How to convert a solar date to a lunar date

Written by michael j. cahill
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How to convert a solar date to a lunar date
The Islamic calendar, unlike the common Gregorian calendar, is based on lunar cycles rather than solar cycles. (lunar eclipse image by UBE from Fotolia.com)

In the Islamic calendar, the year is tracked by the lunar cycle, meaning each month starts on the day of the new moon. This method of time keeping makes the Islamic calendar a lunar one. The standard Gregorian calendar, in use in much of the world, is a type of solar calendar that keeps track of time through Earth's position relative to the sun. The Islamic calendar is still in use in some parts of the world, so it can be helpful to know how to convert dates between the two calendars.

Skill level:
Moderate

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Subtract 622 from the Gregorian year. For example if the year in question was 1980 it would be: 1980 subtracted by 622, which equals 1358

  2. 2

    Multiply the result by 1.03. So in the example, 1358 multiplied by 1.03 would be 1399 (rounded to the nearest whole number).

  3. 3

    Check the result, which should be the rough equivalent of the Islamic year from the Gregorian year. So 1980 in the Gregorian calendar is roughly about 1399 in the Islamic calendar.

  1. 1

    Take the Islamic year and multiply it by 0.97. So for example if the year in question was 1400 then it would be 1400 multiplied by 0.97, which equals 1358.

  2. 2

    Add 622 to the result. So following the previous example, 1358 plus 622 equals 1980.

  3. 3

    Check the result, which should be the rough equivalent of the lunar year from the Gregorian year. So the year 1400 in the Islamic calendar is roughly equal to the year 1980 in the Gregorian calendar.

Tips and warnings

  • Note that even though the numbers in these two examples are the same, the converted year comes out differently in each. These formulas should only be used for a rough approximation of the year in question.
  • For an exact conversion check out one of the online converters listed in the Resources section.

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