The Islamic New Year begins with the month of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The Islamic New Year has been observed like this since 622 AD when the Muslims migrated from Makkah to Madina in the time of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). This migration is known as the Hijra in Arabic.
The Islamic calendar differs from the lunar calendar in the fact that while the lunar calendar is based on astronomical calculations, the Islamic calendar is based on the sighting of the moon.
This year, the first of Muharram is expected to start in the evening of Friday 29th of July 2022. This will mark the beginning of the Islamic New Year. Muharram will therefore end on Sunday 28th of August 2022.
Muharram is the first month in the Islamic calendar and holds a lot of significance for Muslims. It is in this month that the Day of Ashura falls. The Day of Ashura translates to ‘the tenth’, and it is recommended to fast on this day.
This year, the Day of Ashura is expected to fall on August 8th or 9th, 2022, depending on the sighting of the moon.
You do not have to fast on the Day of Ashura or during Muharram, but it is recommended to because of the significant events that have taken place during this month and on this day in particular. It was on the Day of Ashura that Prophet Yunus got out of the belly of a whale, Prophet Yusuf got out of the well he was thrown into, Prophet Isa was born, and Hussain (RA) was martyred. In addition, the miracle of Musa (AS) splitting the Red Sea occurred on the Day of Ashura too, where Allah saved Musa and his followers from Pharoah.
It is said in a hadith that if you fast on this day, your sins for the previous year are forgiven, and this motivates Muslims to fast on the Day of Ashura: Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) was asked about observing the fast on the tenth day of Muharram, and he replied, “it is an expiation for the sins of the preceding year.” (Muslim)
In some Muslim countries, this day is a public holiday, while for other countries, it is a normal working day.
Since this first month of the Islamic calendar, Muharram, holds abundant reward, it is important to strive to perform extra acts of worship. This may be by giving charity, reading more Quran, praying sunnah prayers or helping your neighbours. These actions will ensure we make the most of this sacred month, and help us to invest in our afterlife, Insha'Allah.
We should also make every effort to continue these good deeds throughout the year, not only in this month.
However, in the month of Muharram, our good deeds hold more significance than in other months, but equally, our sins are also heavier than in other months. This means we need to avoid sinning and focus on building up new good habits like visiting your neighbours and helping the sick, which will bring us closer to Allah (SWT) Insha’Allah.