The Difference Between Hijri New Year and The Prophet's Hijrah

  • Publish date: Monday، 09 August 2021 Last update: Tuesday، 10 August 2021
The Difference Between Hijri New Year and The Prophet's Hijrah
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Muslims celebrate the Islamic New Year on the first of the month of Muharram of each Hijri year, but many fall into a common confusion with the beginning of each new Hijri year, as they think that this is the date of the Prophet’s migration, that is, the date of the migration of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Mecca Al-Mukarramah to Medina.

What is the difference between the Prophet's migration and the Islamic New Year?

According to what many Muslims believe, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) migrated from Mecca to Medina at the beginning of the Hijri year, and therefore the Islamic world celebrates the anniversary of the Prophet’s migration on the Islamic New Year every year, that is, on the 1st of the month of Muharram.

But the truth is, that there is absolutely no relationship between the Prophet’s migration and the beginning of the Hijri year, or the Hijri New Year as it was called. Rather, the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) did not migrate at all in the month of Muharram, as some believe.

The Holy Prophet (may God bless him and grant him peace) left Mecca on the 27th of Safar of the 14th year of the Prophet’s mission, and arrived at Medina on the 12th of Rabi’ al-Awwal.

The Difference Between Hijri New Year and The Prophet's Hijrah

Hijri calendar date

Some may wonder why the Hijri calendar is dated from the month of Muharram, and not the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal, which is the month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) arrived in Medina?

According to Islamic scholars, the Hijri calendar did not appear until the era of the second Rashidun Caliphs, Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, and that was in the year 638 AD.

The Companions agreed that the beginning of history would be the year of the Hijrah, which coincided with the year 622 AD, given the importance of the Prophet’s migration, and what led to the emergence of the first Islamic city, which is Al-Madinah Al-Munawwarah, and from here was the beginning of the setting of the Hijri calendar as we know it now.

But the Companions differed about the beginning of the Hijri year, some of them said: from the month of Ramadan, and some of them said: from the month of Rabi’ al-Awwal, then they agreed in the end that the beginning should be from the month of Muharram, because Muharram is the people’s departure from their pilgrimage, and it is one of the sacred months, so they unanimously agreed on him.

Thus, the Companions (may God be pleased with them) when they dated the Hijri calendar, did not rely on the day or month in which the Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of God be upon him) migrated and arrived from Mecca to Medina, as many people think today.

Rather, they chose the month of Muharram to be the beginning of the Hijri year, or the Islamic New Year, as we currently say, because it is the month that comes after the end of the Hajj season, so the first year in the Hijri calendar was the year of the Hijrah itself.

The Difference Between Hijri New Year and The Prophet's Hijrah

Hijri calendar

The scholars pointed out that the names of the months and days in the Hijri calendar were adopted at the end of the fifth century AD, as this was done for the purpose of unifying the lunar months.

The Difference Between Hijri New Year and The Prophet's Hijrah

Names of the months in the Hijri calendar

Muharram; Safar; Rabi' al-awwal; Rabi' al-thani; Jumada al-awwal; Jumada al-thani; Rajab; Sha'aban; Ramadan; Shawwal; Dhu al-Qi'dah; Dhu al-Hijjah

The number of days of the months in the Hijri calendar

The Hijri calendar depends on the rotation of the moon around the sun, and therefore the beginning of the Hijri month is determined by the appearance of the moon.

The Hijri month has either 29 days or 30 days without a leap year.