Ramadan Mubarak and L’Shana Tov [updated]

For us, Nizari Ismailis, the night of October 4, 2005, was the first night of Ramadan. This holy month for Muslims coincides with Rosh Hoshana.

Over at City of Brass, he’s talking about something called the Tent of Abraham. Sounds interesting. Check it out.

Also, the Bohras (official website), or Mustalian Ismailis, like the Nizari Ismailis, do not rely on moon sighting, but on astronomical calculation. I was always under the impression that we shared our calculated calendar from the Fatimid period, but since they started a day earlier, there must a divergence somewhen. Anybody know when and/or why?

Update: Official website of the Dawoodi Bohras linked as Aziz suggested in comments. Also, did some research on the calendar (and conferred with a Bohra friend who did her PhD at Harvard and is now at Chicago) and was reminded that the Nizari calendar was further elaborated on by Nasir ad-Din Tusi during the post-Fatimid era. So, while there is a great deal of agreement between the Mustali and Nizari calendars, there are occasional – although not persistent – differences. Of course, what we haven’t figured out is why the Sulaymani Bohras (another Mustali group) always seem to agree with the Nizari calendar.

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8 thoughts on “Ramadan Mubarak and L’Shana Tov [updated]

  1. salaam fellow yankee ๐Ÿ™‚
    I havent been to your blog in a while – are these new digs? looks nice ๐Ÿ™‚
    we do indeed share teh same Fatimid calendar- our communities are both heirs to their traditions, after all. I doubt there is a divergence, at least not a consistent one. Does your community use atsronomical calculation for the start dates of all other months, and just extends the month of Shaban until the moon is sighted? Do drop me an email and we can continue this discussion in detail.
    mind if I ask you a favor? the hyperlink to the word Bohras points to my post, but that isnt the best source of info for someone curious about who Bohras are. If you could change it to http://www.mumineen.org instead that would be better. Let me know what official website on your community exists that I can point to – I plan on including al ink to this blog in my next brass rescent links roundup, and want to make sure my link to Nizari is the right one. Best to makie sure that other muslims visiting our blogs get the most accurate information possible about our communities, rather than just formulate an impression from our individual posts.

  2. Aziz,
    For good information on Nizari Ismailis, I would send people to two sites:

    The Aga Khan Development Network
    The Institute for Ismaili Studies

    I am a regular visitor to some Bohra discussion forums which are mostly India based. Unfortunately, there seems to be a lot of insults and derogatory comments between some members of the Bohra community and the Nizari community in India. I chalk it up to sibling rivalry, but it is still a shame.

  3. I chalk it up to bored youths. Nothing more. You shoudl never take anything on the Internet personally ๐Ÿ™‚ Not when the Aga Khan and the Syedna have such warm relations.

  4. Shahr Ramadhan Mubarak!
    As for when it begins, Allahu Alim, right? In the end, I don’t ruffle my feathers much over it anymore, and think God accepts it based on our intentions more than anything…

  5. Hi guys,
    I’m a mathematician who is interested in calendar issues. In particular, I have a web page on the Islamic calendar at
    I think I can help you a bit with your questions, and I hope that you guys can help me further.
    1. The question is how to distribute the 11 leap years. The standard rule, which I believe the Nizaris follow, is to add leap years in 2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21, 24, 26, 29. However, I believe that the Bohras replace 7 by 8, 18 by 19 and 26 by 27. That means that in 3 years out of 30, the Bohras would be one day ahead of the Nizaris. Does that agree with your experience?
    2. My understanding is that the Bohras and the Nizaris are the only Muslim groups who use an arithmetical calendar. Do you know of any other?
    3. Do you guys think that it is reasonable to say that there are about 1 million Bohras and 15 millions Nizaris?
    Helmer Aslaksen
    Department of Mathematics
    National University of Singapore

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