The Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. Its year either has 354 or 355 days. In the Quran, Mohammed banned the use of intercalary months.[1, p.27] The calendar counts its years from the year when Mohammed fled from Mecca to Medina (622 CE). This year count is known as anno hegirae (AH).[1, p.28]

There are 12 months in the Islamic calendar that contain either 29 or 30 days each. Since a lunar month is about 29.5 days, two lunar months is about 59 days. The Islamic calendar handles this by alternating the number of days in a month between 30 and 29. Their names and the number of days they contain are as follows:[2, p.14], [3, p.101]
Ramadan (30)/ Ramadin
Shawwal (29)/ Shawall
Dhu’l-Qa’da (30)/ Dulkaada
Dhu’l-Hijjah (29)/ Dulheggia
Muharram (30)/ Muharran
Safar (29)/ Saphar
Rabi’ I (30)/ Rabia I
Rabi’ II (29)/ Rabia II
Jumada I (30)/ Jomada I
Jumada II (29)/ Jomada II
Rajab (30)/ Rajab
Sha’ban (29)/ Shaaban

This calendar begins its year on the first day of Muharram. The Islamic calendar falls 11 days behind solar calendar every solar year.[2, p.15] This means that it falls behind by about 1 complete solar year approximately every 33.2 years. Alternatively it falls behind by about a decade every 332 years. The number 1,399 is obtained by subtracting 622 from 2021. This number divided by 33.2 is 42.1385, which when added to 1,399 equals about 1441.

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[1] – Mondschein, Ken, and Neal Stephenson. On Time: a History of Western Timekeeping. Johns Hopkins University Press, 2020.

[2] – Hannah, Robert. Greek and Roman Calendars: Constructions of Time in the Classical World. Illustrated, Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2005.

[3] – James Cecil Macdonald. “Chronologies and Calendars” (London, 1897).

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