The Islamic Calendar
The Islamic calendar, also known as the hijirah calendar, begins with the hijrah from Mecca to Medina on July 16, 622 CE. It is a lunar calendar, like the Jewish calendar and many others throughout the world.
Days in the Islamic Calendar
Also like the Jewish calendar, Islamic days begin not at midnight but at sunset the night before the specified date.
Months in the Islamic Calendar
The Islamic calendar consists of 12 months, which begin with the first sighting of the crescent moon. Each month contains 29 or 30 days each, for a total of 354 days per year. (The month of Dhu al-Hijjah varies between 29 and 30 days in order to keep the calendar in step with the true phases of the moon, thus some years have 355 days.)
Unlike its Jewish counterpart, the Islamic calendar has no corrective system to align it with the solar (Gregorian/Western) calendar. Thus the Islamic holidays do not always fall in the same season, and they occur earlier every year on the solar calendar.
The months of the Islamic calendar are as follows:
- Rabi' al-Awwal (or Rabi I)
- Rabi' al-Thani (or Rabi II)
- Jumada al-Ula (or Jumada I)
- Jumada al-Thaniyya (or Jumada II)
- Dhu al-Qa'dah
- Dhu al-Hijjah
Years in the Islamic Calendar
Years on the Islamic calendar are numbered from the event of the Hijira in 622 CE, and designated AH (anno hijiri, "year of the Hijira"). The first day of the Islamic era is Muharram 1, 1 AH which corresponds to July 16, 622 CE on the Gregorian calendar.