The Islamic Hijri Calendar


The Hijri calendar is the Islamic dating system, deriving its name from the Hijra, the Arabic word for migration, referring to the migration of the prophet Muhammad(SWT) from Mecca to Yathrib (Medina) in the Arabian peninsula in 622 A.D. thus marking the first year in the Islamic calendar. The first day of the Islamic calendar, 1 Muharram, 1 A.H.(Anno Hijrae) is Friday July 16, 622 A.D.

The Islamic Hijri calendar is purely lunar i.e. it depends on the moon's cycle around earth. it has twelve lunar months ;this was mentioned by the great prophet(SWT) in his last Pilgrimage at Ghadir-Khumm: "A year is twelve months, as at the time of Creation".

Also in the Holy Quran, Sura IX, verse 36 reads: "Verily twelve months is the number of the months with Allah, according to Allah's Book, ever since the day when He created Heavens and Earth." Since the average length of a lunar month is 29.53058 (solar) days, the hijri year will contain 29-days-long or 30-days-long months.

The total length of the Hijri year will be 354 days moving back 11 days for each solar year with a leap day accumulating about every three years. This means that the lunar cycle will repeat itself every 33 years. i.e the new moon falls in about the same time in the solar year that it occurred in 33 years before.

Before Islam, the Arabs used to add a leap month to the lunar year every three years in order to stay in sync with the solar cycle.

The Islamic months are:
3.Rabii' I
4.Rabii' II
5.Jumada I
6.Jumada II
11.Dhu al-Qa'ada
12.Dhu al-Hijja

The Islamic month begins when the crescent is seen by the naked eye at sunset, so the day in this calendar starts from sunset to sunset of the following day. This has been always the rule which has been based on the prophet Muhammad's(SWT) saying: [start fasting when seeing it(crescent) and end fasting when you see it - soomo li-roa'yatihi wa aftiroo li-roa'yatihi]

The Islamic calendar started being used at the time of the second Caliph Omar in the seventeenth year after Hijra (638 A.D.), when he ordered Muslims to start it from the beginning of the month of Muharram preceding the date of the Hijra by two months, which corresponds to Friday July 16, 622 A.D.

The five dates in the Western calendar that are stretched across the page for each year (each line) below correspond to the following five sacred moments in the Muslim year:

(A.H. = Anno Hejri, In the Year of the Hegira (Muhammad's migration/exodus from Mecca).

Muharram (Islamic New Year); Mawlid an-Nabi (Muhammad'sBirthday); Ramadan begins; Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan ends); Eid al-Adha (Festival of Sacrifice)

A.H. 1426, Feb. 10, 2005; April 21, 2005; Oct. 5, 2005; Nov. 4, 2005; Jan. 10, 2006.
A.H. 1427, Jan. 31, 2006; April 11, 2006; Sept. 24, 2006; Oct. 24, 2006; Dec. 31, 2006.
A.H. 1428, Jan. 20, 2007; March 31, 2007; Sept. 13, 2007; Oct. 13, 2007; Dec. 20, 2007

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