Wednesday, 14 November 2012

Islamic New Year

Happy Islamic New Year!
For those who are unaware, tonight marks the beginning of a new Islamic year.

Unlike the traditional Gregorian/Western calendar (with 365 days per year), the Islamic calendar is determined purely by lunar cycles. In Layman's terms, this means that an Islamic year generally comprises of around 354 days - though, obviously, it does alternate from time-to-time.

This date is also used to commemorate the 'Hijra' - also known as 'The Migration of Muhammad' - for when, in the year of 622 (if we're using a Gregorian calendar), the Islamic prophet Muhammad, along with his followers, made the 320-kilometre journey from Mecca to Medina after an assassination attempt against him became known.

In fact, it was the Hijra that was officially designated as the first year of the Islamic calendar by one of Muhammad's companions, Farooq the Great, in the year of 638 or 17 AH (anno hegirae = "in the year of the hijra").

Although most nations worldwide - regardless of their Muslim populations - utilise the Gregorian calendar, the hijra-lunar calendar is the official calendar used in Saudi Arabia.

Here in Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are some street banners which have been erected to celebrate the occasion, however, in all truth, it is not such a momentous date for the majority of citizens.

Nonetheless, for those of you wondering, tonight will be the beginning of the year 1434 AH by Islamic calculations.

A big happy new year to all of those who celebrate this date!

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