I got an email from a friend, wishing me New Year, couple of days before. I was surprised, if my friend is mad as it’s October, then I opened the image and got to know that it was start of Islamic year. I hurried to my Facebook and updated a status, wishing all, a Happy New Islamic Lunar Year, a storm of wishes started coming towards me and then I came across some messages from Pakistan where friends made me to realize that new year has not started yet.
I checked in Google and saw that it will start on the evening of 24th October 2014 . So Hijri new year has started in Middle East but seems Pakistan is behind and surprisingly this time the gap is of two days.
So now we are in new Islamic year 1436 AH.
Islamic lunar calendar starts with crescent moon sighting. Crescent moon may appear one or two days later the new moon, poor weather can delay the sighting. The AH – “Anno Hegirae” which is Latin or you can simply say “After Hijrah” The meaning of hijrah–emigration. The word Hijri is taken from Arabic language.
Hijri Calendar first started with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) from (Mecca to Medina ) Makkah towards north, 270 miles to Madinah in 622 AD. Prophet Muhammad migrated towards Medina to establish a place where he, with his companions can practice the laws of Islam without any problem.
First month of Islamic calendar is Muharram, and Islamic year has 354 days in 12 months.The month of Muharram has special importance for Muslims but the 10thday has it’s own significance. Many Muslims fast on 9th, 10thor 10th, 11th of Mahram to mark Ashura, this day marks the death anniversary of Hussain Ibn-e-Ali, grandson of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) who was beheaded during the battle in Karbala that is now in Iraq. The fasting on these days is not obligatory. With the start of Muharam you can listen about the importance of days in Islamic history from the surrounding Masjids if you are living in any Muslim country. In their speeches, scholars and clerics emphasize the importance of first 10 days of Muharam. These days are considered as the days of mourning and peace. Islam forbade Muslims to fight in four months throughout the year and this is first month in which fight is forbidden. This is a month of non-violence.
Sunni and Shia sects in Islam mark these days in different ways. Shia’s celebrate whole month of Muharram as a month of mourning and flagellate themselves with knifes, rods , chains, strike their chest and backs and cry. Sunni Muslims celebrate it to mark victory of Prophet Mosses over Pharaohs of Egypt.
Many Islamic organizations organize conferences and seminars to highlight the importance of historical event in this particular month, many television channels broad cast special transmission and lectures are delivered by scholars marking the martyrdom of Harzrat Hussain on 10th of Muharram. In few countries of the Muslim world there is holiday on 10th of Muharram.
Astronomical calculations are used to find future dates in many countries of the world and some get them by the glimpse of the crescent moon. The calendar that is used in Saudi Arabia is called Umm al Qura, it is also followed by few other Middle East countries. Muslims from around the world follow same festivals on different dates in Muslim countries. But many countries just follow Saudi Arabia to follow Ramadan and Eid festivals. In Pakistan the people of province , Khyber Pakhtoon Kawa (KPK) start fasting with Saudi Arabia and also celebrate Eid with it but rest of country start Ramadan and celebrate Eid by actual sighting of moon. That normally appears with the difference of one or two days. For the first time, in my life, Eid –al-Adha, 2014 was celebrated in Pakistan with the gap of two days, from Saudi Arabia. Muslims have only two Islamic holidays throughout the year and they are on festivals of Eid-al-Fitar and Eid-al-Adha.
Expected first day of new Islamic year in 2015 is Thursday, October 15.
You can check a post of Washington times for 1436 and importance. Celebration of Muslim new year is a cultural tradition , not the religious one. This celebration is much different from the Georgian New year celebration, it is actually so quiet. People mostly pray during the day and repent for their sins of last year and ask for forgiveness from God. This year 1436 started on Friday that is marked as an important day of the week.
Islamic calendar is mostly followed to check the dates for Islamic festivals and holidays. So I would like to say a Happy New Year to all Muslims around the world and my friends who follow Georgian calendar, I wish you in advance. I wish this year will bring prosperity and success for whole world and we will rise up, forget about differences and start living peacefully. May this year bring abundance of blessings and may God shower us with Taqwa ( fear of God).
Thank you Ahsan Rafique for a beautiful picture of Masjid-e-Nabwi Madinah Manawara , Saudi Arabia.
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