Today marks the 2nd of Muharram of the year 1434 of the Hijri (Islamic) calender. The Hijri calender is a lunar calender, which is based on a cycle of lunar phase (phase of the moon). It is a pure lunar calender which contains 12 months in 1 year, but they are not connected with seasons and it differs from a Tropical Year by 11 or 12 days. Arabs before Islam used to rely on lunar cycles and use a historic events to mark their years, e.g.: “The Year of the Elephant” this year marks the year when Abraha the ruler of Yemen attacked Makkah.
Omar Ibn Alkhatab, the 2nd Islamic ruler after prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, established the Hijri Calender. It marks the year that Prophet Muhammad left Makkah migrating to Almadinah on the 24th of September, 622. Prophet Muahammad migrated to Almadinah after a long time of suffering in Makkah. He left behind his first home, and moved to Almadinah and started a new era for Muslims. This has a great historic value to all of the Muslims in the world, and it is a perfect fit to base our days and years upon it.
The Hijri year includes 12 months, these months represent different occasions of the Muslim world. The 1st month is “Muharram” it means Forbidden. It is one of the 4 sacred months where war is prohibited. The 2nd month is “Safar” it means Void or Emptiness. The 3rd month is “Rabi Al Awal” The 1st Spring, in this month, Prophet Muahammad, peace be upon him, migrated to Almadniah. The 4th month is “Rabi Al Thani” The 2nd Spring, both were named coincidentally during Spring. The 5th month is called “Jumad Al Awal“, The 1st Freeze, and the 6th is “Jumad Al Thany”, the 2nd Freeze, both were named also coincidentally during Winter. The 7th month is “Rajab” means to Respect, this month is also one of the sacred months. The 8th month is called “Sha’aban“, means to spread. Then the 9th month, “Ramadan” this is one of the most important months of the year. During the month of Ramadan, people fast during the day for the whole month. After Ramadan, people celebrate “Eid Alfitr” where they celebrate breaking their fast, this is on the 10th month which is called “Shawal” means to be vigorous. The last two months, are also part of the sacred months. The 11th is called “Tho Alqa’dah” the month of rest. My birth month. Usually, a lot of Muslims travel to Makkah in this months to be ready to preform Hajj the next month. The 12th and last month of the Hijri year is “Tho AlHijjah” the month where Muslims all over the world travel miles to reach Makkah for the annual pilgrimage. It also has the 2nd celebration for Muslims “Eid Aladha”.
A lot of friends are always curious about the Hijri year and how it represents a culture by itself. I just hope this helped you somehow in understanding. Happy New Year.