- The Islamic calendar (or Hijri calendar) is a purely lunar calendar consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. The months and days of Hijri calendar begin and end according to appearance and different phases of moon. It starts from the month of Muharram and ends on Zul-Hijja.
- It is based on the Qur'an and its proper observance is a sacred duty for Muslims.
That’s what Allah says in the Qur'an:
"The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve (in a year) - so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth...." (9:36).
"It is He Who made the sun to be a shining glory, and the moon to be a light of beauty, and measured out stages for it, that you might know the number of years and the count of time. Allah did not create this except in truth and righteousness. And He explains His signs in detail, for those who understand" (10:5).
- The Hijri calendar is the official calendar in countries around the Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia. But other Muslim countries use the Gregorian calendar for civil purposes and only turn to the Islamic calendar for religious purposes.
- The months of the Islamic year are:
1. Muharram ("Forbidden" - it is one of the four months during which it is forbidden to wage war or fight)
2. Safar ("Empty" or "Yellow")
3. Rabia Awal ("First spring")
4. Rabia Thani ("Second spring")
5. Jumaada Awal ("First freeze")
6. Jumaada Thani ("Second freeze")
7. Rajab ("To respect" - this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited)
8. Sha'ban ("To spread and distribute")
9. Ramadan ("Parched thirst" - this is the month of daytime fasting)
10. Shawwal ("To be light and vigorous")
11. Dhul-Qi'dah ("The month of rest" - another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed)
12. Dhul-Hijjah ("The month of Hajj" - this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed)