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The Hijra refers to the moment when the Prophet Muhammad along with his companions left Makkah for the city of Medina. Driven from their homes by the status quo of Makkah, the Prophet Muhammad found in Medinah a welcoming people united by the Message. The newfound community founded by the Prophet is primarily based on solidarity and encourages each individual to view their neighbour as a sibling and to never leave the poor and the less fortunate to their fate.

This historic event is thus commemorated as a very special day when the Muslim community was born and the Islamic year began.

Hijri New Year 2023 calendar and dates

Hijri New Year will be expected to fall on the evening of 19 July 2023. As always, dates may vary and are subject to change depending on the lunar movement and sightings.

Hijri New Year 2023 public holiday

So far, no announcement has been made about this year’s Hijri New Year in UAE.

How is the Islamic New Year date decided?

A year in the Hijri or Islamic calendar involves 12 months and spans over nearly 354 days. So, when compared with the Gregorian calendar that follows the revolution of the Earth around the Sun, the Islamic Year falls short by 10 – 11 days. Naturally, the date for the Hijri New Year shifts from year to year and doesn’t sync with the Gregorian calendar.

The sunset ushers in a new day and hence a new year. Most Islamic institutes herald the first sighting of the crescent of the new moon as the start of the new year. Exceptions to this practice include several Islamic organizations and countries such as Saudi Arabia who rely on astronomical calculations to determine the date from beforehand. Accordingly, there are differences in the Hijri new year dates from one place to another.

 

How is the Hijri New Year Celebrated?

Festivals are a way of life to celebrate our culture, glorify their religious origins, and rejoice in the traditions. While some are celebrated with great zeal and merriment in memory of the splendorous past, others are meant for reflections and remembrance of the grim bygone days.

The Islamic New Year or the Hijri or Arabic New Year is one such commemoration that falls in the latter category. It is the start of the Hijri year with the month of Muharram according to the Islamic Lunar calendar. The epoch of the Islamic era is marked by the year of the flight – Hijra or Hegira, dated as 622 CE (Common Era). It is when Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam, migrated from Mecca to Medina with his disciples to evade a conspired prosecution.

Muharram is one of the four holy months of the Islamic calendar (Rajab, Dhul-Qa’dah, and Dhu’l-Hijjah are the others), standing as the second most venerated month to Ramadan. The tenth day of this first month in the Islamic calendar is the Day of Ashura or the mourning day. Followers of Islam fast, offer prayers, and pledge not to fight during this time of the year as hostility is forbidden.

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