Islamic calendar years are called Ras as-Sanah (رأس السنة) al-Hijriyah or Hijri (هِجْرَة) in Arabic. First day of the Islamic calendar year marks the new year of the Hijri year. Islamic calendar years are of 354 days and consist 12 months. Islamic year is generally designated by H (Hijri) or AH (anno Hegirae, Latin word that means “in the year of the Hijra”).
When is the Islamic New Year 2014?
Islamic New Year 2014 will be celebrated on the 25th of October 2014. Islamic New Year 2014 begins in the evening of firday, the 24th or October.
The exact date of the Islamic New Year may differ one day depending on the sighting of the first crescent. Muharram is the first month of Hijri and the 1st day of the month of Muharram (Islamic month) is the beginning of Islamic New Year. Muharram is the first month of the Hijri year.
History of Islamic year
Counting Hijri years was first introduced by the second Caliph of Islam Umar ibn Al-Khattab (RA) in 638 AD (17 AH) during his leadership. The starting reference point of the Hijri year is the Hijrah. After an extensive discussion and consultation between Caliph Umar (RA) and his advisors, it was decided that the starting of the Islamic year should be the Hijrah, which is the migration of Prophet Muhammad (SA) from Makkah to Madinah in 622 AD. The first day of the Hijri year the day Prophet Muhammad (SM) arrived Madinah form Makkah after his Hijrah. The 1st Muharram of 1 AH corresponds the Gregorian date July 16, 622.
Hijrah is a very important and significant happening in Islamic history and so in the world history. Prophet Muhammad (SM) initiated a migration with his followers on 622 AD upon the divine direction of the Almighty Allah. The migration or the journey Muhammad (SM) took because he was warned about a plot to assassinate him. To avoid the assassination against him, he made the Hijrah along with his followers and Kaliph Abu Bakr (RA). During Hijrah, Muhammad (SM) left his home in Makkah at night, hidden himself in the Cave of Saur for three days, passed several days on the way and finally arrived at Madinah. The people of Madinah cordially welcomed Muhammad (SM), gave him support and extended all the cooperation to the Prophet to preach Islam. This journey was in fact the beginning of the Islamic era and a turning point of establishing Islamic community.
Uses of Islamic calendar
The Islamic calendar is the official calendar in many Muslim countries, especially Saudi Arabia. The Islamic calendar is presently utilized mainly for religious purposes and for official dating of occasions and festivals in Muslim nations. Most of the Muslim countries follow this calendar to determine the dates of the important Islamic events such as Muharram, Ramadan, Eid al Fitr, Hajj, Eid al Adha and others. The starting of the Islamic months depends on the sighting of the moon and thus the festivals and event dates are determined. This method is followed by most of the Muslim countries for official dating of important Islamic days.
Observance of Islamic New Year
Muslims do not traditionally celebrate the beginning of an Islamic new year. However, some Muslims do fasting for several days in this month. Since Muharram is a significant month for the Muslims, people usually offer special prayer, distribute food to the poor and do other Ibadat (worship) in this month of Islamic New Year.