Rabi al-Awwal (also known as Rabi Ul Awal) is the third month of the Islamic calendar and follows Muharram and Safar. Rabi al-Awwal literally translates to “the first spring”, despite this, the meaning has no relevance in today’s climate. This is because the Islamic calendar follows the lunar calendar as opposed to the solar seasons. As a result, Rabi al-Awwal will occur in autumn this year.
Safar is the second month of the Islamic calendar and follows Muharram. One translation of Safar is “empty”, alluding to the emptying of houses as the month of Safar was used by Muslims to vacate their homes for the purpose of gathering food.
Because of the pandemic, how we celebrate and mark even the most sacred of festivals has been far from normal by account of social restrictions. Muslim families relied on video calls and other forms of communication to stay connected to mark Eid ul-Adha in 2020/21 and, while it was great that we could at least see our loved ones in some form at the height of a global pandemic, it just wasn’t the same.
There are a number of auspicious days during the Islamic year, but there is one day that is considered the holiest of them all, and that is the Day of Arafah which falls during Dhul Hijjah, just before Qurbani. Without performing Arafah the Hajj is not complete.
In the lunar calendar, Dhul Hijjah occurs at the end, making it the last month of the Islamic year. This month is extremely important as Allah (SWT) has immensely blessed it. The believers who engage with good practices and avoid sins are eligible in obtaining these many blessings and rewards.
The 12th lunar month is known in Islam as Dhul Hijjah and is the holiest of all the months. Within this month the Hajj takes place, as do Qurbani and Eid al-Adha. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) designated the 12th month as a time of worship and reflection, and it is during this time that Muslims must fulfil their religious obligation to partake in Hajj – the fifth pillar of Islam.
Eid ul-Adha is here and as well as the sacrificing of animals for Qurbani and the stitching of clothes, there are many other traditions that are carried out by Muslims. Some of these activities are extremely important, so much so that they are regarded as Sunnah; acts that prophet Muhammad (PBUH) willingly performed himself.
There are four specifically sacred months in the religion of Islam: the first month of Muharram, the seventh month of Rajab, the 11th month of Dhu al-Qadah, and the 12th month of Dhul Hijjah. Allah (SWT) designated these months as sacred.
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The month of Shawwal immediately follows Ramadan, during which time Muslims around the world observe the 30-day long fast during daylight hours. Completing the Ramadan fast is equivalent to fasting for 10 months, while completing an additional six days of fasting in Shawwal is equal to a fast of two months – thus it is like completing an entire year of fasting.
Eid is the most important festival in the Muslim calendar. It is a time for families to get together, give greetings & gifts, and share lots of special food & festivities. As a child, I couldn’t sleep the night before Eid, because of all the excitement, and even into adulthood the anticipation keeps me up the night before!
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