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Islamic New Year: Welcoming Muharram

Merzouga sand dunes at sunset in the Sahara desert, Morocco.

Saturday 30th of July marked the beginning of Islamic New Year Muharram.

The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and is often referred to as the Hijri Calendar because of the Hijri years, which correspond to the year 622 CE, which start from the year of the Prophet Muhammad’s (pbuh) hijrah (migration) from Makkah to Medina.

For Muslims, the first Hijri year is significant since it saw the founding of the first Islamic kingdom in Medina. The Hijrah was established as the first Islamic Hijri year by the Caliph ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab.

Muharram is one of the four most important months in the Islamic calendar and holds a lot of historical significance for Muslims. In this month, Prophet Musa (Moses) and his followers crossed the Red Sea to escape the Pharaoh.

It also marks Karbala and the tragic death that befell the beloved Prophet’s (pbuh) grandson, Iman Hussain, whom he gave his life standing against injustice and tyranny.

For different practising sects, Muharram can be a time of joy and hope for the oncoming year, and for others, it can be a time of sombre remembrance of good and evil.

Whichever way you choose to commemorate Muharram, do it with good intention.

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