Islamic / Hijri calendar
Islamic calendar is also known as the Hijri calendar and is the calendar used by Muslims all over the world to date all their important events. The calendar is all based on the Holy Book of Muslims, Quran, and following it is considered to be a sacred duty of all Muslims. The calendar is based on 12 lunar months and in terms of days; its one year will be a few days shorter than a typical tropical year. Almost all Muslim countries follow this calendar but some also refer to Gregorian calendar for official purposes.
Relevant to the Islamic calendar are the Islamic events and festivals which Muslims celebrate and show utmost respect to. Most of the holidays or events that are found in an Islamic year are usually related to the life of Holy Prophet P.b.u.h and the days founded by him. Compared to the English calendar, Islamic holidays are few but still they all hold a great importance in a Muslim’s life and are precious for them all. These events are celebrated by Muslims everywhere, irrespective of which area of the world they are in. Celebrating these festivals is a must for them and they do it all whole heartedly, not just out of duty.
List of Muslim Holidays 2017 – 2018
|Holidays||Hijri Date||Gregorian Date|
|Islamic New Year||1st Muharram||2nd October|
|Ashura||10 Muharram||11th October|
|Arbaeen/Chehlom||20/21 Safar||20th November|
|Mawlid an-Nabi||12 Rabi al Awwal||11th December|
|Lailat al Miraj (Shabe e Meraj)||27 Rajab||24th April 2017|
|Laylat al-Baraat (shab e Barat)||15 Shaban||11th May 2017|
|First day of Ramadan||1 Ramadan||27th May 2017|
|Laylat al-Qadr||19/21/23/25/27/29 Ramadan||In Between 14 – 24 June 2017|
|Chaand Raat||29/30 Ramadan||24th June 2017|
|Eid al-Fitr||1 Shawwal||25th June 2017|
|Hajj||8-13 Dhu al-Hijjah||30th Aug. – 4th Sept. 2017|
|Day of Arafah||9 Dhu al-Hijjah||31st August 2017|
|Eid al-Adha||10 Dhu al-Hijjah||1st September 2017|
|Eid al-Ghadeer||18 Dhu al-Hijjah||9th September 2017|
Sighting of the moon
The starting date of every month is decided with the first sighting of a lunar crescent. The sighting becomes difficult at times due to factors like weather, clouds or even the location of the observer. Due to this particular reason, unlike Gregorian calendar, the next year’s calendar can never be set beforehand. Every year date changes with passing month. Still, just for planning purposes, estimates can be made to print a calendar in advance. The real dates then may vary with difference of 2-3 days. The whole process of lunar crescent sighting and marking the start of the month is not done by the general public, it is handled by authorities or organizations that are specifically assigned this particular job. The responsibility then all resides on their shoulders to assure the correct announcements.
Why is it called the “Hijri” calendar?
The reason why it is called the Hijri calendar is also because it started right from when Muhammad (p.b.u.h) migrated to Medina. But, even though it started from the migration it is still moving ahead of the Christian years just because its duration is a little shorter than a Christian year. Another thing which differentiates the Christian calendar from Islamic calendar is that it doesn’t always fall in line with the seasons. Christian calendar will have all seasons come in the same calendar months but Islamic calendar has no such sure associations, it moves in accordance with the sightings of the moon only.
Many people might wonder that why didn’t the Islamic calendar start with the plenty of Islamic wars or with the start of the revelations or even the birth of Prophet (p.b.u.h) but from the migration. The reason is because migration marked the sacrifice of Muslims for the sacred cause of Truth. Unlike New Year celebrations all over the world, Muslims don’t ‘celebrate’ the start of Islamic calendar but reflect on the actual events that took place in those months. For instance, the year begins with the month of Muharram in which the sacrifice of Imam Hussain (grandson of Prophet P.b.u.h) is remembered that took place on the land of Karbala.
Islamic Holidays In Detail
This is the first month of Islamic year and is celebrated quietly with prayers. Ashura, which marks the 10th of Muharram, is a holiday observed in all Muslim countries. It is the day of sacrifice of Imam Hussain and in addition to this also commemorates the day when Noah left the ark and when Moses was saved by Allah. Many people also observe a fast as a voluntary act of worship and out of respect. This month, particularly for the Shia sect of Muslims holds greatest importance. They spend this whole month mourning over the great loss in Islamic history and do other gestures too which all are done in that mourning. It is, therefore, not considered ethical to listen to songs or carry out any other form of entertainment in this particular month, mostly the first 10 days.
Mawlid-al-Nabi (birth of Prophet P.B.U.H)
This is the 12th day of the month Rabi-ul-Awwal and celebrates the birth of the beloved Prophet P.B.U.H. This day is really precious for all Muslims because Prophet P.b.u.h holds an important place in all of their hearts and they all have great respect for him. The day of his arrival in this world is then obviously very much sacred to them all. The Wahabi sect, however, doesn’t celebrate this day compared to res of the Muslims because of personal reasons.
In addition to being a month of Islamic calendar, this month also marks the start of a Muslim act of worship and one of their pillars of Islam too; fasting. In this month, Muslims from all over the world unite over this single act of worship in which they fast from dawn till sunset and abstain from all sorts of food, water and evil doings. This month is celebrated the whole month with delicious feasts and sharing with the poor, but holidays aren’t observed as normal routine work is carried out along with keeping fasts. Nonetheless, it is an awaited time of the year and every Muslim greets it with warmth and excitement. Fasting is a beautiful act of worship that is respected by even non-Muslims all over the world.
This is probably the most awaited festival by all Muslims. It is celebrated right after the last day of Ramadan. Due to this reason, it is also known as the festival of breaking the fast. On this day, people dress up in their new clothes and clean their homes to make it all new and fresh. Delicious foods are cooked and people go to each other’s homes for lunch and dinners. There is a sense of festivity where everyone greets their fellow Muslim brothers and sisters with love. The prayers of this day are specially offered in the mosque and then rest of the day begins.
This is also among the two most important events of the Islamic calendar and takes place in the month of Zil Hajj. This day is observed on the 10th of this month and commemorates Prophet Abraham’s obedience to Allah for sacrificing his son (who later was replaced with a lamb). This occurs at the end days of the annual Muslim pilgrimage to Makah. Muslims, however, all over the world celebrate it even those who are not performing the hajj at that point in time. The festival is celebrated in a way that a lamb or nay other (halal) animal is sacrificed and the meat of it is distributed amongst poor, needy and close relatives. It is also one of the five pillars of Islam; therefore people show obedience to it and celebrate it with complete generosity.
These are the main festivals/events of Muslims which are celebrated all over the world and in accordance with the Islamic calendar. Other than these there are other events too but that are not celebrated by all Muslims because the issue of sects come in that. Those events are namely shab-e-barat and shab-e-miraj. People have mixed views regarding these, some say that these events did not take place as they are not mentioned in the Quran while some strongly believe in these and therefore on these two nights they worship throughout and ask for forgiveness.
The holidays on these events depend on the government of that country. For instance, if it is a Muslim country then respective holidays will be given but if it is a non Muslim country then it all depends on the governing body of that country. If due to some reason bank holiday isn’t given, but despite that the event will be respected. For instance, in UK, hundreds of Muslims celebrate Eid peacefully by going to mosques, offering prayers and meeting their loved ones. The working men will be allowed paid annual leaves from their offices and this gives them a chance to celebrate the festival with their friends and family. Non Muslims living in that area will show respect to their tradition and culture and try to be as helpful and friendly as possible.
Not just UK, but in many other Non-Muslim countries, all such festivals are respected and allowed to be celebrated peacefully. People who are living abroad may not follow the Islamic calendar in their day to day lives due to official reasons but they keep check of it throughout the year for such important events and holy festivals. This is what binds the Muslims from all over the world and that is the unity observed on events like these. No matter what the differences are, every Muslim will show utmost love to fellow Muslims on all such celebrated events and this is what holds the community together.