Muharram: Islamic New Year 2022, History

The Islamic New Year – also known as Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year – is the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. The first year of this calendar begins in 622 AD when the Prophet Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina with his companions.

In the Islamic calendar, the day begins at sunset. This event falls on a different day each year as the Islamic year is 11 to 12 days shorter. With rituals and prayers marking the occasion, Muharram is known as the month of remembrance and holy for Muslims around the world.

The word Hijri comes from the word Hijrah which means hijrah. The starting point of the Islamic calendar is the migration of the Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina in 622 AD.

The Islamic New Year 2021 will be called Hijri 1443.


The Islamic New Year – also known as Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year – begins on the first day of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and has only 354 days. This year, the Islamic New Year falls on July 29 in the Gregorian calendar.


In Mecca and other areas, Muslims face religious persecution for their beliefs since the 7th century AD. Hence the exodus of Muhammad and his followers to the city that came to be called Medina – a movement called the Hijra – where Muhammad established a constitution outlining the rights and obligations of Muslims. This event is very important in the Muslim faith, which is why the Islamic New Year commemorates this holy moment in history.

It is not only the first day of the month of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic lunar year, that is important for Muslims around the world. The whole moon has a sacred meaning. For example, also in Muharram – the second most important celebratory event after Ramadan – the 10th day of Ashura occurs, which marks Noah’s departure from the Ark as well as Moses’ crossing of the Red Sea.

For Shia Muslims, it is also the anniversary of the death of Muhammad Husayn’s grandson. They marked the occasion with a mourning ceremony. Shiites, particularly in Afghanistan, Bahrain, India, Lebanon and Pakistan, participate in commemorative parades called “matam,” where men gather in the streets to perform ritual chest beatings. For Sunnis, Muharram is a time of new initiation, with solemn prayer and reflection.

The lunar calendar is 11 or 12 days shorter than the western solar calendar, creating a kind of “cycle” around the Islamic New Year that repeats year after year. In this way, believers can experience the same temperature and weather phenomena as all historical figures in their scriptures.

Muharram is an important religious and cultural event, so asking Muslim friends about the meaning of Muharram can be an interesting lesson. Muslims themselves can also share stories, ideas, and feelings with others to celebrate the Islamic New Year.

Islamic New Year Around the World
Country Holiday Occasion Date
Russia Novy God Until the 18th century, the Russians celebrated New Year on September 1. Adjusted to the Gregorian calendar, it still falls 12 days after January 1. January 13
India Hindu New Year Hindus celebrate New Year’s Day on the first day of Chaitra — the first month of the Hindu calendar. Sometime in April
Thailand Songkran Thailand’s New Year’s Day is celebrated for five days in April. Mid-April
Assyria Kha b-Nisan The cultural Assyrian New Year’s Day is observed. April 1
Iran Nowruz The cultural and religious Iranian/Persian New Year is celebrated. On or around March 21


The Islamic New Year is celebrated as a public holiday in most Islamic countries. Customs and traditions vary between different sects of the Islamic faith, but generally involve religious lectures and religious services. Unlike New Year’s celebrations on other calendars, the Islamic New Year is usually quiet, with Muslims contemplating their own time and death.

The month of Muharram is an important month for Muslims. Special prayers and sermons are held in mosques and some public places.

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