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Why do we count the age of Islam from the beginning of the Hijrah and not from the beginning of the revelation and the call?

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I hope insha allah this question reaches u in good health.

My question is I have noticed when a non muslim asks

about the age Islam after prophet hood we as Muslims

answer only with the years after Hijrah, my question is

why do we always leave out the first 13 years of prophet

hood before Hijrah. I know the year of Hijrah was a great

year yet we all know that prophet hood started 13 years

before this so when answering why don’t we mention this

like now we are 1433 AH yet when answering why don’t

we say Islam after prophet hood is 1446 adding the 13

years before the period. insha allah you can explain why

we don’t add the first 13 years into our answer.


Praise be to Allah.

No doubt the years that the Prophet (blessings and peace of

Allah be upon him) spent in Makkah before the Hijrah

(migration to Madinah), when he was calling people to the

path of his Lord, enduring persecution and patiently putting

up with the annoyance and accusations of the foolish, could

is part of the age of Islam; indeed they are among the

greatest years of Islam because during this time the Prophet

(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was relying

completely upon his Lord, thinking positively of Him, and

patiently bearing persecution for His sake.


This is something that no wise person would doubt and no

one would deny it at all, whether he is Muslim or


But the reason why the people adopted the Hijri calendar as

a means of defining the year in which a particular event took

place, which is something that people need to do, is that this

date is the one that the Sahaabah unanimously agreed to

take as the beginning of their calendar. This decision was

made at the time of ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be

pleased with him), because it is the actual date of the

founding of the Islamic state, when the Prophet (blessings

and peace of Allah be upon him) and migrated and settled

in Madinah, and the people gathered around him and

supported him, and he built the mosque, and other events

that followed the Hijrah. So the features of the Islamic state

began to develop and it took on a clear form geographically,

socially, militarily and politically. Before that the Muslims

did not have a state or any political system to unite them.

The Sahaabah (may Allah be pleased with them) reached a

unanimous decision in 16 AH – or, it was said, 17 AH or 18

AH – during ‘Umar’s caliphate, to make the Islamic calendar

begin with the year in which the Hijrah occurred. That was

because a case was referred to Ameer al-Mu’mineen ‘Umar

(may Allah be pleased with him) concerning a contract that

one man had with another, saying that what he owed him

became due in Sha‘baan.


‘Umar said; Which Sha‘baan? The Sha‘baan of this year we

are in now or of last year or of next year? Then he

summoned the Sahaabah and consulted them about

adopting a calendar from which they could determine when

debts became due and the like.

Someone suggested adopting the Persian calendar, but he

did not like that. Someone else suggested adopting the

Byzantine calendar, but he did not like that. Others

suggested dating it from the birth of the Messenger of Allah

(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), or from the

beginning of his mission, or from his migration (Hijrah) or

from his death.

‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) was inclined to

choose the date of the Hijrah because it is known when it

occurred, and they agreed with him.

The point is that they made the beginning of the Islamic

calendar the year of the Hijrah, and they made the first

month of the Islamic year Muharram, as was narrated from

them. This is the view of the majority of imams, so that

people could conduct their business on that basis, with no


See: al-Bidaayah wa’n-Nihaayah, 3/251-253

Al-Bukhaari narrated in his Saheeh (3934) that Sahl ibn Sa‘d

said: They did not start the calendar from the beginning of


the Prophet’s mission or from his death; they only started it

from the time of his arrival in Madinah.

Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

The incidents that are connected to the life of the Prophet

(blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) and that could

have been taken as the start of the calendar are four: his

birth, the start of his mission, his migration (Hijrah) and his

death. They thought it was best to start the calendar from

the Hijrah, because in the case of his birth and the start of his

mission, there would be uncertainty with regard to the exact

year. As for the time of his death, they chose not to use it

because remembering it would renew their grief. So there

was no choice left except the Hijrah. And they chose to

regard Muharram as the first month of the year rather than

Rabee‘ al-Awwal because the plan to migrate started to take

shape in Muharram. The oath of allegiance (bay‘ah) – that

was the precursor to the Hijrah – had taken place during

Dhu’l-Hijjah, and the first new moon after the oath of

allegiance and the decision to migrate was that of

Muharram. So it was appropriate to make it the first month

of the year. This is the best explanation I have come across as

to why the year starts with Muharram.

Al-Haakim narrated that Sa‘eed ibn al-Musayyab said:

‘Umar assembled the people and asked them what the first

day of the calendar should be. ‘Ali said: (It should start)

from the day when the Messenger of Allah (blessings and


peace of Allah be upon him) migrated and left the land of

shirk. So ‘Umar did that. End quote.

The one who says that the age of Islam started with the

Hijrah is referring to the calendar and what the people

agreed upon of creating a system so that people could know

the dates of events and define the times of contracts, the

dates of visits by delegations, and the like. This is something

on which the people agreed during the caliphate of ‘Umar

(may Allah be pleased with him) and it has remained so up

until the present day. The start of this calendar marks, as

‘Umar intended, the establishment of the (Islamic) state,

which only began with the Hijrah.

As for the beginning of Islam itself and people’s awareness

of it, we do not need to point out that this took place before

that time. Indeed the meaning of the word Islam in general

includes the religion that Allah approved for His slaves and

with which He sent His Prophets and Messengers. But this is

not what we are discussing here.

We do not believe that anyone could imagine that Islam only

began with the Hijrah and ignore the years of da‘wah during

which the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon

him) and those who were with him in Makkah strove to

establish the faith. No one would say this.

And Allah knows best.

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