Saudi Arabia abandons Islamic calendar to adopt Gregorian calendar

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has presented its transition from the Islamic calendar to the Gregorian calendar.

En April, Prince Salman chose to call his transformation plan, Vision 2030, and no Vision 1451. The Prince's cabinet recently confirmed this direction by stating that the administration will now adopt the solar calendar instead of the lunar calendar. The calendar will therefore be based on the birth of Jesus Christ and no longer on the arrival of the Prophet Muhammad in Medina.

The decision taken during a cabinet session recently chaired by King Salman Bin Abdul Aziz, is in fact an austerity measure aimed at dealing with the budget deficit, linked to the fall in crude oil prices since 2014, and which hit the world's largest oil exporter hard. This measure, which entered into force in October, aims to save money by reducing the number of days of annual leave for employees. The administration also hopes to bring its officials into line with most countries around the world.

This news has offended many Wahhabi Muslims, who seek to scrupulously follow the actions and teachings of the Prophet. The adoption of the Gregorian calendar constitutes for them a "slippery slope", some having even asked provocatively if they were henceforth bound to follow Jesus.

Saudi Arabia is not the only country to follow an old calendar. In Iran, we are in 1395, in Kurdistan in 2628, and in Israel in 5776.

Writing

source: Economist

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