RELIGION: HAPPY ISLAMIC 1439 NEW YEAR: When Is Muharram 2017, What Time Does It Start, Why Do The Dates Change And How Do Muslims Mark Islamic New Year?

RELIGION: HAPPY ISLAMIC 1439 NEW YEAR: When Is Muharram 2017, What Time Does It Start, Why Do The Dates Change And How Do Muslims Mark Islamic New Year?

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Almanac: Islamic New Year 2017

Also called Al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year is the first day of Muharram, which is the first month in the Islamic lunar calendar.

Various countries, Islamic denominations, and groups have different ways of determining the start of the New Year, so the date may vary with location. Traditionally, the Islamic New Year begins with the first sighting of the waxing crescent Moon (called a hilal) just after it is new in the month of Muharram. The new Moon itself is invisible; the crescent Moon may be visible a day or so afterward, but weather and other factors may delay the sighting. Some followers rely on local sighting of the crescent Moon, while others rely on global sighting criteria.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) goes by the recommendations of their affiliate, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA), which does not rely on the actual sighting of the new Moon to determine the start of the new year. Instead, they follow astronomical calculations based on the rules that 1) the Moon in Makkah (Mecca) must be born (become new) before sunset and 2) the Moon in Makkah must set after sunset.


Below are the sundown dates for the Islamic New Year (First of Muharram) according to the FCNAProbable new crescent visibility in North America may be a day or so later.

Year First day of the Islamic New Year
according to astronomical calculations (FCNA/ISNA)
2017 Wednesday, September 20, at sundown
2018 Monday, September 10, at sundown
2019 Friday, August 30, at sundown
*NOTE: Our products are published for the United States and Canada; our reference source for the above dates is the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA). Other countries, as well as certain denominations and groups within North America, may not use the same method to determine the date of Islamic New Year.

Islamic New Year Crescent MoonImage: Almanac

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The Sun: MUHARRAM kicks off the start of the year in the Islamic calendar

The date of the religious festival is different each year, here’s how it is decided.

Millions of Muslims around the world will be observing the holy festivity. Here’s everything you need to know about it…

What is Muharram?

In the Islamic calendar, Muharram is considered to be the second most sacred month, following Ramadan.

The Quran states that Allah marked this time as a holy period.

It takes its name from the word for “forbidden”.

Observers take Muharram as the first month of their year, which is different from the Georgian calendar.

When does Muharram take place?

The date of Muharram changes each year as the time of the festivity is decided by lunar movements.

This means the religious observance can change by around 11 days every year.

According to astronomical calculations, it will star on September 21.

Muharram continues for 28 days, so will draw to a close on October 19.

How do Muslims mark Islamic New Year?

Sunni and Shia Muslims have different traditions linked to Muharram.

Followers of Ali, or Shia Muslims, commemorate the grandson of Muhammad.

The period has a historical significance, as it marks the date Hussein ibn Ali was martyred.

During this solemn time, they refrain from taking part in joyous events.

Sunni Muslims fast on the 10th day of Muharram, as this is marked in religious scriptures.

This is to pay respects to the rescue of the people of Israel by Moses from the Pharaoh.

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