After setting up yesterday’s Photo Moment for the Hindu New Year, it was brought to my attention that it was also the beginning of the Muslim New Year as well. Firstly, a member of the HEM blogging community, Kaligrafi Nusantara (Archipelago Calligraphy), who is from Indonesia and runs a Islamic calligraphy blog, wished me prosperity for the new Hijri year, then a good friend and work colleague named Dewan later pointed the closeness of our new years while commenting on my status on Facebook.
It is not a surprise that both the Hindu and Islamic new years are close together. Both festival dates are set using lunar calendars. So I decided to create this special moment in honour of both Kaligrafi Nusantara and Dewan, as well as the Muslim side of my family who have so kindly extended holiday greetings to me this past Diwali.
The Islamic calendar, known in Arabic as “Hijri” or “al-Hajira” – spellings may vary – starts from the Gregorian year 622 AD/CE when the Prophet Mohammed (the final prophet in Islam) left the holy city of Mecca (al-Makkah) to nearby Medina (al-Madinah). His departure is known as “Hijra”. Although it is lunar in origin, Hijri maintains its own specific conventions. As Wikipedia puts it:
“Traditionally, the first day of each month is the day (beginning at sunset) of the first sighting of the hilal (crescent moon) shortly after sunset.“
Nowadays the Islamic calendar is used mainly for religious purposes, but also is official for governmental and public affairs in many Muslim-majority countries. The new year for 2013 started either on Sunday or today depending on the sighting of the moon – which is also used to begin celebration of others like the Eids (feasts). In the Hijri calendar, the new year is 1435 AH. The new year always falls on the 1st of Muharram, the first month of the year – the equivalent of the Gregorian calendar’s January – and officially begins at sunset.
Among Sunnis, fasting usually occurs on this day. However some Sunni scholars argue that the early Muslims did not celebrate any Islamic New Year, so therefore this celebration is an innovation and should not be marked.However I do not wish to get involved in any theological arguments as such. Among Shias, this days begins with preparations for the feast of Ashura where the death of Imam Hussein is mourned.
The Half-Eaten Mind brings you a selection of wallpapers and images to celebrate the beginning of the New Year 1435 AH, and wishes everyone blessings and goodness for this special occasion.
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