Saturday, January 01, 2011

Islamic New Year and Calendar...

Many of my "Non-Muslim" friends ask me do I celebrate New Years [and many other non-Islamic holidays], and my answer is... No, but I am aware of it [them] and I spend it with family.

Muslims Only Celebrate two "holidays"... [The two Eids].

I wanted to take some time to explain about the Islamic New Year and The Islamic Calendar:
The Islamic New Year [Arabic: رأس السنة الهجرية Ras as-Sana al-Hijreya] is the day that marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year, and is the day on which the year count is incremented. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar.

Since the Islamic year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian year, the Islamic new year does not come on the same day of the Gregorian calendar every year.The New Year is began after sighting the crescent moon.
The Islamic calendar or Muslim calendar or Hijri calendar [Arabic: التقويم الهجري; at-taqwīm al-hijrī] is a lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to date events in many Muslim countries [concurrently with the Gregorian calendar], and used by Muslims everywhere to determine the proper day on which to celebrate Islamic holy days and festivals. The first year was the year during which the emigration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Madinah, known as the Hijrah, occurred. Each numbered year is designated either H for Hijrah or AH for the Latin anno Hegirae [in the year of the Hijrah]. A limited number of years before Hijrah [BH] are used to date events related to Islam, such as the birth of Muhammad in 53 BH. The current Islamic year is 1432 AH, from approximately 7 December 2010 [evening] to 26 November 2011 [evening].

Being a purely lunar calendar, it is not synchronized with the seasons. With an annual drift of 11 or 12 days, the seasonal relation repeats about every 33 Islamic years.
The Islamic months are named as follows:
  1. Muarram محرّم [or Muarram al aram]
  2. afar صفر [or afar al Muzaffar]
  3. Rabīʿ al-Awwal ربيع الأوّل   [Rabīʿ I)]
  4. Rabīʿ al-Thānī  ربيع الآخر أو ربيع الثاني [or Rabīʿ al-Ākhir) (Rabīʿ II]
  5. Jumādā al-Ūlā جمادى الأولى  [Jumādā I]
  6. Jumādā al-Thānī جمادى الآخرة أو جمادى الثانية [or Jumādā al-Ākhirah) (Jumādā II]
  7. Rajab رجب [or Rajab al-Murājab]
  8. Shaʿbān شعبان [or Shaʿbān al-Muʿaẓẓam]
  9. Ramaḍhān رمضان [or Ramaān al-Mubārak]
  10. Shawwāl شوّال [or Shawwāl al-Mukarram]
  11. Dhū al-Qaʿda ذو القعدة [or Dhū al-Qiʿda]
  12. Dhū al-Ḥijja ذو الحجة [or Dhū al-Ḥajja]
Of all the months in the Islamic calendar, Ramadhan is the most venerated. Muslims are required to abstain from eating, drinking any liquid, sexual intercourse and all bad habits during the daylight hours [from sunrise to sunset] of this month.

To Muslims, the Hijri calendar is more than a sentimental system of time reckoning, and dating important religious events. It has a much deeper religious and historical significance in the Muslim life. The advent of the 15th Islamic century is indeed, a unique occasion to ponder that the Islamic Era did not start with the victories of Islamic wars, nor with the birth or death of the Prophet Muhammad, nor with the Revelation itself. It starts with Hijrah, or the sacrifice for the cause of Truth and for the preservation of the Revelation (and Religion). It was a divinely inspired selection. Allah wanted to teach Man that the struggle between Truth and Evil is eternal. The Islamic year reminds Muslims not of the pomp and glory of Islam but of its sacrifice, and prepares them to do the same. All the events of Islamic history, especially those that took place during the life of the Prophet Muhammad, and afterwards are quoted in the Hijri calendar era. But calculations in the Gregorian calendar keep people away from those events and happenings, which are pregnant of admonitory lessons and guiding instructions.

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