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Al Hijra

Al Hijra is commemorated on the first day of the Muharram and is the Islamic New Year. Muharram is the month in which the journey of Muhammad from Mecca to Medina took place in 622 CE. There are a few rituals associated with the Islamic New Year, compared to the Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

There are no religious observances prescribed for Al-Hijra. It is a time for reflection on the year to come. In the recent times, some Muslims even exchange greeting cards to commemorate this holiday.

The Islamic Calendar

The Islamic Calendar consists 12 lunar months. Each month consists 29.5 days on an average and the year ultimately has 354 days. Each of the months, start with the viewing of the crescent moon or the �Hilal� with the bare eye. The calendars are printed depending on the astronomical calculations made for the viewing of the moon earlier. The leap years in the Lunar calendar are those years which when divided by the numeral 30, produces a remainder of the numbers 2, 5, 7, 10, 13, 16, 18, 21, 24, 26 and 29.

In Saudi Arabia and Egypt, noting the time of the sunset and the moonset on the 29th day of every month marks the start of the month. The moon setting before the sun will mean the next day is the 30th of the month and the sun setting before the moon will mean the following day is the first day of the following month.

For the Muslims, Al Hijrah was the focal point for considering their chronology. Al Hijra commemorates the epic journey between two cities, which are 300 miles apart. In a deeper sense, Al Hijra marked the beginning of an era, a culture and a history for the entire mankind. Islam made a progress due to the fact that Muslims considered all the aspects and dimensions of Al Hijra to be sacred.

Difference with the Solar Calendar

The Islamic calendar has an average of 354.3670 days, whereas the Solar calendar has an average of 365.2422 days. Thus, the Hijra calendar gains ground in comparison to the Solar calendar at the rate of about 11 days per year.

The Islamic months do not match up with any particular season. Moreover, a lunar month stretches from 29 to 30 days only, while the solar month will have days stretching from 28 to 31 days.

The years of the Islamic Calendar or the Hijra, are calculated from 1 Muharram, 622 CE. The Suffix �AH� follows them, implying �After Hijira�.

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