Also known as Hijri New Year, this holiday begins on the first day of
Muharram in the lunar Islamic calendar. The Western calendar year 2017
is roughly equivalent to 1438-39 A.H. on the Islamic calendar.
New Year commemorates the
emigration of the prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 A.D.,
known as the "Hijra."
Muharram also marks the anniversary of the historical battle of
Karbala, when the grandson of Muhammad (Imam Hussein ibn Ali) was
As the Muslim calendar is based on the lunar cycle, the start
end dates of each month are usually determined by an official sighting
of the new moon.
In 1439, the Islamic New Year will begin on Thursday, September 21 or
Friday, September 22 with the sighting of the new moon at sunset.
Islamic nations declare public
holidays on one or more of the days surrounding the Islamd New Year.
The word Muharram means “forbidden”, and many
during this period. It is a time for
self-reflection and historical
Prayers and fasting build up towards the tenth day of Muharram, known
as Ashura, when the battle at Karbala is remembered. Mourning
congregations sometimes gather to express grief, with Shia Muslims
commonly practicing chest beating, known as the Latyma, and sometimes
self-flagellation and the cutting of their foreheads.
Sunni Muslims regard Ashura as a day of respect and gratitude for the