Shab-e-Mairaaj & Shab-e-Qadr: Different dates in lunar calendar

Q593 :Lunar dates do not tally in different countries. This results in confusion over such important occasions as the night of power and the one on which we celebrate the Prophet's night journey. As Muslims are keen to mark the night of power, and since it is one night a year, how could it be timed when the month starts on different days in different countries?


A593 : May I first of all clarify a small point about the Prophet's night journey [Shab-e-Mairaaj]. This took place, as far as can be determined, on the night of the 27th Rajab in the 10th year of the start of Islamic revelation; that is, three years before the start of the Islamic calendar. That night, the Prophet was taken by the chief of angels, Gabriel, from Makkah to Jerusalem, where he met earlier prophets and they joined him in a prayer, which he led. He was then raised to heaven and returned to Makkah before the break of day. Although this was an important event for the Prophet, as it came shortly after the death of his wife and his uncle, the two people who provided him with comfort and support when he faced the determined opposition by his people to his call. Nevertheless, we do not mark the night with any social type of worship because this has not been ordered or recommended by the Prophet. As you realize, in our worship, we must strictly follow the Prophet's teachings. He was the most dedicated and devoted servant of Allah. If he did not do a particular thing as part of his worship, we do not do it. We only follow his footsteps. It is true that different countries start Ramadan on different dates, with a difference of one day in most cases and extending to two days in certain instances. The fact is that there should be no more than one day difference in starting any lunar month. As for the night of power, Allah mentions in the Qur'an that it is better than 1000 months. The Prophet has encouraged us to mark it with devotion, recitation of the Qur'an, prayer, supplication and glorification of Allah. Every prayer addressed to Allah on that night is answered. Therefore, Muslims are keen to observe this night every year, with as much devotion as possible. The Prophet, however, has not given us a specific date for it, but told us to seek it on the odd nights of the last third of the month of Ramadan. This means that it could be the 21st, 23rd, 25th, 27th or 29th night of Ramadan. This applies regardless of the differences in starting the month of Ramadan. Every country counts according to its own start of the month. If it was only one night for the whole world, then it would be an odd night of the month in one country and an even night in another. This will be contrary to what the Prophet has told us. It may be asked, then, whether there can be two nights of power. The answer is that for every Muslim there is one night of power every year, which happens to be on one of the odd nights of the month of Ramadan. He counts on the basis of his country's calendar. This is the appropriate criterion to apply, since mistakes in starting the month can be made. Take for example the case when the moon cannot be sighted because of an overcast sky, yet the moon has been born. In this case, the Muslims of that area are required to complete the month of Sha'ban, which precedes Ramadan, to 30 days and start Ramadan on the following day. Had the sky been clear, they would have started a day earlier. But the night of power falls, as far as they are concerned on the odd nights according to their start of the month, even though they may realize their mistake at the end and maybe required to fast in compensation later. In such a matter we should not forget that we are dealing with Allah. He rewards us according to our intentions.


Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )