Saudi Arabia announces first day of Muharram

Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic new year, or the Hijri new year.

Riyadh: The moon-sighting committee of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) announced that the first day of Muharram 1443 AH (Anno Hegirae in Latin or “in the year of the Hijra”) will be on Tuesday, August 10, 2021.

According to the Ummul Qura calendar (Hijri calendar), Monday, August 9, 2021 is the first day of Muharram 1443.

The committee said the crescent moon, which marks the beginning of the new Islamic year-1443 AH, has not been seen in Saudi Arabia on Sunday evening.

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Accordingly, Monday, August 9, 2021, will be the last of the Islamic year- 1442 AH and the 30th day of Zul-Hijjah.

Muharram marks the beginning of the Islamic new year or the Hijri new year.

The Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri calendar, is a lunar calendar consisting of twelve months beginning with Muharram, and ending with Zul-Hijjah. Each month starts with the sighting of the moon.

The calendar has been observed for more than 1,440 years and is used to date important Islamic events including the start of Ramadan, Eid-ul-Fitr, and the beginning of the Hajj.

When did the calendar begin?

The new Hijri year begins with the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions from Mecca to Madinah in 622 AD after they were repeatedly persecuted and threatened.

The migration is considered one of the most important events in Islamic history was chosen as the starting point for the calendar in 639 AD by Umar ibn al-Khattab, the second caliph.

How is it observed?

Most of the Muslim-majority nations have declared a public holiday to commemorate the occasion. These include the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Oman, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Tunisia. Some Sunni Muslims mark the day by voluntarily fasting.

The first ten days of Muharram hold great significance for Muslims-especially Shia Muslims- who mourn the death of Hussain Ibn Ali al-Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) who died in the battle of Karbala in 680 AD.

The death of al-Hussain took place on the tenth day of Muharram, widely known as Ashura. It is commemorated by Shia Muslims in many ways, including through public expressions of mourning and a visit to the shrine of al-Hussain in Karbala, Iraq.

The day of Ashura also holds importance because it was when Prophet Nuh (Noah) left the ark and the day Musa was saved from the pharaoh of Egypt by God.

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