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Celebrating Islamic New Year 2024: A time of reflection and renewal

Updated on: 07 July,2024 10:26 AM IST  |  Mumbai
mid-day online correspondent |

As Muslims around the world prepare to observe Islamic New Year 2024, they can reflect on Hijra's lessons & enduring virtues of faith, resilience & community.

Celebrating Islamic New Year 2024: A time of reflection and renewal

A mourning ritual at the Imam Hussain ibn Ali shrine in Iraq's holy city of Karbala. File Pic/AFP

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Celebrating Islamic New Year 2024: A time of reflection and renewal

The Islamic New Year, or Hijri New Year, is a significant occasion in the Islamic calendar. Unlike the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic calendar is lunar, with 12 months in a year lasting 354 or 355 days. The Islamic New Year 2024 commemorates the start of Muharram, the first month of the Hijri calendar.

The Islamic New Year 2024 is expected to be observed around July 8, depending on moon sightings.

The Islamic New Year, also known as "Ra's as-Sanah al-Hijriyah" in Arabic, commemorates the Hijra, or migration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and his followers from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE. This event is crucial in Islamic history since it commemorates the establishment of the first Muslim community under the Prophet's leadership. The Hijra signifies a new beginning, a time of renewal, and the triumph of faith and perseverance.

Muharram: The Sacred Month

Muharram, the first month of the Islamic calendar, is one of Islam's four sacred months, during which no violence is permitted. The term "Muharram" means "forbidden," emphasising the month's significance. It is a time for Muslims to reflect on their faith, do acts of devotion, and pursue spiritual progress. Muharram is also a time of grief for many Muslims, particularly on the tenth day, known as Ashura.

Observe Ashura

Ashura, which falls on the 10th of Muharram, is especially significant for Muslims. For Sunni Muslims, it is a day of fasting and thought in memory of Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) and the Israelites' deliverance from Pharaoh's tyranny. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) advised fasting on this day as an act of gratitude.

Ashura is a solemn day of grief for Shia Muslims commemorating the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, Prophet Muhammad's grandson (peace be upon him), at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. This incident is a watershed moment in Shia history, representing the fight against injustice and persecution. Ashura is observed by Shia communities around the world through processions, elegies, and battle reenactments to honour Imam Hussein's sacrifice.

Traditions and Practices

The Islamic New Year is an opportunity for contemplation and rebirth. Muslims may spend the day praying, reciting the Quran, and requesting forgiveness for past transgressions. It is also an opportunity for families to get together and reflect on their spiritual journeys. Unlike the joyful celebrations of the Gregorian New Year, the Islamic New Year is a more solemn and contemplative occasion.

Many Muslim-majority countries observe the Islamic New Year as a public holiday. Mosques and community centres frequently host special events, such as lectures and debates about the Hijra's relevance and lessons for today. Charity and acts of kindness are also encouraged, as Muslims attempt to start the new year with good actions and a fresh dedication to their faith.

Looking Ahead

As Muslims around the world prepare to celebrate the Islamic New Year 2024, they can reflect on the Hijra's lessons and the enduring virtues of faith, resilience, and community. It is a time to seek spiritual rejuvenation, deepen ties with family and friends, and vow to making positive changes in the next year. The Islamic New Year reminds us all of the value of beginnings, the strength of faith, and the never-ending search for a better world.

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