every year. This was because of the need to deal with merchants
from outside the peninsula and also due to geographic factors, such as seasonal
winds or harvest periods.
The society of that time was vastly different from that of the Islamic era,
when Mecca became the only place of pilgrimage. In order to maintain order,
calendars in pre-Islamic Arabia had to follow the seasons.
Looking at other areas, the Sassanid dynasty of Persia had a unique
solar calendar. Solar calendars such as the Julian calendar, which designated
21 March as the date of the vernal equinox at the council of Nicea in 321,
and other ecclesiastical calendars (e.g. Coptic, Syrian, and Abyssinian) had
been dominant around the Arabian Peninsula. These solar calendars as well as
the Jewish calendar placed religious events in specific seasons of the year,
when people gathered for pilgrimages and trade. The Arabs who traded
with the Mediterranean areas, Abyssinia, and Persia, absorbing various kinds

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The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca

473

of religious knowledge from the Jews and the Christians, would not have been
indifferent to these calendars.1
As is well known, the hiǧra calendar (the Islamic calendar) is a lunar calendar. In the lunar calendar, one year consists of 354.367 days (29.531 days in
12 months) and differs from the solar calendar (365.242 days) by approximately
11 days. Consequently, a specific month does not correspond to a specific season. The prophet Muḥammad formally designated this lunar calendar in his
later years at the time of the Farewell Pilgrimage (ḥaǧǧat al-wadāʿ). On the
other hand, the pre-Islamic Meccan calendar was a lunisolar calendar, in
which a month was intercalated (making a 13-month year) roughly every three
years to keep the seasons and the months in correspondence.
The Jewish calendar is also a lunisolar calendar, developed under the influence of the Babylonian calendar. It has seven leap months in 19 years to resolve
the discrepancy between the lunar calendar and the solar calendar, and its
year originally started around the vernal equinox. As will be seen below, the
Jewish calendar may be closely connected with the pre-Islamic Meccan
calendar.
Studies dealing with pre-Islamic South Arabian inscriptions have revealed
the systems of a number of local calendars in the Yemen,2 and recent epigraphic work on the Ḥimyarite calendar proves that a lunisolar calendar with
a leap month had been in use in Ḥimyar as well.3
The Prophet Muḥammad’s abolition of the intricate traditional (lunisolar)
calendar and adoption of a pure lunar calendar was meant to change the traditional pilgrimage and trading system in the peninsula.
The months of the hiǧra calendar are as follows.4
1 On the calendars used around the Arabian peninsula, see F.C. de Blois, “Taʾrīkh (I.1.v-vii)”,
EI2.
2 Cf. A.F.L. Beeston, Epigraphic South Arabian Calendars and Dating, London, Luzac, 1956;
C.J. Robin, “Décompte du temps et souveraineté politique en Arabie méridionale”, in ProcheOrient ancien : temps vécu, temps pensé, ed. F. Briquel-Chatonnet and H. Lozachmeur, Paris,
Jean Maisonneuve [Antiquités sémitiques, 3], 1998, p. 121-151.
3 N. Nebes, “A new ʾAbraha inscription from the Great Dam of Mārib”, Proceedings of the Seminar
for Arabian Studies, 34 (2004), p. 228. On the Ḥimyarite calendar, see also I. Gajda, Le royaume
de Ḥimyar à l’époque monothéiste: L’histoire de l’Arabie du Sud ancienne de la fin du IV e siècle
de l’ère chrétienne jusqu’à l’avènement de l’islam, Paris, Académie des Inscriptions et BellesLettres [Mémoires de l’Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres, 40], 2009, p. 255-273.
4 The hiǧra calendar that is generally used these days has 30 days for odd-numbered months,
29 days for even-numbered months, for a total of 354 days in addition to 11 leap days that are
inserted in 30 years. In other words, a 355-day year is inserted 11 times in 30 years. This system

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1st al-muḥarram
2nd ṣafar
3rd rabīʿ I
4th rabīʿ II
5th ǧumādā I
6th ǧumādā II
7th raǧab
8th šaʿbān
9th ramaḍān
10th šawwāl
11th ḏū l-qaʿda
12th ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa
The current month names of the hiǧra calendar were presumably used as-is, at
least in the Ḥiǧāz area, in the pre-Islamic Period.5
1

Pilgrimages and Annual Fairs in Pre-Islamic Arabia

Pre-Islamic Arabia had abundant camels (which brought ten times the price of
sheep), palms, gold and silver mines, perfumes, and other resources. In their
caravan trade, the Meccan merchants imported all sorts of goods, such as
horses, cereals, wine, oil, weapons, clothes, jewelry, and perfume, as well as
slaves.6 However, the Meccan merchants didn’t have a monopoly since there
was no dominant tribe at the time Muḥammad began his mission.
Annual fairs took place at the pilgrimage sites, allowing pilgrims and merchants opportunities for trade in daily necessaries and luxuries, in addition to
was reportedly established by Ulugh Beg (d.  853/1449), and it drifts only 1 day every 2600
years.
5 The original meanings of the names given to each month were explained etymologically in
al-Masʿūdī, Murūǧ al-ḏahab wa-maʿādin al-ǧawhar (Les prairies d’or), ed. and transl. C. Barbier
de Meynard et A. Pavet de Courteille, revised by C. Pellat, Paris, Imprimerie impériale, 1971,
III, p. 417-419; al-Bīrūnī, Kitāb al-Āṯār al-bāqiya ʿan al-qurūn al-ḫāliya, ed. C.E. Sachau, Leipzig,
Otto Harrassowitz, 1923, p. 60; id., The Chronology of Ancient Nations, ed. and transl. C.E.
Sachau, London, W.H. Allen, 1879, p. 70-71. Cf. F.C. de Blois, “Taʾrīkh (I.1.iii-iv)”, EI2.
6 Concerning the commodities which the Meccan merchants imported, see e.g. H. Lammens,
“La république marchande de La Mecque vers l’an 600 de notre ère”, Bulletin de l’Institut
Égyptien, 5/4 (1910), p. 47 ff; F.M. Donner, “Mecca’s Food Supplies and Muhammad’s Boycott”,
JESHO, 20 (1977), p. 254 ff; P. Crone, Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam, Oxford, B. Blackwell,
1987, p. 150.

Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513

1858-1860. p. al-Azraqī. See esp. 118-131).R. an organization that controlled the rites of the pilgrimage. II. ed.11 7 Ibn Ḥabīb. chapter 2. 11 Ḥums. al-Marzūqī. G. and al-muḥarram (or ṣafar I. such as Saʿad in Ǧidda and Suwāʿ located north of Mecca. There were many more idols in the Ḥiǧāz. Azmina. and Ḏū l-Maǧāz (near ʿArafa). p. p. Leiden. M. On the other hand. the key question is in which season of the year a given fair was held. cf. 167-168 reports that ʿUkāẓ was administrated by the Banū Tamīm. Ibn Hišām. 178-179.J. 1883. Kitāb al-Muḥabbar. F. 1332/1913-1914. ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa 10/March 632. 1968. Fahd. p. p. and Azraqī has some detailed information about the fairs that were held near Mecca. below) were designated. ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. JESHO. Hawting.g. 8 Al-Azraqī. recent investigations encourage a reconsideration of the ordinary views on polytheism and idolatry in the pagan Arab society. 1942. Olms. “The Role Played by the Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 263-268. Dāʾirat al-maʿārif al-ʿuṯmāniyya. Fabietti.9 In the Ḥiǧāz region. Therefore. p. Wüstenfeld. Yaʿqūbī and al-Marzūqī contain valuable accounts of the fairs that took place throughout the Arabian Peninsula7. 126-129. on the way to Ǧiʿrāna and ʿArafa). Al-Marzūqī. 161-170. Wüstenfeld. I. ed. 1999. ʿAylān and Banū Ṯaqīf) was held for the first 20 days of the 11th month of ḏū l-qaʿda. “Mecca and Tamīm”. Aḫbār. is mentioned in several sources (e. as well as the hides of the sacrificed animals. 129-132. F. Aḫbār Makka. Leipzig. p. Brill. ʿUkāẓ (administrated by the Banū Qays b. Houtsma. Maǧanna (north of Mecca. al-Yaʿqūbī. The Idea of Idolatry and the Emergence of Islam. G. Geuthner. Cambridge University Press. p. 129. 1981). 131. Lichtenstädter.8 Although these sources record the month in which each fair took place. p. in Die Chroniken der Stadt Mekka. but information about them is very limited. 88 ff. Hyderabad. and Ḏū l-Maǧāz (by the Banū Huḏayl) was for the first eight days of the 12th month of ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. I. Ibn Ḥabīb. Le panthéon de l’Arabie centrale à la veille de l’Hégire. p. 10 Regarding the pagan gods in Arabia. F.10 Not only the Qurayš of Mecca but also all the tribes of the area played an important role in maintaining the safety of pilgrimage fairs and rites. U. 9 According to al-Azraqī. Brockhaus. 1858 (reprint: New York. Cambridge. Hyderabad. 132-141. Dāʾirat al-maʿārif al-ʿuṯmāniyya. p. T. Göttingen. Paris. Librairie orientaliste P. the three sacred months of ḏū l-qaʿda. we can assume that the ḥaǧǧ in the pre-Islamic period took place in spring every year. Th. Aḫbār. Kitāb al-Azmina wa-l-amkina. II. ed. during which pilgrims of the ḥaǧǧ had the chance to visit the shrines of the region’s three goddesses: al-ʿUzzā (at Naḫla). al-Lāt (at Ṭāʾif). See M. and also the Kaʿba of Mecca. During the pilgrimage. Ibn Ḥabīb. 8 (1965). Kister. Kitāb Sīrat rasūl Allāh. 313-315. Muḥabbar. Maǧanna (by the Banū Kināna) was for the last 10 days of ḏū l-qaʿda.A. Dieterichsche Universitäts Buchhandlung. Taʾrīḫ. ed. Muḥammad participated in the Farewell Pilgrimage in the 12th month. cf. and Manāt (near Qudayd in the coastal area of the Red Sea).The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 475 sacrificial animals and garments necessary for the pilgrimage. I. trade was conducted at the fairs of ʿUkāẓ (north of al-Ṭāʾif).

taking advantage of west wind in summer. see al-Wāqidī. rabīʿ I. Maṭbaʿat al-amīriyya. 169-170. Varisco. Cambridge University Press. 1994. ed. Seattle and London. Beirut. Washington. Simon. 43. Since it came at the end of the wheat harvest in Syria. See Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society: Of the Holy Places Visited by Antoninus Martyr. 12 ff. London. Proceedings of the Seminar for Arabian Studies. London. Hāšim died in Ġaza on a commercial trip (Ibn Hišām. Brill. M. p. 220. Azmina.16 Nawrūz. 1989. Sīra. 87). the first day of Organization of the ‘Ḥums’ in the Evolution of Political Ideas in Pre-Islamic Mecca”. Currents. and Navigation. p. I. had close connections with the oases in Ḫaybar. Meccan Trade and Islam. ed. R.. was in spring during the pre-Islamic period. 15 A. de Goeje et al. 1966. Muṣṭafā al-Saqqā. Large numbers of trading ships gathered along the east coast of the Mediterranean Sea. Budapest. I. 1561. Antoninus Martyr who visited Ġaza about AD 570 informs us “Gaza itself is a magnificent and delightful city.12 Assuming that ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. was in early summer. The neighbouring Jewish oases. including Dayr Ayyūb. p. Muḥammad’s great grandfather. 1896 (in The Library of the Palestine Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Kitāb al-Aṣnām. Pryor. II. remarks “the prevailing winds on the Mediterranean and Red Seas. R.13 Syria had a long history of holding fairs and festivals around the summer solstice. A. Akadémiai Kiadó. General Examination of the Mediterranean Sea: A Summary of its Winds. 16 On Meccan caravans to Ġaza. 18 (1988).H. 1914. Stewart. and lovers of pilgrims”. Geography. Leiden. 145. p. ed. eminent for liberality of all kinds.H. Cambridge. see also J. I. Wyman. ed.M. and Aḏriʿāt.J. Wādī l-Qurā. when the pilgrimage around Mecca took place. 1983. Muʿǧam mā staʿǧama. Kitāb al-Maġāzī. ʿUḏra (al-Bakrī. D. p. M. Le Gras. including Ġaṭafān. tr. are contrary during the winter season”. 13 Ibn al-Kalbī.15 Ġaza as well as Buṣrā is mentioned by the historical sources as the main destination of Meccan caravans. 1]. Oxford University Press. p. Buṣrā (Bostra). ʿĀlam al-kutub. transl. 1992. 1870. p. p.14 around the summer solstice in June. had similarly strong relations with an Arab tribe. and War: Studies in the Maritime History of the Mediter­ ranean 649-1571. University of Washington Press. Al-Marzūqī (d. [Palestine Pilgrims’ Text Society. p. For the navigation in the Mediterranean. and we can assume that not only the resident Jews but also the neighbouring Arab tribes gathered there. 1879-1901. Technology. Jones. p. 83). which are favorable from March to the end of October for navigation from Europe to the east. Medieval Agriculture and Islamic Science: The Almanac of a Yemeni Sultan. the 3rd month. 25-33. Taʾrīḫ al-rusul wa-l-mulūk. 14 Al-Marzūqī. 48-49. Cairo. Government Printing Office.476 ioh At Naṭā in Ḫaybar a fair took place in al-muḥarram. Aḥmad Zakī Bāšā. Dayr Ayyūb was reported to be held 25 days after the Pleiades disappeared. p. its inhabitants are most respectable. 12 Many nomadic Arab tribes. in which the fair of Dūmat al-Ǧandal (where the idol Wadd was enshrined) took place. these accounts might reflect the facts in 10th-11th centuries. 200. al-Ṭabarī. flour was offered to the Syrian idol Uqayṣir.  421/1030) being a relatively later philologist.

R. 22-25. al-Wāqidī. through Šiḥr (8th month. Kitāb al-Munammaq. A. preservation. was originally observed at the summer solstice. The reason these fairs took place in sequence from Ṣuhār.21 17 18 19 20 21 Pilgrims’ Text Society. Zeitschrift der Deutschen morgenländischen Gesellschaft. Ibn Ḥabīb. they took advantage of the seasonal wind of the Red Sea that blows from Aden to the direction of Mecca. Ships sailing from Oman and India to the Yemen took advantage of this wind. we may conclude that the 12-month lunar calendar was adjusted periodically by ­inserting a leap month to ensure the fairs occurred in the proper seasons. Lucas. Ḫ. and the fairs of Aden and Ṣanʿāʾ (9th month. is that the monsoon blows from the Indian continent to the Arabian Peninsula in autumn and winter. The following diagram on the next page illustrates the cycle. ed. Mušaqqar. security. However. Norie & Wilson. EI2. Dabā (7th month. 222. see Crone. Dāʾirat al-maʿārif al-ʿuṯmāniyya. Red Sea and Gulf of Aden Pilot. p. are thought to describe the activities of Qurašī merchants who visited Syria in summer and the Yemen in winter.20 In pre-Islamic Arabia. Therefore.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 477 the Persian solar year.) of Qurayš. 67 (1954). New York. See his “Hūd and Other Pre-Islamic Prophets of Ḥaḍramawt”. 1985. R. Laurie. Hyderabad. p. 1-2). p. p. “Nawrūz”. See Ibn Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . šaʿbān) to Aden (ramaḍān). Medieval Agriculture. ramaḍān) were in winter. Bosworth]. 159-160. 1971. The two journeys mentioned in sura Qurayš. 197 (Ethiopia in winter). for the ilāf of their journey in winter and summer” (Kor 106.17 Apparently. a cycle of fairs going around the Peninsula clockwise had been established as being the most favorable for trade. 317). 13 (1859). The idol Ḏū l-Labbā was enshrined there and its guardian was the Banū ʿAbd al-Qays (Ibn Ḥabīb. Muḥabbar.B. 1964. Cf. Cf. p. The event was caused by Muḥammad’s intention to raid the caravan led by Abū Sufyān coming from Syria to Mecca. 19-20. 126. Maġāzī. 115-119. p.19 and in winter. p. Varisco. Taunton. “Ueber den Kalender der Araber vor Moḥammad”. and in Iraq traditional feasts were also held around summer solstice in the Islamic period. 26. It seems likely that in those days there was a journey to Syria that departed around in ǧumādā I and returned in ramaḍān (during autumn and winter). Imray. raǧab). Red Sea and Indian Ocean Cruising Guide. For more details on Meccan merchants in Syria. A. The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office. 31-36 and 262-263. etc. Le Museon. the battle of Badr occurred in ramaḍān.E. p.g. Huntingdon. II).18 a fair in the Persian Gulf region (held in the 6th month. AMS Press. p. 200715. Sprenger. I. ǧumādā II) was in autumn. Currents caused by the wind flow the same direction as the wind. Aḥmad Fāriq. see e. Serjeant affirms that the merchants travelling by sea from the Persian Gulf must have taken advantage of the monsoon which brought them to Šiḥr about November. Among historical sources. “For the ilāf (agreement. Meccan Trade. p. Levy-[C.

Sīra.v.23 It took place in the 7th month. . In Jerusalem. See al-Masʿūdī. 318). a fair took place in the same month as ʿUkāẓ. Taʾrīḫ. p. 1 (1971). 1988.24 In Ḥaḍramawt. . 1957. Sīra. 405. al-Ṭabarī. Beirut. Israel Oriental Studies. Murūǧ. I. p. p. visited this fair. 165). p. raǧab. Ḏū l-Ḫalaṣa in Tabāla had a temple in which divination arrows were performed (Ibn al-Kalbī. Aṣnām. The idol. Azmina.478 ioh summer 3rd month Dūmat al-Ǧandal Basl spring 11th-12th month Ḥiǧāz 6th month autumn Mušaqqar 7th month Ḥubāša 11th month 9th month Ḥaḍramawt Ṣanʿāʾ winter (Expedition to Mecca: spring in the age of Abraha) Figure 1 Timing of the pilgrimage fairs in pre-Islamic Arabia Basl22 in the figure represents the eight sacred months uniquely established by the Banū Murra (sub tribe of Ġaṭafān). p. 106 ff. who inhabited the area east of Medina. 1271 and 1282 ff. The fair of Ḥubāša took place near Tabāla and Ǧuraš. The fair’s name is al-Rābiya. where the local feast of raǧab (ʿumra) was once held. Its prosperity in the Middle Ages was reported in detail in Ibn Ǧubayr. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 421 and 427 ff. 34-36).”.25 22 23 24 25 Hišām. Ibn Hišām. “Rajab is the Month of God . where some famous pagan shrines existed. The Banū Kinda possessed the idol Ḏarīḥ in al-Nuǧayr of Ḥaḍramawt (Ibn Ḥabīb. p. 66. They seem to have utilized the sacred months for traveling to the pilgrimage fairs in each area of the Peninsula. and even Meccan merchants reportedly visited there from afar. which was no doubt the sacred month in this region as well as in the vicinity of Mecca. II. Muḥammad. p. II. who was employed by Ḫadīǧa. Muḥabbar. p. p. 210-211 (s. According to Yāqūt. Dār ṣādir. the great feast was held in October. Ḥubāša). Muʿǧam al-buldān. The pre-Islamic Meccan feast ʿumra had been celebrated in a great scale even in the Islamic era in raǧab. 191. Qurayš was guarded there by Ākil al-Murār family of the Banū Kinda (al-Marzūqī. Dār ṣādir. Beirut. p. See Kister. III. Riḥla Ibn Ǧubayr.

pilgrims would find out whether the following year’s pilgrimage was to come after 12 months or 13 months. Aṣnām.30 The Banū Kināna played an important role in the pilgrimage fairs and rites in the sanctuaries of the Ḥiǧāz. Ǧāmiʿ. “Nasīʾ”. It also has derivative expressions such as “milk diluted with water” or “pregnant woman. Kināna who married a Kindite princess.”27 The function of nasīʾ was passed down among the Banū Kināna. Kināna had an idol called Saʿad in Ǧidda. Ibn al-Kalbī. the calendar adjuster would chant at the Kaʿba to make his declarations about the calendar: “I make no mistakes and have no sins. 27 Al-Ṭabarī. “An-Nasīʾ in der Islamischen Tradition”. Aḫbār. and the calendar adjusters who carry out these functions are called nāsiʾ or munsiʾ. See Ibn Hišām. p. p. p. p. around the end of the ḥaǧǧ. al-Masʿūdī.28 The Banū Kināna inhabited mainly the area west of Mecca in the coastal areas along the Red Sea and were known as the administrators of the fair of Maǧanna. Sīra. however. X. 125.S. 1986. 157. Sīra. 37.26 According to Tafsīr of al-Ṭabarī. succeeded in that function. p. Al-Azraqī. Beirut. p. ed. p. 1/27/1. The last calendar adjuster. Ǧamharat al-Nasab. EI2 ). X. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Muḥabbar. 116-117. the Arabic root N. Shahīd. Abū Ṯumāma. p. 30 Ibn Hišām. It was also reported that they shared the worship of the idol al-ʿUzzā with Qurayš. mentions that the Banū Kinda originally had served as calendar adjusters and then Mālik b. ed. III. 1995.. Aṣnām. 22.31 During one pilgrimage period. 1-54. p. 164-165. naturally would have been made known widely to Arabs all over the peninsula by the pilgrims and the merchants. 30. Cf. who held the title qalammas for about 60 years. Murūǧ.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 479 In Arabia. 53. Sīra. then. he would come to Minā riding on a donkey to make such declarations. Moreover. 156-57. Kināna (to whom the qalammas family belonged) and the Banū Mirkān b. Ibn al-Kalbī. 31 Ibn Ḥabīb. the adjustment of calendars by inserting leap months and setting sacred months is called nasīʾ. p. 169. 1931. Lunds Universitets Arsskrift. Nāǧī Ḥasan. 26 The leader of the Sanhedrin in charge of calendaring in the Jewish society was also called nāsī. Beirut. Dār al-fikr.” and its usage includes exten­ ding longevity or increasing the walking speed of camels. Moberg. 55. Ǧāmiʿ al-bayān ʿan taʾwīl āy al-Qurʾān.ʾ means “increase” or “extension. al-Ṭabarī. performed this duty for 40 years and was the greatgrandson of the first member of the family to assume this role. p. The Banū Kinda in the Yemen and Ḥaḍramawt reportedly embraced Judaism in pre-Islamic times. Lund-Leipzig. who converted to Islam. p. “Kinda”. Ibn al-Kalbī. 167. Ibn Ḥabīb. Every year. 29 The guardian (sādin) of al-ʿUzzā was the Banū Sulaym. and their calendar hence should have been a lunisolar calendar as that of Ḥimyar (see I. The decision of the Kinanite calendar adjuster. id. 28 Ibn Hišām. ʿĀlam al-kutub. p. Muḥabbar. and whatever I say will not be retracted”. Ṣidqī Ǧamīl al-ʿAṭṭār. EI and EI2 .29 The Banū Mālik b. A.

Kaʿb. S. while Ibn al-Kalbī. Kister. Abraha built a church in Ṣanʿāʾ. See esp. p. p. christianized from early times. p. 68). “Abraha and Muḥammad: Some Observations Apropos of Chronology and Literary Topoi in the Early Arabic Historical Tradition”. “Arabia and Ethiopia”.. p. 35-36). Johnson. Hearing about this story. Diffusion de Boccard [Cahiers de la Villa “Kérylos”. p. the vernal Christian feast in the Yemen coincided with the ḥaǧǧ in the Ḥiǧāz. L. 63-66. Abraha’s army included the Banū Ḫaṯʿam and the Banū Ḥāriṯ b. which occurs in spring (it is celebrated on Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox). M. and wrote about his intention to Negus. one of the calendar adjusters went to the church and defiled it.35 The calendar adjuster’s reaction can be understood as stemming from his role of controlling the cycle of pilgrimages all over the peninsula. p. Le Muséon. Waraqa b. The Banū Ḫaṯʿam was one of the tribes that worshiped the idol. p. J. id. 111-114). 2010. intending to induce Arab pilgrims visit this church. Aḫbār. ou la guerre des pèlerinages”. 15 (1972). 213-242. A number of idols which originated from the Yemen possibly took refuge in the Kaʿba of Mecca.33 Competing pilgrimages were another problem.. Maintaining order among the Arab tribes in the pre-Islamic Period depended on maintaining the cycle of pilgrimages. ed. de La Genière et al. JESHO.32 It may not be so surprising that the Ethiopian Christians invaded Mecca. 21]. Bulletin of the School of Oriental and African Studies. in Les sanctuaires et leur rayonnement dans le monde méditerranéen de l’Antiquité à l’époque moderne. p. the Ethiopian king.J. Paris.g. 426-436.J. Aṣnām. resided in Naǧrān. Robin. In Mecca not only the pagan Arabs but also Christians (e. 225-230. 2012. Aṣnām. Kister. Oxford-New York-Auckland. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . “Some Reports concerning Mecca: From Jāhiliyya to Islam”. That is. 50 (1987). lay the pictures of Abraham. one of the religious centers of the pagan Arabs.I. The Ḥiǧāz was an area which allowed various kinds of beliefs. and Abraha’s expedition was intended to change this traditional system unilaterally. ed. in The Oxford Handbook of Late Antiquity. 284-292. these two tribes did not acknowledge the sanctity of Mecca nor make a pilgrimage to Kaʿba. According to Ibn Ḥabīb (Munammaq. Oxford University Press. Ḏū l-Ḫalaṣa in Tabāla (Ibn al-Kalbī.J. C.F. p. “L’Arabie à la veille de l’islam : La campagne d’Abraha contre la Mecque. Nawfal) and Jews existed. “The Campaign of Ḥulubān: A New Light on the Expedition of Abraha”. The Banū Ḥāriṯ b. 73 (1965). Inside the Kaʿba. Kaʿb from the southern Arab.480 ioh The calendar adjuster had something to do with the Abraha’s famous expedition to Mecca in the Year of the Elephant (the year in which the prophet Muḥammad is believed to have been born). Jesus and Mary (al-Azraqī.34 Indeed the biggest religious feast for Christianity is Easter. 44 states that they had the Kaʿba in Naǧrān and worshipped it. Conrad. 32 33 34 35 The actual date of Abraha’s expedition to Mecca is discussed in considerable detail in M.

41 Al-Ṭabarī. Berlin. 1882. Sīra. Ṣanʿāʾ. Reimer. Maġāzī. p. J. Maġāzī. p. p. was initially deployed against Musaylima. he made an expedition to Dūmat al-Ǧandal in rabīʿ I. 42 Al-Ṭabarī.41 Since historical sources give no detailed months or days related to the activities of these generals and armies. and their armies were dispatched all around the peninsula. G. p.” Thus the expedition must have taken place in summer around rabīʿ I. University of Toronto Press. Zayd made an expedition into Syria immediately after the death of Muḥammad (rabīʿ I. because the Messenger of God heard that many people had gathered there and had approached to his territories”. Al-Riddah and the Muslim Conquest of Arabia. p. p. Sīra. I. 1868. For instance. Taʾrīḫ. 37 Ibn Hišām. 1702. I. ʿIkrima. 9 /June-July. In this expedition. See also al-Wāqidī.37 The expedition to Tabūk was undertaken “in a hard season when the heat was intense.39 During the apostasy (ridda) wars. Mahra. “Dabā is the city where the great fair (sūq) was held. the king of Dūmat. p. p. 9/Oct-Nov. III. 10/December. al-Walīd to Dūmat al-Ǧandal where Ukaydir. this is implausible and too late as a historical date. Taʾrīḫ. Wellhausen. but he headed to ʿUmān (Oman) before the arrival of Ḫālid b. p. 1878-1881. al-Wāqidī. Al-Ṭabarī states. They plundered the fair thoroughly. I. 1693. Muḥammad’s expedition to Dūmat al-Ǧandal was in rabīʿ I. 19-20 suggests that the expedition took place in rabīʿ II (Jul-Aug). 40 Al-Ṭabarī. Abī Ṭālib to the Yemen was in ramaḍān. 631. I. 1121-1122. 1462-1463 tells us as follows: “In this year (5/626). I. I. Muḥammad sent Ḫālid b. 630. to 36 Al-Ṭabarī. 38 Ibn Hišām. One of the gene­ rals. the cycle of fairs and the timing of the expeditions were no doubt closely related to each other. 1979. Muhammed in Medina: Das ist Vakidi’s Kitab alMaghazi in verkürzter deutscher Wiedergabe.”42 Apostasy occurred in Tabāla as well. 1972. p. It is interesting to note that the ʿIkrima’s various batt­ les seem to have coincided with the cycle of the fairs. 632). p. 39 Al-Wāqidī. III. 11/June. al-Walīd who was deployed against Ṭulayḥa.40 and returned two months after he set off. III. Then Abū Bakr appointed 11 generals.36 and his expedition to Ḫaybar was in muḥarram. Beirut.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 481 During the life of the prophet Muḥammad. Taʾrīḫ. 990. 755 (al-muḥarram in 7/628). 893-894. Taʾrīḫ. was captured “in a summer moonlit night” (al-Ṭabarī. we can only make a rough estimate that the armies were sent around in ǧumādā II (around September). Usāma b. Shoufany. For details of the apostasy wars. al-Walīd. and then moved to Dabā. Taʾrīḫ. 1079. 1025-1026). 107 ff. Although Ibn Hišām reports that the expedition to Tabūk took place in raǧab. Maġāzī. Taʾrīḫ. 630. They fought intensely at Dabā. see E. the land was in a drought and fruit was ripe. and Ḥaḍramawt. including Ḫālid b. p. Maġāzī. al-Ṭabarī. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . al-Wāqidī.38 The expedition of ʿAlī b. p. III. p.

1904-1917. They make it profane one year and make it sacred another year. 133. and raǧab which is called the month of Muḍar. Ibn Saʿd. Cf. Muḥammad gave a sermon in Minā. That is the correct creed. (Kor 9. So wrong not yourselves therein. 45 Al-Wāqidī. 2 The Months in Pre-Islamic Mecca How were the months arranged in common years and leap years in the preIslamic period? Passages in the Qurʾān regarding the calendar in the time of the Prophet are as follows: The number of the months with Allāh is twelve. Leiden. Kitāb al-Ṭabaqāt al-kabīr. 35-36. p. p. Lecker. during the Farewell Pilgrimage. as follows:45 Indeed. ed. ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. (Kor 9.43 and it was probably around in the month of raǧab that the regional feast had been held. I. in Allāh’s Book on the day He created the heavens and the earth. Taʾrīḫ. I. 1754. Aṣnām. 161. Ḏū l-Ḫalaṣa was once destroyed in the time of Muḥammad. X. 22 (2001). 1112. Then they make profane what Allāh has made sacred. 24 ff. The number of the months is twelve in the Book of Allāh. Control of the religious rites during the feasts and economic activity at the fairs (customs duties were imposed at most of the fairs except ʿUkāẓ)44 was the most important interest for the ruling Arabs in the region. al-Qantara. “Were Customs Dues Levied at the Time of the Prophet Muḥammad?”. and al-muḥarram. Those who have disbelieved are led astray thereby. Maġāzī. but fight the polytheists all together as they fight you all together. Of these four are sacred. Sachau. p. so we can assume that these occasions may have been used for declarations of apostasy. 1988. time has circulated as on the day when Allāh created the heavens and the earth. of which four are sacred.. also al-Ṭabarī. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 43 Ibid. p. E. p. taking the place of the calendar adjuster who had ever declared the decisions there. 44 M.482 ioh restore the famous idol Ḏū l-Ḫalaṣa. Brill. III. According to Ibn al-Kalbī. Ǧāmiʿ. three consecutive months of ḏū l-qaʿda. 36) The nasīʾ is an addition of unbelief. al-Ṭabarī. p. II/1. p. 37) Moreover. in order to adjust the number which Allāh has made sacred.

However. Aḥmad Farīd. I. al-Farrāʾ. 30.46 Insertion of leap months is not considered in many traditions. Cf. Tafsīr. The first interpretation is intercalation of leap months. ed. p. p. tradition number 12980 was labeled as i. X. The second interpretation is suspension or postponement of sacred months. Muslim traditions relating to Kor 9. We have been discussing pre-Islamic calendric adjustment particularly with reference to the insertion of leap months. 168-172. 37. “an-Nasīʾ”. p. wars or raids by other tribes. 1955-1972. In this case the nasīʾ means to shift or postpone each month by insertion of a leap month. The traditions similar to A are reported in Muqātil b. 5-9. In addition to the existence of these two interpretations. Regarding Kor 9. Ǧāmiʿ. p. Ibn Hišām. what makes things more complicated is the problem of how to arrange and adjust leap months and sacred months when the insertion of a leap month causes a year to have 13 months. For convenience. Maʿānī al-Qurʾān. Sīra. 47 Al-Ṭabarī. al-Dār al-miṣriyya. In this case the nasīʾ is interpreted to shift sacred months to subsequent months. 168-170 (i-vi). p. a number of exegetical traditions remain in Tafsīr of al-Ṭabarī. 436-437. Every month has twenty-nine days or thirty. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Cairo. 46. Muḥammad ʿAlī l-Naǧǧār et al. p.. Dār al-kutub al-ʿilmiyya. ed. occasionally postponed a sacred month due to attacks. urged by some warlike Arabs. In such case. (Transference of the sanctity of the sacred month to ṣafar) Common year al-muḥarram (sacred month) Nasīʾ al-muḥarram (profane month) ṣafar (profane month) ṣafar (sacred month) 46 Al-Ṭabarī. II. 2003. Ǧāmiʿ. X. also the German translation by Moberg.483 The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca It is between ǧumādā and šaʿbān. Eleven traditions are recorded. Those traditions are based on the exegetical idea that the calendar adjuster. and 12990 as xi in sequence. Sulaymān. months could be arranged in either one of the following two orders. The latter interpretation often gives an impression that the system of leap months was not recognized. 36-37 are divided into two kinds of thought about calendric adjustment. Beirut.47 A.

484 ioh B. 128 states “in the year 9. al-muḥarram for the following two years. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 274. If such an adjustment was actually made frequently. This tradition explains that in order to adjust the gap between the lunar calendar and solar calendar. is interpreted by this tradition as indicating that the timing of ḥaǧǧ returned to ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. Al-Azraqī. as in the original cycle. The sermon by Muḥammad at the Farewell Pilgrimage. p. Ibn Ḥabīb. and other sacred months were not? However one of al-Ṭabarī’s traditions relates the following:49 They would go on a pilgrimage in ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa for two years. (Postponement of al-muḥarram to the next month) Common year al-muḥarram (sacred month) Nasīʾ ṣafar (profane month) ṣafar (profane month) al-muḥarram (sacred month) There is also a tradition that describes an adjustment in which two profane months occur at the beginning of one year and two sacred months occur at the beginning of the following year. and Ibn Saʿd also quote a similar tradition. the months of the pilgrimages were postponed by one month every two years instead of inserting a leap month. Al-Azraqī. Ibn Saʿd. as criticized in Kor 9. Munammaq. 171 (ix). Aḫbār. Aḫbār. X. A question also arises: why were only the months of al-muḥarram and ṣafar chosen as the objects of nasīʾ. 170 (vii). and ṣafar for the next two years. the safety of pilgrims and merchants who came from a distance would have had been endangered. 134.50 However. 50 Al-Azraqī. 48 Al-Ṭabarī.48 Nasīʾ (first year) ṣafar (profane month) Nasīʾ (next year) al-muḥarram (sacred month) ṣafar (profane month) al-muḥarram (sacred month) The above-mentioned orders had the purpose of keeping the numbers consistent. p. Ṭabaqāt.. the ḥaǧǧ fell in ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa”. p. II/1. 49 Ibid. p. Ǧāmiʿ. “Time has circulated as on the day when Allāh created the heavens and the earth”. 127. p. p. Thus they went on a pilgrimage by shifting the months of pilgrimage to subsequent months every two years. Ibn Ḥabīb. X. 37.

J. On the other hand. 72-73. 1967. Therefore they must have understood the insertion of leap months in a lunisolar calendar. 73). this interpretation cannot be historically possible since sacred months would also have had to shift every other year. p. This was called nasīʾ because the beginning of a year was postponed by one month every two to three years. .”52 Al-Bīrūnī explains that a pure lunar calendar similar to that of the Muslims was used in Arabia in the past. p. Murūǧ.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 485 no ground can be found in any historical sources for the ḥaǧǧ being scheduled during the months of ramaḍān or šawwāl in the beginning of the hiǧra era. 8]. Maḥmūd al-Fardaws al-ʿAẓm. Damascus. Kitāb al-Tanbīh wa-l-išrāf. III. . . Allāh criticized nasīʾ by revealing that “nasīʾ is an addition of unbelief. Judging from their literary works. they delayed their departure by 11 days every year. Leiden. ed. de Goeje. ed. Ansāb al-ašrāf. 52 Al-Masʿūdī. They would depart in the following year even if they were in the month of ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 53 Al-Bīrūnī. al-Balāḏurī reports the following:54 They wanted the day to leave for the ḥaǧǧ to be at a certain time (season) of the year. p. M. Al-Masʿūdī clearly mentions the system of leap months as follows: One month used to be added every three years in Arabia in the time of Ǧāhiliyya. Therefore. 417. He reports as follows:53 They learned intercalation (kabs) from Jewish people in the area.”51 Arabia in the time of Ǧāhiliyya practiced nasīʾ because there were differences between the solar and lunar calendars. but this is not the ḥaǧǧ. meaning postponement (taʾḫīr). but the leap system was introduced so that pilgrimages could occur at a convenient time for taking products and merchandise to the markets. as revealed in the phrase “nasīʾ is an addition of unbelief. p. The ʿumra by Muḥammad from 6/628-8/630 occurred in the month of ḏū l-qaʿda. Āṯār. 217-218. al-Masʿūdī and al-Bīrūnī were familiar with the natural history of many ages and cultures and obviously quite knowledgeable. 54 Al-Balāḏurī. 1996-2004. Dār al-yaqẓa l-ʿarabiyya. This is because they added 11 days to the date in the month 51 Al-Masʿūdī. X. 62 (transl. Brill [Bibliotheca Geographorum Arabicorum. It was 200 years before the hiǧra. Thus. p. This was called nasīʾ.

it is hardly credible as a historical fact. I. 30.” and Kor 9. irrespective of whether a given year was a common year or a leap year. Edinburgh. The following are the names of the months that we can infer from the early sources in which it is difficult to find concrete evidence. With this tradition. “in order to adjust the number which Allāh has made sacred. 126. p. Edinburgh. p. 36 (“Of these four are sacred. 37.55 According to the early Muslim sources. p. Clark. 36. . the 11-day annual difference between the lunar calendar and the solar calendar was adjusted by delaying the departure by 11 days each year.”). 1937-1939. Bell is probably right in mentioning that verse 9. Sīra.&T. 56 Al-Azraqī. “of these four are sacred. T. 95. Common years 11th ḏū l-qaʿda (sacred month) 12th ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (sacred month) 1st ṣafar I (sacred month) or ṣafar al-muḥarram (sacred month) 2nd ṣafar II (profane month) 7th raǧab (sacred month) Leap years 11th ḏū l-qaʿda (sacred month) 12th ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (sacred month) al-muḥarram (leap month. III. While this report is interesting. p. the pre-Islamic calendar had two consecutive months of ṣafar at the beginning of the year and the Arabs called them ṣafarān (the two ṣafars: ṣafar al-awwal. That is the correct creed. sacred month) 1st ṣafar I (profane month) 2nd ṣafar II (profane month) 7th • raǧab (sacred month) Judging from Kor 9. Whatever day of the year it was. 11 days were adjusted in this way. 2 of the Qurʾān (“journey freely in the land for four months . al-Masʿūdī. . p.486 ioh of ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. Aḫbār. ṣafar al-āḫir).” it can be assumed that four sacred months were set up without exception. Edinburgh University Press.”) originally followed the phrase in 9. 1953. Murūǧ. 117. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .  173. with a Critical Re-arrangement of the Surahs.56 Al-muḥarram was 55 R. Introduction to the Qurʾān. Ibn Hišām. See The Qurʾān: Translated.

“Zu an-nasīʾ (Koran 9. 203 offers two possibilities for the orders of the months (11th month to 1st month) in a leap year: a) XI s – XII s – L p – I s.57 Probably within the first century of the Islamic era. Brill. “Ṣafar”. M. a leap month became profane. ed. from the verse. p. 1887). nor sacred month. Reste. Fück. p.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 487 thought by European scholars to have been originally a passive participle that qualified ṣafar. p. “an-Nasīʾ”. Leiden. leading to a simple question of whether people in those days familiarized themselves with such arrangements of months. Reste Arabischen Heidentums. so it was essential to respect the three consecutive sacred months to maintain the socio-economic system of the area. EI and EI2. Futūḥ al-buldān. Paret. p. Wensinck. 95. 95. Moreover. Stuttgart. 37)”. pilgrimages and trade are believed to have continued even before and after the month of ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. Berlin. EI and EI2. 281-283 also asserts that in the leap year. Reimer. A. 1971. p = profane. and the sacred month of al-muḥarram was shifted to a month later. p.  13-15 and 22. Moberg: (“an-Nasīʾ”. 1968. If these dues had to be made every half a year. in which he imposed on them dues of one thousand clothes in every ṣafar and raǧab. the first month of the year must have been called ṣafar.58 Moberg and Plessner claim that the pre-Islamic leap month was not a sacred month. ṣafar. “The ḥaǧǧ is in the well-known months (ašhur)” (Kor 2. According to al-Balāḏurī and Ibn Saʿd. p. Orientalistische Literaturzeitung. de Goeje.J. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 35-36. J. EI2) Common Year: Leap years: ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa al-muḥarram ṣafar ṣafar al-muḥarram ṣafar Their theory causes confusion about the arrangement of months. 22) Common year: Leap year: ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa al-muḥarram [X] ṣafar ṣafar I or al-muḥarram ṣafar II Plessner: (“Muḥarram”. Moberg thought that the leap month was not al-muḥarram. Muḥammad sent a letter to the people of Naǧrān. the first month of ṣafar began to be called al-muḥarram. (s = sacred.59 However the leap month actually became a sacred month. p. b) XI s – XII s – L s – I p. 1897 (first publ. it could 57 58 59 J. Wellhausen. L = leap month). As we have reviewed. Der Koran: Kommentar und Konkordanz. See al-Balāḏurī. M. Moberg. R. the name of the leap month was unknown (indicated by [X]). and the following month (ṣafar I) became a profane month. 197). Plessner. Kohlhammer. W. G. 64. Ibn Saʿd. Wellhausen.J. “al-Muḥarram”. p. 36 (1933). On the other hand. I/2. Ṭabaqāt. and not muḥarram in those days.

Munammaq. p. X. 217).  351-356. 104. ignoring the role of Kināna. I/1. I. tribes such as Hawāzin. even in front of the ones who murdered their fathers. and Ġaṭafān.62 Moreover.63 Therefore there might have been cases of nasīʾ when the setting of the sacred months did not have meaning. and Hawāzin on the other. I. Cf. 61 Ibn Hišām. al-Ṭabarī. 46. 198. It is said that during the sacred months the Arabs maintained peace.L. 169-170 (ii. . Social. the Prophet had to make excuses using the Qurʾānic verse that contains following phrase: “They will ask you about fighting in the sacred month. in which Muḥammad was believed to have participated in his youth. the nasīʾ might intentionally adjust the calendar by shifting the sacred months. Ibn Saʿd. Ǧāmiʿ. which shows how rigorously the sacred months were observed. a sacred area and the site of pilgrimages to the goddess al-ʿUzzā. and the first ten days of ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. 1273-1279. Tafsīr. “The Meaning of Nasiʾ: An interpretation of verse 9:37”. p. Sīra. 197 as šawwāl. ḏū l-qaʿda.60 The cycle of months described above is just a model for periods when pilgrimages and trading went peacefully. and that the battle prompted the cancellation of the fair at ʿUkāẓ. In the year 2/624. Ǧāmiʿ. and Historical Aspects of ḥurūb al-fijār”. Shamsi. dealt with nasīʾ on their own. Jerusalem Studies in Arabic and Islam. 64 Various interpretations of the verse are presented with detailed references by F. It is interesting that Kināna. according to several traditions of al-Ṭabarī. Consequently. p. 8 (1986). “The Sinful Wars: Religious. Tasseron. II. It is presumed that some vivid memories of the battle of Fiǧār remain in some traditions. . should be interpreted as follows:64 60 However. 143 ff. p. 63 Al-Ṭabarī. when there were attacks from the tribes who did not respect the sacred months.61 The sacred months could be postponed only in exceptional cases such as when the local situations did not allow pilgrimages to proceed peacefully. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . which has been a mystery to Muslim exegetes and modern scholars for a long time. 62 Ibn Ḥabīb. during emergencies. Ṭabaqāt. or when fights started between the tribes. 81. Say: ‘fighting in it (the sacred month) is serious. 423-427. Sulaymān.488 ioh be assumed that in the pre-Islamic period no specific days in these three months were designated for the rites of the ḥaǧǧ. 44. al-Ṭabarī. Islamic Studies. p. p.A. Muqātil b. Sulaym. The battle of Fiǧār. most of the exegetical traditions interpret “the months” in Kor 2. near the fair of ʿUkāẓ.g. Sulaymān. Kor 9. p. However. v). . See e. Taʾrīḫ. when an army sent by the prophet Muḥammad engaged in a battle during the sacred month of raǧab and killed a man of Qurayš in Naḫla. was fought between Kināna and their allies Qurayš on one hand. p. who fought Kināna. II. whose members were in charge of adjusting the calendars. Tafsīr. persecution is more serious than killing’ ” (Kor 2. p. also E. 26/2 (1987). 37. See also Muqātil b. p. were principal figures in this battle.

Berlin. Weir. four). Thus wars against pagans were not affected by the restrictions in the sacred months. al-Walīd’s invasion to the Persian territory. meaning “sanctity”.e. which occurred in šawwāl (8/630). starting with the first civil war when the third caliph ʿUṯmān was killed in a revolt during ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (35/656). it is known that after the death of Muḥammad.. G. in order to adjust the number (i. might have re-invoked the traditional concept of inviolability upon both armies. Those who have disbelieved are led astray thereby. 66 Al-Ṭabarī. p. p. They make ṣafar I profane in a leap year and make ṣafar I sacred in a common year. 2) temporary suspension of the sacred month. In fact. ḏū l-qaʿda. where ʿAlī fought with Muʿāwiya. M. which Allāh has made sacred. id. the prohibition against murder or battles during the sacred months seems to have gradually lost its force. Das arabische Reich und sein Sturz. But towards the end of the month. In the battle of Ṣiffīn. As observed in the verse “Fight the polytheists all together” (Kor 9. was withdrawn after about twenty days. Khayats. 36). Sīra. 1963. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Wellhausen. battles were fought regardless of the sacred months. many preliminary skirmishes were fought in ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (36/657). 1902. Another possibility is that the Muslims 65 Ibn Hišām. Moreover they make profane (in urgent situations) what Allāh has made sacred (e.g.G. 3273 ff. Thus Muḥammad understood the word nasīʾ in two ways: 1) insertion of the leap month (intercalation) and. e.65 Since the following month of ḏū l-qaʿda was the time when a fair was held in ʿUkāẓ. transl. 79-80. p. revealed later in the Prophet’s life. The siege of Ṭāʾif immediately after the battle of Ḥunayn.66 Al-muḥarram. but fights among Muslims certainly were. ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa). Taʾrīḫ. 872. battles were avoided because the following month fell under al-muḥarram. Beirut. Cf. the apostasy (ridda) war in the time of the first caliph Abū Bakr and the holy war (ǧihād) triggered by Ḫālid b. p. 50-51. but it is worth reviewing the relationship between the Muslims and the sacred months in early Islamic times. Although the sacred months are mentioned several times in the Qurʾān.g. The siege and execution of the Jewish tribe of Qurayza occurred during the months of ḏū l-qaʿda and ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (5/627). the withdrawal may have occurred out of consideration for pilgrims coming from a distance. fights with polytheists during the sacred months were considered legal. they are not especially significant in the present day.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 489 The nasīʾ (adjustment) is an addition of unbelief. J. Battles were suspended during that month and were resumed in ṣafar. The Arab Kingdom and Its Fall. Reimer. I. Here the sacred months were ignored. However.

see G. et sur la naissance et l’âge du prophète Mohammad”.67 Moreover after the battle of al-Ḥarra in ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (63/683). Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . p.490 ioh came to interpret the sacred month (šahr al-ḥaram. Bell & Sons. and the feasts for the Saints have also been celebrated with enthusiasm in particular regions since the Middle Ages.’” (Kor 2. 69 For a more detailed discussion on these Muslim festivals. 51 ff.70 Sprenger agrees with the use of a pure lunar calendar.69 Moreover. Taʾrīḫ. G. the month of fasting. ramaḍān. 460-470. London. von Grunebaum. it may be reasonable to assume that the prohibition of fighting even in al-muḥarram lost its meaning over the years. 37 cited above discuss exclusively the sanctity of al-muḥarram. the ʿāšūrāʾ of the Šīʿites. Muhammadan Festivals. 5/11 (1858). 217) as referring to al-muḥarram alone. Later on. is regarded by present day Muslims as the most sacred month. the Syrians laid siege to Mecca and fought against Ibn al-Zubayr in al-muḥarram. came to be observed in 10 al-muḥarram. ʿAlī’s son Ḥusayn was killed at Karbalāʾ in al-muḥarram (61/680).1 Theories The pre-Islamic calendar has been earnestly studied since the middle of the 19th century. 68 Al-Ṭabarī. In the later Islamic world. however. “They will ask you about fighting in the sacred month. 70 M. in which the first revelation of the Qurʾān is commonly believed to have come down to Muḥammad. Curzon Press. II. He attempts to identify events such as the birth date of the Prophet by reviewing astronomical events such as solar and lunar eclipses. sanctity in the religious sense came to be added to the months in the Islamic period. This assumption explains the reason why the exegetical traditions of al-Ṭabarī on Kor 9. singular form) mentioned in the verse. 109-192. 426. A typical example is the work of Effendi.E. p. Say: ‘Fighting in it is serious. who considers the calendar in those days to have been a pure lunar calendar without leap months. as well as the voluntary fast of the Sunnites. 1901.68 Given these historical facts. London. Sh. p.B. Journal Asiatique. p. Burnaby makes summary of this article in Elements of the Jewish and Muhammadan Calendars. “Mémoire sur le calendrier arabe avant l’islamisme. Effendi. The mawlid al-nabī (the birthday of the prophet Muḥammad) in rabīʿ I. In other words. while also claiming that the ḥaǧǧ 67 It is also plausible that Ḥusayn himself had chosen al-muḥarram to travel to Iraq on the assumption that it would be safe to do so. 1951 (new impression 1976). 3 Intercalation in Pre-Islamic Mecca 3.

“Fresh Observations on Perceval’s 100 Year Old Notes on the Arab Calendar before Islam”. Brill. 4/1 (1843). “Notes on the Arab Calendar before Islam”. Cf.73 Shifting of months from their usual season occurs not only in pure lunar calendars but also in lunisolar calendars if the cycle for inserting leap months is not accurate. Goitein. 71/1 (1997). “The Nasiʾ. 27/2 (1982).72 Another critical opinion about the calendar in those days is that the ḥaǧǧ originally occurred in autumn (the facts that ramaḍān means “intense heat” and that rabīʿ means “spring” are often referred to as grounds for this view). 71 Sprenger. 72 Moberg. p. Studies in Islamic History and Institutions. “The Concordance of the Hijrah and Christian Ears for the Life-Time of the Prophet”. 59. EI and EI2. Journal of Semitic Studies. Brill. 75 A. Caussin de Perceval offered a well-known theory that the pre-Islamic Arabs practiced a type of intercalation in which a leap month was introduced every three years. Caussin de Perceval. even though he does not venture into the issue of intercalation. 95 ff describes this point in full detail. Islamic Culture. 213-219. 16/1 (1968). The Muslim World. See also Wensinck. 1-18. His theory is discussed in detail in Burnaby. 44/2 (1954). its Early Development and Religious Meaning” in id. 74 U.75 Amīr ʿAlī76 and Hamidullah77 also offered theories regarding the cycle of the intercalation. Islamic Culture. in id. p.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 491 occurred around the springtime every year. Rubin. 1981. p.. 174-180. 371-376 and 447-459. “The Veracity of the Arab Pagan Calendar”. p. 41-69. Hamidullah. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . p. Nobiron. Rubin assumes that the ḥaǧǧ occurred in spring for 200 years prior to the life of Muḥammad and that Pesach and Easter were also celebrated at the same time. 342-379. “an-Nasīʾ”. p. 92-93. 77 M. 1968. Some Religious Aspects of Islam. 16/4 (1968). but that it was shifted to spring in the time of the prophet Muḥammad. “Mémoire sur le calendrier arabe avant l’islamisme”. 76 H. Cf. in his special work about nasīʾ. “The Great Pilgrimage of Muḥammad: Some Notes on Sūra IX”.. Shaikh. Leiden. S. 73 Wellhausen. recognizes the existence of leap months and also discusses the sequences of months. “Ramadan: the Muslim Month of Fasting. H. p. Amīr ʿAlī. Lazarus-Yafeh. Journal Asiatique. However he did not refer to the cycle of intercalation.74 I agree with Rubin’s view. “The First Decade in Islam”. 134-175. p. p.P. also F. n. Elements. 21. Islamic Culture. “Ḥadjdj”. 21 (1947). “The Religious Dialectics of the Ḥadjdj”. 126-138.71 Moberg. “Kalender”. Reste. transl. 135-153. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. Leiden. L. the Hijrah Calendar and the Need of Prepairing a New Concordance for the Hijrah and Gregorian Eras”. 22 (1948). p. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society. 244.R. p. p.D. a practice made possible by periodically shifting pilgrimage events to the following months based on the observation of the movement of stars (anwāʾ). above. p.

Grant. Islamic Studies. 353-369. Shamsi. p. 1923. J. Ulrico Hoepli. Milano. 354-360 also discusses Caussin de Perceval’s theory. we can surmise that it was dependent on natural phenomena and seasonal events such as the weather. G. harvesting of crops. X. Cf. State University of New York. p. 1953. Muir depends on his theory and made the date of Badr in January. follows Caetani’s position. Caetani. See “Hidjra”.M. not in September. note 53. there are arguments that such a system was actually used in the pre-Islamic period. Edinburgh. above. “Perceval’s Reconstruction of the Pre-Islamic Arab Calendar”. Āṯār.492 ioh The following is a discussion about the cycle of intercalation in the preIslamic period and how many leap months were inserted during the first 10 years of the hiǧra calendar. p. Smith. I. London. 79 Al-Bīrūnī. p. Oxford University Press. In fact. But what kinds of rules were there on how to make an intercalation? In case of the primitive lunisolar calendar. 37/3 (1998).  1-2 (note 1). p. W. Watt. The date in which certain incidents occurred should be reexamined: for example. but he insists that the date of the historical events at the time of Muḥammad should be given based on the standard correspondence. Olms. See The Life of Moḥammad. 1987. also F. leap months were inserted regularly once every three years. EI2. 1905-1926 (reprint.”79 His theory may be briefly summarized in figure 2. The basis for discussion of the cycle is the theory provided by Caussin de Perceval in the early 19th century. which still remains effective as a reference. It can be assumed that a leap month was inserted roughly every three years. and the movements of stars.78 He presents a calendar that begins with 21 November 412 in the Christian era. Ramaḍān “intense heat” fell during midsummer. L. New York. Annali dell’Islām. 214 and also The Life of Mahomet and History of Islam to the Era of the Hegira: With Introductory Chapters On the Original Sources for the Biography of Mahomet and On the Pre-Islamite History of Arabia. I. p.A. this leap month that occurs once every three years would result in approximately one day of error every year. 62 (transl. 206-209. Even if the difference between 78 W. Since it seems unlikely that the pre-Islamic Arabs possessed advanced astronomical knowledge. on the base of al-Bīrūnī’s account that the system of intercalation was introduced “200 years before the hiǧra. the hiǧra of the prophet Muḥammad may have occurred in the hot summer month of June. The History of al-Ṭabarī VII: The Foundation of the Community. p. Cf. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 1858-1861. and rabīʿ I and II fell during the springtime from January to March. Elder. Muhammad at Medina. p. 73). which is two months earlier than standard correspondence. and the ḥaǧǧ at the year-end fell in late October to early November. Oxford. However.  299-300 and 339. the time for harvesting date palms. 1972). pointing out clearly the existence of leap months. AD 624.

e. i. is compensated for by a 30-day leap month once every three years. Dec (1) al-Muḥarram Nov (12) Ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa Oct (11) Ḏū l-qaʿda Sep (10) Šawwāl Aug (9) Ramaḍān Jul (8) Šaʿbān Jun Direction of shift (2) Ṣafar Jan (3) Rabīʿ I Feb (4) Rabīʿ II Mar (5) Ǧumādā I Apr (6) Ǧumādā II May (7) Raǧab Muḥammad’s farewell pilgrimage: Wuqūf at ʿArafa 9 ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa ah 10 = 7 Mar. ad 412. a difference of 11 days a year and 33 days every three years. and the Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . ad 632 (8) Šaʿbān Nov (7) Raǧab Oct (6) Ǧumādā II Sep (5) Ǧumādā I Aug (4) Rabīʿ II Jul (3) Rabīʿ I Figure 2 Dec Jun (9) Ramaḍān Jan (10) Šawwāl Feb (11) Ḏū l-qaʿda Mar (12) Ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa Apr (1) al-Muḥarram May (2) Ṣafar Theory of Caussin de Perceval the solar calendar and lunar calendar. the first leap month was inserted on 10 November 413. As indicated in table 1.493 The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca Pre-Islamic calendar: 1st year al-muḥarram 1st = 21 Nov. The reason that ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa in 10/632 (the month of the Farewell Pilgrimage by Muḥammad) fell during the spring is that approximately 200 days of difference accumulated in 200 years (refer to figure 2). there are still three days missing. the calendar goes faster than the solar calendar by one day a year on average. Therefore. immediately after the month of pilgrimage.

628 12th Mar. 414 29th Oct. After the hiǧra calendar beginning in 622. intercalation did not occur after this year. Given the historical fact that the Prophet occupied Mecca in 8/630.494 ioh following leap months were regularly inserted immediately after the months of pilgrimage in the 4th. 418    •    • 21st Oct. 625 15th Mar. Table 1 Theory of Caussin de Perceval80 Years of the Institution of Nasīʾ Beginning of the month of al-Muḥarram Date of Pilgrimage 1 Nasīʾ 2 3 4 7 • • 21st Nov. 627 23rd Mar. 412 10th Nov. These are the points of Caussin de Perceval’s argument. leap months were inserted immediately after the months of pilgrimage in the 1/623. 623 9th Nov. 625 4th Apr. 414 18th Nov. 629 1st May 629 20th Apr. 631 9th Mar. 413 19th Apr. the commonly accepted date. leap months were formally abolished. 626 3rd Apr. 419    •    • Years of hiǧra I 211 Nasīʾ II 212 III 213 IV 214 Nasīʾ V 215 VI 216 VII 217 Nasīʾ VIII 218 IX 219 X 220 80 7th Apr. 415 15th Nov. 632 Caussin de Perceval. 413 9th Dec. 630 9th Apr. p. The hiǧra calendar begins on 19 April 622 (Monday). 413 28th Nov. p. 624 15th Apr. 627 12th Apr. 10th. 629 1st Apr. 415 19th Oct. which is a three-month difference from 16 July 622 (Friday). 623 7th May 623 26th Apr. 622 8th Apr. 4/626 and 7/629. 416 16th Oct. 624 26th Mar. 7th. “Mémoire”. 626 3rd May 626 23rd Apr. 630 20th Mar. 628 2nd Apr. 631 19th Mar. At the Farewell Pilgrimage in 10/632. 370 and 373 (transl. 13th years and so on. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 148 and 150).

Munḏir III (d. I. transl. two officers who commanded a corps formed of Syrian troops declared that they could not march with the main army against the town of Nisibius. believes that it would not be natural for the Arabs in those days to let the pilgrimage month stagger from autumn to spring over Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .B. c. 565. 626 Mon 23 May 627 Sat 11 May 628 Wed 1 May 629 Mon 20 Apr.e. occurred approximately 130 days earlier after approximately 130 years after the beginning of the calendar (AD 412). abstaining from any bellicose act whatsoever. Belisarius showed these two officers that their fears were groundless. AD 541. with an English translation by H. the ḥaǧǧ. to discuss a plan of campaign. 624 Sun 13 Jun. because they were nearing the summer solstice. 630 Fri 9 Apr. 625 Th 2 Jun. AD 554) who 81 82 Caussin de Perceval.81 Caussin de Perceval assumes that the ḥaǧǧ in Mecca was staggered to the time of summer solstice in AD 541. 152. Procopius. Amīr ʿAlī.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 495 Table 2 The hiǧra Year and the Christian Year AH Christian date of 1 Muḥarram 1 2k 3 4 5k 6 7k 8 9 10 k 11 16 Jul. 632 Sun K is a kabisa year in which one day is added to ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa (from 29 days to 30 days).82 However. Cf. 623 Tu 24 Jun. who reviewed Caussin de Perceval’s theory. 1914-1940 (reprint: 1960-1962). 631 Tu 29 Mar. W. alleging that their absence would leave Syria and Phoenicia an easy prey to the raids of the Almondar Arabs (al-Munḏir III). originally in October to November. “Mémoire”. The following report of Procopius (d. Heinemann-Harvard University Press. 401-403. p. a time when the pagan Arabs used to devote two whole months to the practice of their religion. i. London-Cambridge. p. Byzantine historian) is quoted by Caussin de Perceval as evidence of the difference (missing dates) in the calendar: At a meeting of Roman Generals convened at Dara by Belisarius. Dewing. 622 Fri 5 Jul. History of the Wars.

Wellhausen. going one step beyond the Caussin de Perceval’s theories.  have a sacred meeting-place consecrated to one of the gods.83 The pilgrimage to the proximity of Mecca was made in the spring for many years. 1968. 18-19. Fasting in the Koran. “Phoenicon” is on the northern Red Sea Coast. Cf. p. and “Taurenian mountains” are Ǧabal Ṭayyiʾ. As described above. had already been established by around AD 541. London-New York. I. Procopius’s account confirms the historical fact that the cycle of pilgrimage on the Peninsula. dispached to Ethiopia and Arabia around AD 530) also informs us “most of the Saracens. In fact. 174-180. See The Library of Photius I. but also with all the natives. even the animals are at peace both with themselves and with human beings”. In other words. 1920. According to Crone. when the sun enters Taurus. pilgrimage in summer on the side near Syria. almost to the middle of spring.H. 197 (note 127). During these meetings complete peace prevails. i. p.84 Caussin de Perceval’s theory described above is still quoted after one and a half centuries because explicit information cannot be found in the early sources about the years when leap months were inserted. Meccan Trade. “Fresh Observations”. and Wensinck. One of these meetings lasts a whole month. Greek texts]. It remains a matter of speculation whether or not the cycle in which the ḥaǧǧ fell in autumn and the month of ramaḍān in summer existed in ancient times. Taking the influence of the Babylonian calendar into consideration. p. p.496 ioh appears in this source is a king in Ḥīra in the north of the Arabian Peninsula. where they assemble twice a year. the cycle of pilgrimage at the time of the prophet Muḥammad was in spring in the Ḥiǧāz region and in summer on the side near Syria in the north. not only amongst themselves. 124. Leiden. J. Abraha’s expedition to Mecca around the middle of 6th century was likely to have been made when the ḥaǧǧ fell in the time of Easter. Brill. See Amīr ʿAlī. Leap months were accurately inserted for at least one century until the time of Muḥammad. the other lasts two months. Freese. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . he presents a theory to the effect that the differences between the solar and lunar calendars were ­reconciled 83 84 200 years. as claimed by Caussin de Perceval. Society for Promoting Christian KnowledgeMacmillan [Translations of Christian Literature. and assumes that the event at the summer solstice was to be in raǧab. Hamidullah reviews the lunisolar calendar with the insertion of leap years. Cf. so there is little contrary evidence to this theory. Series. those who live in Phoenicon as well as beyond it and the Taurenian mountains. transl. “A sacred meeting-place” described above had apparently been located in Northern Arabia. K. note 73. above. Nonnosus (Byzantine diplomat under Justinian I. Wagtendonk.e. and is held after the summer solstice. as mentioned in the previous section. Shifting of the ḥaǧǧ from autumn to spring might be explained by an inaccurate intercalary system in the ancient period older than 200 years before the hiǧra.

p. 632. It is thus impossible to replicate the hiǧra calendar accurately. therefore 21 March 622 (Sunday) is considered as the beginning of the hiǧra calendar. Sunday 6th Mar. 1 Monday 17th ramaḍān. geographic conditions and so on. 622. 622. and we have to allow for a 1-2 day drift when comparing it with the Christian calendar. since the same days of the week were used among the Jewish/Christian/Islamic calendars. However. One thing that should be pointed out is that it is impossible to compare the calendar in that period with the Christian calendar with complete precision. i. The Arabs in those days marked the start of a month by sighting the new moon and there were two 29 day months or 30 day months in a row occasionally. 1 16th Jul. it may be possible to estimate on what date major incidents happened after the hiǧra. 632. Thursday 25th May 632. 3 Saturday 8th ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. four months earlier than 16 July (Friday) in the standard calendar. 624. Astronomy nowadays is advanced enough to roughly estimate on what date the new moon could have been sighted. Friday 6th Mar. 10 Friday 24th Sep. Friday 21st Mar. Monday Uḥud Last Pilgrimage (tarwiya) Death 85 31st Mar. 11 Monday or 12nd rabīʿ I.Tuesday 18th Nov. Friday 2nd rabīʿ I. Sunday 12th rabīʿ I. Friday 7th Jun. Monday 13th Mar. if historical materials have days of the week as well as dates. 625. 623. 219. “The Concordance”. Friday 31st May 622. Table 3 Dates of the important events85 Event Date in the early sources Standard Correspondence Hamidullah’s calculation Hiǧra era begins Prophet’s Migration Badr 1st muḥarram. it is impossible to accurately estimate the exact date on which the new moon was sighted. A certain degree of care is needed when dealing with the hiǧra calendar. Hamidullah . 2 Friday 15th šawwāl. 11 Monday 28th May 632. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Nevertheless. 622.e. Sunday Cf. 632. the weather. He posits that leap years were inserted four times during the first 10 years of the hiǧra calendar.497 The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca by adding leap years eleven times every 30 years. because the observation of the new moon depends on the longitude of that area.

the Jewish calendar has been a lunisolar calendar since ancient times. p.2 The Cycle of Leap Years in the Jewish Calendar The 6th to 7th century. It is therefore impossible to analyze the calendar in this period without taking into account the Jewish intercalation system and moveable feasts in Christianity. when Muḥammad was active. The new year in 86 Amīr ʿAlī. and the names of the months closely resemble those of the Babylonian months. it is necessary to offer a brief explanation of the Jewish calendar. by the time Muḥammad started his prophetic mission in Mecca. “First Decade”. Fasting. For the convenience of the Jewish people who were far away from Jerusalem and scattered throughout various areas. 124-126.498 ioh It is assumed that the Battle of Badr occurred four months earlier than commonly believed. Hyderabad. It is strange that he significantly revised his theory in Upstream Downstream: Reconstruction of Islamic Chronology. a fixed calendar based on calculation not relying on astronomical observation was needed at an early stage. However. there is some disagreement. Hillel II established the current system in the 4th century. p. Amīr ʿAlī rightly asserts that the Arabs had 7 leap months every 19 years. 7/629 on the same cycle as the Jewish intercalation. following Amīr ʿAlī’s theory. Unlike the Christian solar calendar. 5/627. as in the Jewish calendar. It is suggestive that Hamidullah offers dates for events that fall on the same days of the week as documented in historical sources. 129-132. It is believed that this calendar was developed mainly in Babylonia in present-day Iraq. 87 Wagtendonk. According to his theory. Although the majority of the literature states that based on the calendric reform of Rabbi Yehudah HaNasi in the 2nd century. Before moving forward with this discussion. mentions that the date of the battle of Badr was 16 December 623 (three months earlier than the standard calculations).86 Wagtendonk. the problem is that there is little proof of the cycle of intercalation that he describes. was a period in which influences from Judaism and Christianity were spreading in Arabia. intercalary months were inserted after ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa in the years 2/624. I will present a revision of Amīr ʿAlī’s theory. 1977. 7). His argument suggests that the date of various events in the lifetime of the Prophet should be fundamentally corrected. 3. (Khuda Bakhsh Annual Lectures Series.87 In the following. It developed based on the Babylonian calendar. To put the answer first. a leap month was inserted on the same cycle as that of the Jewish calendar. Hence it is possible to estimate the intercalary cycle in this period accurately. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .

N. the month of Nisan in the spring was commonly considered as the start of a new year in the Jewish calendar until the 13th century. As a movable feast. It is described in the Talmud that the leader of the Sanhedrin determined when to insert a leap month by seeing how well the grain was ripening. According to the Biblical description or the discussions in the Talmud. leap months are regularly added so that the 15th day of Nisan comes after the vernal equinox. The Arabs in the preIslamic period were in the Semitic religious environment. a leap month is inserted in Adar immediately before Nisan. It is likely that not only pagans but also Jewish and Christian Arabs made visits to Mecca (Rubin. In the Jewish calendar. the ḥaǧǧ of ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa had always been celebrated in the same month as Jewish Pesach and Easter. Moznaim. related to the Exodus led by Moses.88 In a leap year. Understanding the Jewish Calendar. Bushwick. note 33. Unlike the Jewish calendar. The festival that attracts the most pilgrims is Pesach (Passover). New York-Jerusalem. the Jews in Arabia shared with the Arabs the sacred months for making pilgrimages and trading at the fairs. the Christian festival of Easter falls on the Sunday immediately after it. It is a more complicated system than common lunisolar calendars. however. 1989. 88 89 R. It is considered that this method was adopted in order to notify pilgrims coming from a long distance of whether the pilgrimage of the following year would occur 12 months later or 13 months later. In the Jewish lunisolar calendar. the full moon following the vernal equinox. Cf. “The great pilgrimage”.89 Consequently. and 6 October 3761 BC in the Christian Era is believed to be the beginning of the Creation.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 499 the current Jewish calendar begins with Tishri in autumn. the month of pilgrimage. p. a leap month was inserted immediately after ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa in the pre-Islamic calendar. in that there are 29 days or 30 days in Mar ḫeshvan (the second month) and Kislev (the third month) to prevent Hoshanah Rabbah (the seventh day of Sukkot) from falling on the Sabbath or to prevent Yom Kippur from falling on the day before or after the Sabbath. 244). By the decision of the Kinanite calendar adjuster who had advance information from the Jews concerning the Jewish intercalation cycle. seven leap months are inserted every 19 years. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . above. p. It falls on the 15th day of Nisan in the Jewish calendar. 80-81.

367 days × 19 + 29. 19th years as leap years Common year Leap year (1) Tishri 30 days (Sep-Oct • Yom Kippur) (2) Marẖeshvan 29 29 30 (3) Kislev 29 30 30 (4) Tevet 29 (5) Shevat 30 (6) Adar 29 (Feb-Mar • Purim) (7) Nisan 30 (Mar-Apr • Pesach) (8) Iyyar 29 (9) Sivan 30 (10) Tammuz 29 (11) Av 30 (12) Elul 29 Total: Table 5 353 354 355 29 29 30 29 30 30 Adar I (Leap month) 30 30 30 Adar II (Purim) 29 29 29 Total: 383 384 385 Months in the leap year The Jewish Calendar: Nisan (Pesach) → • • • • • • • Adar I → Adar II → Nisan (Pesach) The Pre-Islamic Calendar: Ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa → al-muḥarram → ṣafar I • • • • • • → ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa One of the finest accomplishments in chronology in the beginning of the 20th century is that of Burnaby. To date.939.2 hours Cycle of intercalation: 3rd.531 × 7 = 6.500 Table 4 ioh The Current Jewish Calendar 19 years in the solar calendar: 365. his work is part of the basic literature for understanding the Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .690 days Deviation between two calendars: 0.092 day = 2.598 days 19 years in the lunisolar calendar (7 leap months): 354. 11th. 8th. 6th.242 days × 19 = 6. 14th. 17th. It presents date conversions of the Jewish calendar and the hiǧra calendar based on a number of extremely sophisticated calculations.939.

around the first year of the hiǧra calendar. and it is not likely that a calendar completely identical to the current one was used in Jewish society in the 6th to 7th centuries. and other annual observances. F. Yom Kippur. Looking at the year 4386 underlined.90 However. This is earlier than the vernal equinox on 21 March. 26. 8th. Stern. In principle. 17th and 19th years). The kind of calendar used by the Jewish people in Arabia in pre-Islamic times still remains a matter of speculation. p. Calendar and Community: A History of the Jewish Calendar Second Century BCE-Tenth Century CE. It is not clear whether or not they employed the same system as the Jewish people in Babylonia or Jerusalem. 6th. Moreover there are various theories on the cycle of leap years in medieval Jewish society. Oxford University Press. 3rd. whether or not a leap month was added in a certain year. 86. The cycle of leap years is calculated in the same way as the pre­ sent (i. 2001. indicating dates in the Christian era that correspond to the 1st day of Tishri and Pesach on the 15th day of Nisan. In the Nicene Council in AD 325. 91 It must be noted that Easter can occur one month earlier or later than Pesach. since there are not any historical materials concerning the Jews in Arabia.e. it is 90 Burnaby. particularly in the early Islamic period. 14th. Easter has to come within a week after Pesach. Elements. It seems that advanced development of astronomy in medieval Muslim society significantly contributed to the sophisticated system of the current Jewish calendar. i. Cf. it must be viewed with a critical eye. presented by Burnaby. It is likely that this kind of discrepancy may have occurred those days between the Jewish and Christian calendars. the 15th day of Nisan is 18 March. However.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 501 systems of the Jewish and the hiǧra calendars and how to match them with the Christian calendar. A similar condition continues during the succeeding centuries. and in this case Pesach should have come one month earlier than Easter.  1204). it is possible to assume that precise information was shared in each region regarding the timing of Pesach. which is different from the current cycle as cited below. Oxford. 21 March was established as the vernal equinox and the Sunday after the following full moon (15th day of Nisan) as Easter. p. i. It is highly possible that they relied on observation of the new moon for deciding the beginning of each month. however.e. The current cycle was reportedly determined after the time of Maimonides (d. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Table 6 is the Jewish calendar at the beginning of the 7th century.e. Direct application of this study should be limited to cases in which the Jewish calendar and the hiǧra calendar operate under the current system.91 In reality. 11th. It is also conceivable that such information was communicated to the Kinanite calendar adjuster every year.

immediately before 20 April (Easter).23 612 Tu 4. 8th.20 9. beginning with 4371st year. the cycle of leap years in the Jewish calendar in those days is corrected to the years of 3rd.18 626 Tu 4.26 628 Th 4.15 618 Th 4. p.1 9.20 615 Th 4.31 614 Th 3.25 9.3 611 Th 3. 230 cycles: 19 × 230 = 4370 years.30 625 Tu 3.2 9.10 613 Sun 3. Cycle 231 Order of the years 1 2 3E 4 5 6E 7 8E 9 10 11 E 12 13 14 E 15 16 17 E 18 19 E Jewish year 4371 4372 4373 4374 4375 4376 4377 4378 4379 4380 4381 4382 4383 4384 4385 4386 4387 4388 4389 Tishri 1 (Christian date) Nisan 15 (Christian date) Th Mon Sat Th Tu Sat Sat Tu Mon Sat Th Tu Sat Th Th Mon Th Th Mon Sat 4. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 5th.13 629 9.30 9.502 ioh natural in this case to assume that a leap month was inserted in the year 4386 and Pesach fell on around 18 April.24 9.12 621 Th 4.20 9.22 623 Tu 4. Below is 231st cycle.5 610 D 611 C 612 A 613 G 614 F 615 E 616 C 617 B 618 A 619 G 620 E 621 D 622 C 623 B 624 G 625 F 626 E 627 D 628 B Number of days 354 355 383 355 354 385 353 384 355 355 383 354 355 385 354 353 385 354 383 (Continued) 92 Burnaby. A-G are Sunday letters. 11th.28 9.18 9.22 9.15 9.6 9. 16th and 19th.17 9. Table 6 Corresponding Jewish and Christian Dates (Burnaby)92 1 cycle contains 19 years.13 9.4 9. Elements. This is also true for the year 4375 underlined.10 624 Sat 3. Leap years are marked E.10 8.25 620 Sun 4.8 616 Sun 3.27 617 Sat 4. 302. Therefore.1 622 Tu 3.5 619 Tu 3.11 9. and it is reasonable to consider that a leap month was inserted in this year. 14th.9 8.7 627 Sat 3.

19 19 1 19 n Yr 355 354 385 353 355 384 355 16 mo Com mo 1 2 2 Y r.8 635 Th 3. 7 6 Com 10 6 7 L e a p Yr. 16 17 18 on 17 Le a m 18 18 .13 9. Yr m Co nY r. 9 8. Com mon Y r. 8 Co m . p.21 9. 2 3 5 6 3 4 4 5 Com 5 12 . 65). C o m m L e a p Y r. 52-53 (transl.18 93 m .30 9. on Y 11 Three cycles of intercalation in the Jewish calendar (al-Bīrūnī)93 C o m m o n Y r.23 631 Sat 4. 17 r. . Tu 4. 1 3 629 A 630 G 631 F 632 D 633 C 634 B 635 A Number of days om on L Y eap Nisan 15 (Christian date) .28 636 15 Com Com mon r. 11 mon 8 7 8 9 9 10 Y r. 14 13 12 Yr.503 The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca Table 6 (Continued) Cycle 232 Order of the years Jewish year 1 2 3E 4 5 6E 7 Tishri 1 (Christian date) 4390 4391 4392 4393 4394 4395 4396 Sat Th Mon Mon Th Tu Mon 9.23 9. 2 9. Yr Yr Co 9 L ap 11 10 ea p Le 13 m on Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 r.30 633 Sun 3.11 632 Tu 3. Āṯār.3 630 Sat 3. 12 93 Al-Bīrūnī. p. mm on Yr.20 634 Sat 4. p Yr 15 14 13 Figure 3 16 15 14 m o n Y r. C Lea 4 pY Y r.

6/628 and 9/631. Other evidence is offered as below. 65). 55 (transl. 8th. 5th. 3. 16th. and 19th years. In table 7. p. p. who remarks three kinds of cycles of leap months as indicated in Figure 3. There are different cycles of Jewish intercalation according to al-Bīrūnī. Amīr ʿAlī considers that the pre-Islamic leap month was set immediately after the Jewish leap month Adar.94 Correction of Burnaby’s cycles (table 6) looks reasonable as long as it is applied to this period. Amīr ʿAlī’s theory (he is also using Burnaby’s correspondence) and my revision are shown. Āṯār. based on the innermost cycle of figure 3. resulting in the Jewish Nisan always happening to come immediately after ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa in a leap year. 14th.504 ioh This assumption is confirmed by the description of al-Bīrūnī. 3/625. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . the same as the cycle corrected by the author above. 11th. Al-Bīrūnī reports that among the three cycles. They preferred it to others and attri­ buted its origin to the inhabitants of Babylonia”. The leap cycle represented in the innermost circle in Figure 3 is the 3rd. it is considered that the timing to insert leap months in the Hiǧra calendar should be immediately after ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa in 1/623. “this cycle is the most widely diffused among the Jews. Table 7 Correspondence between Jewish and pre-Islamic lunisolar calendar: Amīr ʿAlī’s theory and author’s revision ♦: Adar II  •: leap month AD 623 Jewish year Burnaby 4383 (13) 4384 (14) Jewish month Burnaby Lunisolar month Amīr ʿAlī Jewish month author’s revision Lunisolar month author’s revision 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 11 ⑫ II 1 2 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 11 ⑫ • II 1 • • (Continued) 94 Al-Bīrūnī.3 Correction of the 1st to 10th Years of the hiǧra Calendar If leap months were also inserted in the pre-Islamic period in accordance with the cycle of the Jewish calendar (and the cycle of Easter in Christianity).

505 The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca Table 7 (Continued) AD Jewish year Burnaby 624 625 626 627 628 629 630 4385 (15) 4386 (16) 4387 (17) 4388 (18) 4389 (19) 4390 (1) Jewish month Burnaby Lunisolar month Amīr ʿAlī Jewish month author’s revision Lunisolar month author’s revision 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 • • 6 ⑦ 8 11 ⑫ • III 1 • • 11 ⑫ IV 1 2 • • 11 ⑫ V1 2 • • 11 ⑫ • VI 1 • • 11 ⑫ VII 1 2 • • 11 ⑫ • VIII 1 • • 11 ⑫ IX 1 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 • • 5 6 ⑦ 8 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 • • 6 ⑦ 8 10 11 ⑫ III 1 • • 11 ⑫ • IV 1 • • 10 11 ⑫ V1 • • 10 11 ⑫ VI 1 • • 11 ⑫ • VII 1 • • 10 11 ⑫ VIII 1 • • 11 ⑫ IX 1 (Continued) Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .

Mecca was occupied in 8/630 and the ḥaǧǧ in the following 9/631 was made in ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa led by Abū Bakr. and he sent ʿAlī b. Declaration of nasīʾ by the Kinānite calendar adjuster was abolished. The cycle of 12 months a year has been observed until today. Taʾrīḫ. Those who have disbelieved are led astray thereby . Al-Ṭabarī. 36). making their own arrangements in the rites. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . p. and it resulted in an advance of one month. 1721 relates that he sent ʿAlī b.506 ioh Table 7 (Continued) AD 631 632 Jewish year Burnaby 4391 (2) 4392 (3) Jewish month Burnaby Lunisolar month Amīr ʿAlī Jewish month author’s revision Lunisolar month author’s revision 9 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 2 • • 11 ⑫ X1 2 • • 11 ⑫ XI 1 2 9 • • 6 ⑦ 8 9 • • 6 ♦ ⑦ 8 2 • • 11 ⑫ X1 2 • • 11 ⑫ XI 1 2 The problem is the leap month in 9/631.95 Although the polytheists participated in the ḥaǧǧ.” (Kor 9.” (Kor 9. several verses of Sūrat al-Barāʿa (Kor 9) were revealed to Muḥammad. on the day of sacrifice. . I. p. 37) was declared by ʿAlī at that time. 919-922. Abī Ṭālib with thirty or forty verses of Barāʿ and ʿAlī read them on the day of ʿArafa. their participation in the pilgrimage was prohibited in the following year. and a pure lunar calendar was established. . . . It is clear that the revelation of the Qurʾān relating to nasīʾ. A leap month that should have been originally inserted at that year’s ḥaǧǧ was abolished. Sīra. “the number of the months with Allāh is twelve . 95 Ibn Hišām. “nasīʾ is an addition of unbelief. After Abū Bakr departed for Mecca. Abī Ṭālib to read them to the pilgrims at Minā taking the place of the calendar adjuster.

What should be noted in table 8 is that the hiǧra calendar is shifted to the left. using recent advancements in astronomy (refer to table 9). note 45. Maġāzī. The new moon can normally be observed in 1-2 days with the naked eye. p. there is a three-month shift to the left as a whole.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 507 The hiǧra calendar of table 8 indicates the dates of the Farewell Pilgrimage of Muḥammad in 10/632. Muḥammad’s statement at the Farewell Pilgrimage. above. this is because insertion of a leap month was discontinued at the time of the ḥaǧǧ in the previous year 9/631. as a result of three intercalations. 3 and 6. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . III. Goldstine shows the dates of the new moon (the period when the bright side of the moon is turned away from the earth and cannot be observed) and the full moon that have been calculated with a computer. There is a one-month difference between ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa in the hiǧra calendar and Nisan in the Jewish calendar. As mentioned above. In table 10. The Farewell Pilgrimage is one month earlier than the date of Pesach and Easter. 96 Al-Wāqidī. “Indeed. 1089 and 1101. even though it was originally in the cycle of intercalation. and the day of tarwiya (8 ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa) falls on Friday. 25 ḏū l-qaʿda falls on Saturday.96 which is consistent with table 8. time has circulated as on the day when Allāh created the heavens and the earth”97 certainly indicates this situation. 97 Cf. Table 8 also indicates that the hiǧra calendar used today is the result of precise calculation like the Jewish calendar. If leap months were inserted three times during the first 10 years of the hiǧra calendar in AH 1. According to Wāqidī. it would be necessary to review the correspondence between the hiǧra calendar and the Christian calendar during this period.

Christian – hiǧra correspondence is based on the table used at current days. Christian – Jewish correspondence is based on Burnaby cited above.g. Garnet.98 AH10 in the hiǧra calendar is in kabisa year (ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa has 30 days). G. 1995. 18. e.Correspondence between Christian. Reading. The Islamic and Christian Calendars: AD 622-2222 (AH1-1650).. and hiǧra calendar.S. being same day in Christian. p.P. Table 8 508 ioh Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . Farewell Pilgrimage Ḏū l-qaʿda Ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa al-Muḥarram 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 * Hiǧra calendar ah 10‒11 Nisan Adar I Adar II 25 26 27 28 29 30 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 Pesach * Jewish calendar am 4392 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 The vernal equinox Goldstine: : newmoon : fullmoon February * Christian calendar ad 632 Dates in ⸋ are Sunday. Jewish. Jewish. and hiǧra calendars March April 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 Easter 98 See. Freeman-Grenville.

if not hindered by rain or clouds.16 3.18 4. sunset in Babylon is approximately 40 minutes earlier than in Medina around the time of the winter solstice.28  0:41 10:35 18:57  2:33 10:24 19:40 2. According to Goldstine. 622 in both Babylon and Medina. to A.100 However.27 2. The lunar cycle was approximately the same at the time of sunset on April 17. 99 H. 136-137.24 east) occurred at 19:07 on 16 April 622 (refer to table 9).H. Philadelphia.30 6. By comparison. by deducting 89 days from 16 July (Friday) of the original date of the hiǧra calendar. however it is about the same time around the summer solstice. assuming that two out of three leap months have 30 days and one has 29 days. 1973.509 The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca Table 9 New moon and full moon in AD622 and AD632 (Goldstine)99 AD622 Number New moons Date Time Full moons Date Time 20062 20063 20064 20065 20066 20067 1.1 5.3 4. 2013 was 18:34 in Babylon and 18:45 in Medina.11 3.16 6.14 15:35  9:16  2:52 19:07  9:23 21:43 2.10 6. New and Full Moons: 1001 B.e.24  9:43  0:06 15:10  6:30 21:46 The beginning of the calendar should be corrected to 18 April 622 (Sunday). 1651. p.25 5. the new moon at Babylon in Iraq (at latitude 32.D.16 5.17 2. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .26 4. 100 When Babylon is compared with Medina.C.1 5.33 north and longitude 44. sunset on 17 April.12 4. the beginning of the 18th). Goldstine. American Philosophical Society. It was therefore possible to see the new moon at sunset on the 17th (i.10 5.8 23:46 10:54 19:35  2:46  9:35 AD632 20186 20187 20188 20189 20190 1.26 3.2 3. it is impossible to confirm whether the Arabs actually observed the new moon on this day.

Correction of the hiǧra calendar with 3 leap months ah 2 ah 4 plus 89 days 18 April 622 ad (Sunday) ① ②③ ④ ⑤ ⑥ ⑦ ⑧ ⑨ ⑩ ⑪ ⑫ ① ② ③ ④ ⑤ • • ⑦ ⑧ ⑨ ⑩ ⑪ ⑫ ① ② ③④ • ① ② ③ ④⑤⑥⑦ ⑧ ⑨ ⑩ ⑪ ⑫ ① ② ③ ④ ⑤ • • ⑦ ⑧⑨ ⑩ ⑪ ⑫ ①② ③ ④ • ah 1 16 July 622 ad (Friday) Farewell Pilgrimage ↑ • ⑩⑪⑫ ① ②③④ ⑤ ⑥⑦⑧ ⑨⑩ ⑪ ⑫ • ⑩⑪⑫ ① ②③④ ⑤ ⑥⑦⑧ ⑨⑩ ⑪ ⑫ ah 10 abolition of intercalation ↑ • ⑦ ⑧ ⑨ ⑩⑪⑫①② ③ ④ • • ⑦⑧ ⑨ ⑩ ⑪⑫ ①② ③④ • ah 7 Above: pure lunar calendar. 3/625. Below: calendar with three leap months (immediately after ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa of 1/623. • is leap month). 6/628. Table 10 510 ioh Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .

103 Ibn Hišām. p. there might be views which prefer mid-September as the date of the hiǧra (Muḥammad’s arrival in Medina) to the end of June. “Ramadan”. with 30 days of muḥarram and 29 days of ṣafar. They were hot days. have been at the end of January or the beginning of February. Then our shadow disappeared and we entered the house. 378 (transl. Muḥammad’s arrival does not have to coincide exactly with Yom Kippur. I.The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 511 Ibn Isḥāq and al-Ṭabarī report that the date when Muḥammad arrived in Medina in the hiǧra (migration) is 12 rabīʿ I (Monday). “Mémoire”. 333. Sīra. This event should have happened around the summer solstice when the sun comes right above one’s head in Medina. p. After the morning prayer we would go out to the lava plain to wait for him. then. 102 Caussin de Perceval. It is reported in the several traditions that when Muḥammad arrived in Medina. Among the modern scholars. p. See also al-Ṭabarī. Sīra. and ordered the fasting for Muslims as well (cf. p. The date of Uḥud should. The day of Yom Kippur (10 Tishri) in AD 622 is calculated in 20 September in the correspondence of Burnaby (table 6). Muhammed in Medina. p. Taʾrīḫ. if the first date of the hiǧra calendar is 18 April 622 (Sunday) with 30 days in al-muḥarram and ṣafar. immediately before the battle. this day falls on 28 June 622 (Monday). the day of hiǧra by Muḥammad. Medina is located on latitude 24°28′N. p. and then we entered the house. This is further suggested by the fact that. We stayed there until the sun put out our shade. “Mémoire”.104 101 Ibn Hišām. falls on September 24 (Friday). I. 333-34. and the tropic of Cancer is 23° 27′N. and this date is consistent with the description in historical sources. the Day of Atonement). However. 1393. I. 104 Al-Wāqidī. thus. 1242 and 1256. table 3). but. Maġāzī. 152) states that it coincides with the first days in July.102 It is a hot day in the midsummer. we sat waiting for him as usual.101 If the hiǧra calendar begins with 16 July (Friday) as is commonly accepted. Goitein. After that he arrived. p. 378 (transl. 17 assumes that this event must be in January or February because the barley Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . 126) maintains. the Meccan army reaped the unripe green barley (qaṣīl) around Medina as forage for their camels and horses. 152). Ibn Isḥāq reports:103 We heard about departure of the Messenger of God from Mecca and then expected his arrival eagerly. p. 95-96). p. Taʾrīḫ. cited in Caussin de Perceval. p. 12 rabīʿ I. The day when the Messenger of God arrived. he saw the Jewish fasting of ʿāšūrāʾ (Yom Kippur. as Wagtendonk (Fasting. al-Ṭabarī. As mentioned above. p. Wellhausen. p. 207. this is inconsistent with the historical sources that place this event on a Monday. Both the dates of Badr (ramaḍān 2) and Uḥud (šawwāl 3) must have occurred two months earlier than the standard correspondence (cf.

J. However it is also true that the number of accounts recorded in the early sources. Cambridge. 1463) or in ḏū l-qaʿda (al-Wāqidī. Burckhardt. They occasionally declared suspension of the sacred months. II. Ouseley. III. p.L. p. citing Burckhardt. 444). p. as were any other idols in the of Medina was usually reaped in March. ed. and consequently Jewish Nisan always corresponded to ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. the memory of the calendar adjusters’ functions had disappeared among the Muslims. Preparing for the battle. in those cases when the fairs and the religious rites couldn’t be held safely. . The Kaʿba in Mecca was designated as the house of Allāh. it might be possible that the harvest occurred at such an early time. and the sacred months guaranteed that these interchanges would be safe. [. al-Ṭabarī. including traditional tribal polytheism and the monotheism of Judaism and Christianity. the Muslims had already collected the crops a month before (al-Wāqidī. W. However some difficulty inevitably accompanies explicit reconstruction of a historical date due to a number of factors. “its harvest is in the middle of March. The role of the calendar adjusters. Taʾrīḫ. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 . They introduced the Jewish intercalary system. Already in the early Islamic period. The Life of Mahomet. II. was of particular importance. Cambridge University Press. Sīra. II. Travels in Arabia. different religions held various kinds of rites and feasts. Maġāzī. .] After harvest. p. The raid of al-Ḫandaq took place in šawwāl AH 5 (Ibn Hišām. 1829 (reprint. including discrepancies in the reported date provided by the sources. also Muir. p. not limited to 9th and 10th days of the month. Mecca and surrounding area accepted all sorts of beliefs. thus the historical materials describing the pre-Islamic calendar are very confusing. Considering that a leap month was inserted at the end of AH 3 (šawwāl AH 5 begins around on 24 January 627). 440). Conclusion In the pre-Islamic period. London. and all idols in it were destroyed. 209-210 remarks regarding the barley of Medina. At the spring pilgrimage in ḏū l-ḥiǧǧa. 2010). the fields are left fallow till the next year”. Cf. The prophet Muḥammad established a new Islamic order that brought about great changes in Arab society. who inserted a leap month to keep the lunisolar calendar accurate. 668 and 682. 156. pilgrimages and trade took place in specific seasons in various areas in Arabia. p. Interchanges of people and goods in these areas kept peace and order among the Arab tribes. Henry Colburn. Maġāzī. I.512 ioh The theory that the beginning of the hiǧra calendar must be three months earlier than commonly believed might cause various inconveniences when events relating to Muḥammad are discussed. as well as the verses of the Qurʾān help us to rediscover the hidden facts regarding those days.

The traditional lunisolar calendar with intercalation was abolished. Muḥammad avoided Jewish and Christian influences in the calendar and made the Islamic ḥaǧǧ a universal rite not limited to a certain season. all lost their roles. soothsayers. The praise once afforded to tribal poets was transferred to readers of the Qurʾān. diviners. The social classes. The object of pilgrimages was limited to Mecca and the surrounding area. and a pure lunar calendar without leap months was established. and calendar adjusters. such as guardians of the shrines. Arabica 61 (2014) 471-513 .The Calendar in Pre-Islamic Mecca 513 Arabian peninsula.