Dr. and engineer Ahmed Abd-al-Qader, a professor at King Saud University, has expounded a different view regarding the end of the 2nd millenium and beginning of the 3rd, one which he believes will reverberate throughout the entire scientific world. He explained, in Al-Massaiah newspaper, that his finding came after reading an article in November 16th regarding the issue as to whether the year 2000 represents the beginning of the 21st century or the end of the 20th. His answer: The end of the 20th century, or the second millenium, rather than the beginning of a new one. He said that the 3rd millenium does not actually begin until January 1, 2001, and that he has found everyone from scholars to scientists to the general public mistakenly referring to 2000 as the beginning of a new millenium. He said that even the Saudi Telecommunication Company's website, which disseminates information to its agents and partners, has made this error. He attributes the mistake to calculation. He explained that a decade should be counted from one to 10, with 10 representing the end of a decade, not the beginning of a new one. Thus, 20 is the end of the second decade and 2000 is the end of the second millenium. Furthermore, Prof. Abd-al Qader said that despite common perception, year 2000 carries no mystical significance. The only importance of the date itself is in terms of technology and the so-called Y2K bug. And in this aspect, he said the kingdom has prepared itself and does not expect any major problems. A special committee including government agencies and the university has been formed to handle the Y2K issue. Regardless of whether 2000 is the beginning or end of a millenium, Prof. Abd-al Qader said it has no bearing on the Muslim people whose calendar is based on the Hijra. The Hijra, which occurred in 622, is a critical event in the history of Islam when the Prophet Muhammad and his earliest followers left Mecca and traveled to Medina. The professor said that Islam chose to base its calendar on an event that had importance for the entire community, namely the spread of the world of the new religion, rather than the birth or death of one person.
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