Observations of the Moon determine the timing of the Islamic year Al Hijra and its months including the holy month of Ramadan. Find out the dates here.

Al Hijra is the first day of the Islamic New Year and of the Islamic month of Muharram. It marks the day when Mohammed began his migration (Hijra, هِجْرَة) from Mecca to Medina in Islamic Year 1 (1 AH), 622 CE. Ras al-Sana (رأس السنة ) is the Islamic celebration of the new Hijri year.

Dates of Al Hijra in western calendar, 2015–2020

  • 2015 (1437 AH): 14 October
  • 2016 (1438 AH): 2 October
  • 2017 (1439 AH): 21 September
  • 2018 (1440 AH): 11 September
  • 2019 (1441 AH): 1 September
  • 2020 (1442 AH): 19 August

NB future dates are estimates and depend on first sightings of the crescent moon.

The Islamic (Hijri) calendar

The Islamic calendar is a classic lunar calendar consisting of 12 synodic (lunar) months, each of 29.5 days, giving a year of 354 days. It is 11.25 days shorter than the tropical year.

Each month starts with the first naked-eye sighting of the crescent Moon (Hilal). Since this depends on a variety of factors printed calendars are based on estimates of the sighting.

The years are numbered with Islamic Year 1 corresponding to 622 CE.

Not all Islamic countries use the first sighting of the crescent Moon to signal the start of the month. In Saudi Arabia and Egypt the beginning of the month is fixed by the relative timing of sunset and moonset on the 29th day of each month. If the Moon sets before the Sun the next day is the 30th of the month. If the Sun sets before the Moon (by at least 10 minutes in Egypt) the next day is the first of the next month.

Months of the Islamic calendar

Month

 

Days

 

Month

 

Days

 

1. Muharram

 

30

 

7. Rajab

 

30

 

2. Safar

 

29

 

8. Sha’ban

 

29

 

3. Rabi Al-Awwal

 

30

 

9. Ramadan

 

30

 

4. Rabi Al-Thani

 

29

 

10. Shawwal

 

29

 

5. Jumada Al-Ula

 

30

 

11. Zul Qida

 

30

 

6. Jumada Al-Thani

 

29

 

12. Zul Hijja

 

29*

 

*Zul Hijja has 30 days in a leap year.

Ramadan 2016

Ramadan 2016 is due to start on 7 June 2016 and will last for 30 days.

There are many other websites offering timetables of the Ramadan fast sourced from local mosques.

The dates of Ramadan and other Islamic months depend on the sighting of the new crescent Moon.

Calendars from around the world

The information above is an excerpt from the Museum's e-book   Calendars from around the world, written by Alan Longstaff