The prime minister and his entourage would have experienced for themselves in Oslo, what a friend from Norway is facing in observing Ramadan's obligatory fasts. He says that the fast lasts for over 21 hours as the sun sets there around 11:10 p.m. and the Sehri is over by 1:15 a.m. leaving him a little over 2 hours to break his fast, offer Maghrib, Isha and Taraveeh prayers and hurriedly partake whatever little Sehri he can. By that time, he can already hear the Fajar azaan.  

This has propelled me into some serious thinking. Could such a lopsided affair happen in Islam – the perfect deen? A deen which is the best and universal, that could be practiced easily and effortlessly by everyone  in ANY part of the world. A deen which is the final and the ultimate till the day of the Judgement - Qiamat!  A deen which has been COMPLETED and would not need any additions/subtractions from it. There is something amiss somewhere! It is either Tauba Naoozobillah in Islam or in the way we are practicing it.  Now it is part of our faith that nothing could be wrong in Islam for the Allah (swt) has Himself proclaimed in the Qura’n that He has completed our deen for us. And anything complete is complete in all respects, PERIOD. So, we have to look for the flaw in the way we are practicing Islam. It is here that something could be lagging somewhere in some respect. Let’s, therefore, examine it a little albeit dispassionately, unemotionally, unbiasedly, logically, rationally, maturely and, of course, knowledgeably.

When would be the day and the night equal in Norway or for that matter around the world?  Even a kindergartener knows that – on the equinoxes. That is around 21st March and 23rd September. When does the sun complete its apparent path of the Zodiac circle of twelve 30° divisions and re-enters Aries (Burj e Hamal)  to start its next year’s celestial journey? On the Spring Equinox, that is around 21st March.  What is Eid ul Fitr?  The Eid day after Ramazan or the 1st of Shawwal.  What is Yom al Fitr?  The day the Fatir us Smawat wal Ard (Almighty Allah SWT) created the skies and the earth.  Now would not the Yom ul Fitr – the first day that the Creator (SWT) created the skies and the earth be perfect, and perfectly balanced? With the day and the night being (almost) equal, with the weather at its best and the most pleasant – no scorching heat or freezing cold, with the flowers and the fresh buds blooming in their best colours, with the animals and the earth once again coming to life. What could be a more suitable period to fast for a month than that - from around February 20 to around March 20th, depending upon the appearance of the moon?

Now, please, I am fully aware of the taqwa, sabr, bardasht, imtehaan, but for Heaven’s sake, what kind of imtehaan is it for a poor labourer eking out his livelihood on the basis of daily wages, to toil outdoors and observe a fast for 16 to 17 hours? And that, too, in the scorching heat of Multan, Bahawalpur, Siraiki belt, Mithi Thar, Nia Chor, Umer Kot,  Sibi, Jacobabad - just to name a few places in Pakistan, let alone the Libyan Sahara and the Arabian deserts?  He will simply die of heat exhaustion.  And his family and children will also die if he doesn’t bring home some money in the evening for their food and survival. Surely, Islam doesn’t want that to happen.

Then what is the answer? With all humbleness and due respects to the highly exalted Ulema, kindly allow me to say that our present Hijri Calendar - which is purely Lunar in nature - was not the calendar in use during the lifetime of the Rasoolullah (SAW) when the fasting, Hajj and other Islamic Farz o Nawafal were ordained. It was Sun e Ibrahimi which was in vogue then and the Sun e Ibrahimi was a Luni-Solar calendar. According to that calendar the month of Ramadan did fall before the Spring Equinox, and the water did freeze during the months of Jamadi ul Awwal and Jamadi us Sani as the names of these month signify.

Could our highly learned scholars and the Islamic Ideological Council  please research in to just one matter,  that is,  what calendar was in use during the lifetime of the Rasoolullah (SAW) and even before?  Was it a purely Lunar Calendar or was it a Luni-Solar Calendar? 

Incidentally, the Jews are even today following the same Luni-Solar calendar called Hebcal  and which is 5776 years old in 2015-2016 AD. And their religious events (Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, Sukkot etc.) like the religious events of ALL other major religions of the world (Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Parsis, Zoroastrians, Bodhs, Confucius’ etc.) fall exactly on the same day of the year, year after year even today.  Then why don’t our Islamic sacred days fall on the same day of the year?