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The Islamic New Year, also known as Arabic New Year or Hijri New Year (Arabic: رأس السنة الهجريةRaʼs al-Sanah al-Hijrīyah), is the day that marks the beginning of a new Hijri year, and is the day on which the year count is incremented. The first day of the year is observed on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar. The epoch (reference date) of the Islamic era was set as 622 Common Era (CE), the year of the emigration of Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra.[1] All religious duties, such as prayer, fasting in the month of Ramadan, and pilgrimage, and the dates of significant events, such as celebration of holy nights and festivals, are calculated according to the Islamic calendar.

Islamic New Year
Official nameرأس السنة الهجريةRaʼs al-Sanah al-Hijrīyah
Also calledArabic New Year, Hijri New Year
Observed byMuslims
Beginssunset, last day of Dhu al-Hijjah–1 Muharram
Endsnightfall, 1 Muharram
Date1 Muharram
2018 datesunset, September 10 –
nightfall, September 11
2019 datesunset, August 31 –
nightfall, September 1
2020 datesunset, August 19 –
nightfall, August 20
2021 datesunset, August 9 –
nightfall, August 10

While some Islamic organizations prefer determining the new month (and hence the new year) by local sightings of the moon,[2] most Islamic institutions and countries, including Saudi Arabia,[3] follow astronomical calculations to determine future dates of the Islamic calendar. There are various schema for calculating the tabular Islamic calendar (i.e. not based on observation), which results in differences of typically one or even two days between countries using such schema and those that use lunar sightings. For example, the Umm al-Qura calendar used in Saudi Arabia was reformed several times in recent years. The current scheme was introduced in 1423 AH (15 March 2002).[4]

A day in the Islamic calendar is defined as beginning at sunset. For example, 1 Muharram 1432 was defined to correspond to 7 or 8 December 2010 in official calendars (depending on the country). For an observation-based calendar, a sighting of the new moon at sunset of 6 December would mean that 1 Muharram lasted from the moment of sunset of 6 December to the moment of sunset of 7 December, while in places where the new moon was not sighted on 6 December, 1 Muharram would last from the moment of sunset of 7 December to the moment of sunset of 8 December.[5]

Gregorian correspondenceEdit

Since the Islamic lunar year is eleven to twelve days shorter than the solar Gregorian year, the Islamic New Year does not occur on the same day of the Gregorian calendar every year.

The following dates on the Gregorian calendar correspond to the Islamic new year:[6]

Islamic year Gregorian date
1438 AH   2 October 2016
1439 AH 22 September 2017
1440 AH 11 September 2018
1441 AH 1 September 2019
1442 AH 20 August 2020


  1. ^ The Beginning of Hijri calendar – Paul Lunde, Saudi Aramco World Magazine (November/December 2005), retrieved 1/1/2019
  2. ^ Islamic Crescents' Observation Project
  3. ^ Islamic Crescents' Observation Project: Saudi Dating System
  4. ^ Robert Harry van Gent, The Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia
  5. ^ Islamic Crescents' Observation Project, Visibility of Muharram Crescent 1432 AH; seen on 6 December in Algeria, Iran, Saudi Arabia, South Africa.
  6. ^ Principal Islamic days of observation (1420 AH to 1450 AH).

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