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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 Islamic calendar 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 first Islamic year begins in 622 Common Era (CE) with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, known as the Hijra.[dubious ] 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 lunar calendar.

Islamic New Year
Islamic New Year celebration (4453839979).jpg
Islamic New Year celebration in Nawa-I-Barakzayi, Afghanistan (2010)
Official name رأس السنة الهجريةRaʼs al-Sanah al-Hijrīyah
Also called Arabic New Year, Hijri New Year
Observed by Muslims
Type Muslim
Begins sunset, last day of Dhu al-Hijjah–1 Muharram
Ends nightfall, 1 Muharram
Date 1 Muharram
2017 date sunset, September 20 –
nightfall, September 21
2018 date sunset, September 10 –
nightfall, September 11
2019 date sunset, August 30 –
nightfall, August 31
2020 date sunset, August 19 –
nightfall, August 20

While some Islamic organizations prefer determining the new month (and hence the new year) by local sightings of the moon,[1] most Islamic institutions and countries, including Saudi Arabia,[2] 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).[3]

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.[4]

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:[5]

Islamic year Gregorian date
1438 AH   2 October 2016
1439 AH 21 September 2017
1440 AH 11 September 2018
1441 AH 31 August 2019
1442 AH 20 August 2020

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