A year ago .... 1431
From the east, was a panoramic view of twilight after dawn of the first day of the Hijrah 1431. The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar with the first month being the month of Muharram and the twelve month being Zulhujjah. Each month contains between 28 (very rare) and 30 days. The lunar calendar is shorter than the solar calendar by 10-11 days a year. This means that every 33 years, the lunar calendar will be one year more than the solar calendar. Another words, a person having the age of 33 solar year is actually 34 years old according the lunar calendar.
Now .... 1432
This photograph was taken from the same spot. The foreground has been transformed as new buldings are bulit and the plants have growns to some heights. Today, the sun was not shining brightly as a year ago, but the sun still rise from the east, alhamdulillah (all praise be to Allah). For, when the sun rises from the west, it will be one of the signs of end of the universe (day of qiamah).
The Muslim calender was established during the administration of second caliph in the Islamic history. The year in which the hijrah (migration) of the prophet sallallahu_alaihi_wasallam from Makkah to medina had taken place, was chosen to first year of the modern Islamic calender. The choice of the year of hijrah of the prophet sallallahu_alaihi_wasallam as the start of the Islamic calender serves a reminder that hijrah is the start for a new beginning for the better.
The significance of using lunar calender as Islamic calender can be felt from the experience of accomplishing the five pillars of Islam. For example, during the month of Ramadhan (the 9th month of Islamic calender)a Muslim has to abstain himself/herself from taking food and drink from the time before twilight until the time after sunset. Supossing that Ramadhan was fixed to coninside with July, those people living in the nothern hemisphere have to fast for 13 to 18 hours depending on the latitude. But this does not happen because the lunar year has only 354 of 355 days whereas the solar year has 365 or 366 (leap year) days. That is to say Ramadhan will move ahead by 10 or 11 days in each of the solar year. Thus, in 3 solar years, Ramadhan will coinside with June, and in 6 years, it will coinside with May. Hence, the fasting hours can be 6-10 hours at some point of someone's life and at another point it can be 13-18 hours. The change in the lenth of fasting hours is designed to be fair to everyone, no matter where they live.