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Calendar Symbol
Islamic seasonal days of
celebration and holy days

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The six most important Islamic holy days:

All dates are approximate, because they depend upon the method of determining the timing of a new moon. Muslims in some countries determine the date after the physical sighting of the new moon by eye. Other Muslims use the astronomic calculations of the new moon. More details.

Because the dates are based on a lunar calendar, they come earlier with each year by about eleven days

Using the Gregorian calendar.

Year
New Years
Ashura
Mawlid 1
Id al-Fitr
Id al-Adha
1417 H
1996-MAY-18
1996-MAY-27
1996-JUL-28
1997-JAN-10
1997-FEB-08
1997-APR-17
1418
1997-MAY-08
1997-MAY-17
1997-JUL-17
1997-DEC-31
1998-JAN-29
1998-APR-07
1419
1998-APR-27
1998-MAY-06
1998-JUL-06
1998-DEC-20
1999-JAN-19
1999-MAR-28
1420
1999-APR-17
1999-APR-26
1999-JUN-26
1999-DEC-09
2000-JAN-08
2000-MAR-16
1421
2000-APR-06
2000-APR-15
2000-JUN-14
2000-NOV-27
2000-DEC-27
2001-MAR-05
1422
2001-MAR-26
2001-APR-04
2001-JUN-04
2001-NOV-16
2001-DEC-16
2002-FEB-22
1423
2002-MAR-15
2002-MAR-24
2002-MAY-24
2002-NOV-06
2002-DEC-05
2003-FEB-11
1424
2003-MAR-04
2003-MAR-13
2003-MAY-13
2003-OCT-27
2003-NOV-25
2004-FEB-01
1425
2004-FEB-22
2004-MAR-02
2004-MAY-02
2004-OCT-16
2004-NOV-14
2005-JAN-21
1426
2005-FEB-10
2005-FEB-19
2005-APR-21
2005-OCT-05
2005-NOV-05
2006-JAN-10
1427
2006-JAN-31
2006-FEB-09
2006-APR-11
2006-SEP-23
2006-OCT-23
2006-DEC-31
1428
2007-JAN-20
2007-JAN-29
2007-MAR-31
2007-SEP-13
2007-OCT-12
2007-DEC-20
1429
2008-JAN-10
2008-JAN-19
2008-MAR-20
2008-SEP-01
2008-SEP-30
2008-DEC-08
1430
2008-DEC-29
2009-JAN-07
2009-MAR-09
2009-AUG-21
2009-SEP-20
2009-NOV-28
1431
2009-DEC-18
2009-DEC-27
2010-FEB-26
2010-AUG-11
2010-SEP-09
2010-NOV-17
1432
2010-DEC-07
2010-DEC-16
2011-FEB-15
2011-JUL-31
2011-AUG-30
2011-NOV-07

Descriptions of the holy days:

bulletAl-Hijra/Muharram is the Muslim New Year, the beginning of the first lunar month.

bulletFor Sunni Muslims, Ashura is a day of fasting that was originally observed by Jews to recall when God saved the Children of Israel from the Pharoah in Egypt. Muhammad made it compulsory for Muslims as well.

For Shiite Muslims, Ashura recalls an event circa 680-OCT-20 CE in Iraq when an army of the Umayyad regime martyred a group of 70 individuals who refused to submit to the Caliph. One of the martyrs was Imam Husain, the youngest grandson of Prophet Muhammad. 

bulletMawlid al-Nabi is a celebration of the birthday of the Prophet Muhammad, the founder of Islam in 570 CE. Sunni Muslims observed it on the 12th of the lunar month of Rabi'-ul-Awwal in the Islamic calendar. Shi'a Muslims celebrate it five days later. "The Mawlid al-Nabi was first observed around the thirteenth century and was preceded by a month of celebration. The actual day of Muhammad's birthday included a sermon, recitation of litanies, honoring of religious dignitaries, gift giving, and a feast. The festival spread throughout the Muslim world and is celebrated in many countries today. However, some conservative sects (e.g., the Wahhabiyah) consider the celebration to be idolatrous." 2,3

bulletRamadan is the holiest period in the Islamic year; it is held during the entire 9th lunar month of the year. This was the month in which the Qura'n was revealed to the Prophet Muhammad. The first day of Ramadan is listed above. It is a time at which almost all Muslims over the age of 12 are expected to fast from sunup to sundown, unless they suffer from health problems which would make fasting dangerous. More details.

bullet Id al-Fitr (a.k.a. "'Id" and "Eid") is the first day of the 10th month -- i.e. the day after the end of Ramadan. It is a time of rejoicing. Houses are decorated; Muslims buy gifts for relatives. The words " 'Id" and "Eid" mean fesival.

bullet Id al-Adha (a.k.a. the Feast of Sacrifice or Day of Sacrifice) occurs during the 12th month of the Islamic year. This immediately follows the Hajj (pilgrimage to Mecca). It recalls the day when Abraham intended to follow the instructions of God, and sacrifice his son Ishmael. (This is not a typo; Muslims believe that Abraham was prepared to sacrifice his elder son Ishmael; Judeo-Christians believe that it was Isaac who was involved in the near sacrifice).

How the dates are determined:

The start of each lunar month occurs at the new moon. Unfortunately, there are different Muslim traditions in various countries by which the timing of the new moon is determined:

bulletIn some countries, including Bangladesh, Canada, India, Pakistan, the UK, the U.S., and the West Indies, personal sighting of the crescent moon is required.

bulletIn other countries, including Saudi Arabia, the Gulf countries, North America, and some European countries, the timing of the new moon is determined astronomically.

bulletIn Brunei, Indonesia, and Malaysia, if the moon is two degrees above the horizon and three degrees away from the son at sunset in their country, a new lunar month is declared.

bulletIn Egypt, if the moon sets five minutes after sunset, a new moon has begun. This date is often accepted by Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

Thus the dates of observances and festivals may differ by a day or more among the various countries.

Reasonable care has been taken to prepare this list. Sources often differ, so check elsewhere if the precise date is important.

References used:

  1. Sunni Muslim dates are shown. Shi'a Muslims celebrate Mawlid five days later, on the 17th of the lunar month of Rabi'-ul-Awwal in the Islamic calendar.
  2. "Mawlid," University of Kansas, at: http://www3.kumc.edu/
  3. "Mawlid," Wikipedia, at: http://en.wikipedia.org/
  4.  "Islamic Holy Days in North America," at: http://moonsighting.com/

Copyright © 1996 to 2010 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Last update: 2010-NOV-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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