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Posted On: 17 June 2018 09:00 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:18 pm

What is the Islamic Calendar?

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Today is the third day of Eid-al-Fitr in Qatar, and for those of you who are wondering why the Islamic months, especially Ramadan when people are fasting from sunrise to sunset, are either 29 or 30 days, you are at the right place.

When it all began

The Islamic calendar began when the The Holy Prophet, Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) emigrated (did ‘Hijrah’) from Makkah to Madinah so he could spread the message of Islamic more freely than he could in Makkah. It is believed that date was 20 September, 622, according to the Gregorian calendar.

How it works

The annual Islamic calendar is made up of 12 months, just like the Gregorian calendar which is the calendar that is normally followed all over the world. The Gregorian calendar is solar. However, the Islamic calendar which is followed by Muslims is lunar and is based on the sighting of the new moon, or crescent moon, the night before the new month (it is important that the new moon be visually sighted). If the new moon is sighted on the 29th night of the month, the folowing day will be the 1st day of the next month, and if it not sighted, then that month will complete 30 days after which the next month will start. This is why the Islamic calendar moves 11 days back every year.

What the months are

The 12 Islamic months are:

1 - Muharram
2 - Safar
3 - 1st Rabi`
4 - 2nd Rabi`
5 - 1st Jamadi
6 - 2nd Jamad
7 - Rajabi
8 - Sha`ban
9 - Ramadan (fasting month)
10 - Shawwal
11 - Dhul-Qu`da
12 - Dhul-Hijja (annual pilgrimage month-Hajj)

Isn’t it fascinating how the Islamic ‘Hijrah’ calendar is different from the Gregorian calendar? Do let us know what you think in our comments section