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Understanding The Islamic Calendar: Years, Months, Days And More


Also referred to as the Hijri calendar, the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar that comprises 12 months and 354-355 days. The Islamic calendar is useful in determining the accurate days of Islamic rituals and holidays such as the right time for Hajj, Eid and Ramadan. Listed amongst the four major calendars used currently worldwide, this calendar uses the Hijri era which was established as the Islamic New Year of 622 AD. This year is marked by Hijra, an event that commemorates the migration of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) from Makkah to Madinah, where he established the first community of Muslims.

Hijri Calendar 2022 (1443-1444)

Hijri Calendar 2022
Hijri Calendar 22
Islamic Calendar 2022
Islamic Calendar 2022
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Source: IslamicFinder

The Creation of Islamic Calendar

The credit of creating the Islamic or the Muslim calendar is given to Khalifa Umar ibn Al-Khattab, who served as a leading companion to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and became the second Muslim ruler after the Prophet’s death. Before the introduction of the Islamic calendar, Muslims kept track of time by using an array of significant events in Islamic history such as the Prophet’s year of birth. Instead of being numbered, the first 10 years of Hijra were named after the prominent events in the life of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Here is a list of the names of these 10 years, starting from the first year of the Hijra that is 622-23 CE.

  1. The year of permission
  2. The year of the order of fighting
  3. The year of the trial
  4. The year of congratulation on marriage
  5. The year of the earthquake
  6. The year of enquiring
  7. The year of gaining victory
  8. The year of equality
  9. The year of exemption
  10. The year of farewell (632-33 CE)

During the third or fourth year of the leadership of Khalifa Umar ibn al-Khattab, an official in Iraq (Basrah) named Abu Musa al-Ash’ari filed a complaint underlining the absence of a consistent dating system of the correspondence received by him. Abu Musa al-Ash’ari sent a letter requesting Khalifa Umar to establish a consistent way of keeping track of dates.

While the debate regarding this issue raged on between Khalifa Umar and his advisors, many suggestions were put on the table regarding the date that should mark the commencement of this new calendar. These suggestions included the date of birth of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and the date of the Prophet’s death. In the end, the majority agreed on the date of the Prophet’s migration to Madinah. Once Khalifa Umar had consulted two of the Prophet’s most revered companions, Ali bin Abi Talib and Uthman ibn Affan, this date was finally agreed upon to mark the starting of the new calendar. So, 622 AD became the Islamic calendar’s first year.

Months in the Islamic Calendar


A year consists of 12 months known as Hijri months. Each Hijri month commences at the beginning of the new moon cycle. In this calendar, the number of days in each month varies depending on the moon’s rotation around the earth. Each month consists of 29 to 30 days, with the exception of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah. Following are the names of the months in the Islamic calendar:

  1. Month of Muharram
  2. Safar
  3. Rabi al-Awwal
  4. Rabi al-Akhir
  5. Jumada al-Ula
  6. Jumada al-Akhirah
  7. Rajab
  8. Shaaban
  9. Ramadan Month
  10. Shawwal
  11. Dhu al-Qadah
  12. Dhu al-Ḥijjah

Days of the week in the Hijri Calendar

In the Muslim calendar, a week consists of seven days and each day starts at sunset. Muslims gather at a mosque to pray at noon on the gathering day, which corresponds with Thursday evening when the sun has completely set. Following are the seven days that constitutes a week:

  1. Ahad − Translated as ‘the one’, this day corresponds with Sunday
  2. Ithnayn − The term means ‘the second’ and corresponds with Monday
  3. Thulatha − Meaning ‘the third’ in English, this day corresponds with Tuesday
  4. Arbia − Translated as ‘the fourth’, this day corresponds with Wednesday
  5. Khamis − It means ‘the fifth’ and corresponds with Thursday
  6. Jummah − Meaning ‘the gathering’,  corresponds with Friday; Friday prayers are performed in a congregation in a mosque
  7. Sabt − Translated as ‘the rest’, this day corresponds with Saturday

How are the Hijri years numbered?

Similar to the Persian calendar, the Islamic calendar begins in 622 CE. However, everything else about the both these calendars is unrelated. The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar and its year count is significantly different from that of the Persian calendar, which is a solar calendar. For instance, 1st January 2021 in the Persian calendar fell in 1442 AH in the Islamic calendar. Instead of the letters AD in the Christian calendar, CE in the common calendar and AM in the Jewish calendar, the years in the Hijri calendar are denoted by either H, which stands for Hijra or AH, which stands for Anno Hegirae (Latin). In English, the years before Hijra are denoted by the letters BH, which stand for Before Hijra.

Solar Hijri Calendar

Solar Hijri Calendar, also known as Persian Calendar and Iranian Calendar, is the official calendar used by Afghanistan and Iran. It is among the world’s most accurate and reliable calendar systems. The calendar is based on astronomical observations of Earth’s revolution around the sun. The year starts at midnight in Iran near the vernal equinox at the IRST or Iran Standard Time.

Just like the Islamic Calendar, the Solar Hijri Calendar began with the migrations of Prophet Muhammad to Madinah (Hijrah or Hegira) in 622 CE. Though the Islamic Calendar and solar Hijri Calendar share the same starting date, the number of days in both differ from each other as the Islamic Calendar is a lunar calendar.

People in Iran celebrate Nowruz (meaning new day) or the first day of the new year with high spirit. The festivities continue for 13 days ending on the last day called siz-dah bedar. Every week in the Solar Hijri Calendar starts on Saturday and ends on Friday. The days of the week are as follows:

Shambe – Saturday
Yekshambe – Sunday
doshambe – Monday
seshambe – Tuesday
chæharshambe – Wednesday
panjshambe – Thursday
jom’e – Friday

In most Islamic countries, Friday is considered as a weekly holiday similar to Sunday in the Gregorian calendar.

Islamic Events Calendar 2022

04 Jan 2022Tuesday1 Jumadal-Akhirah 1443 HStart of Jumadal-Akhirah
16 Jan 2022Sunday13 Jumadal-Akhirah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
17 Jan 2022Monday14 Jumadal-Akhirah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
18 Jan 2022Tuesday15 Jumadal-Akhirah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
02 Feb 2022Wednesday1 Rajab 1443 HStart of Rajab
14 Feb 2022Monday13 Rajab 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
15 Feb 2022Tuesday14 Rajab 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
16 Feb 2022Wednesday15 Rajab 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
28 Feb 2022Monday27 Rajab 1443 HIsra’ Mi’raj
04 Mar 2022Friday1 Sha’ban 1443 HStart of Sha’ban
16 Mar 2022Wednesday13 Sha’ban 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
17 Mar 2022Thursday14 Sha’ban 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
18 Mar 2022Friday15 Sha’ban 1443 HNishfu Sha’ban
02 Apr 2022Saturday1 Ramadan 1443 HBeginning of Ramadan
02 May 2022Monday1 Shawwal 1443 HEid ul Fitr
14 May 2022Saturday13 Shawwal 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
15 May 2022Sunday14 Shawwal 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
16 May 2022Monday15 Shawwal 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
31 May 2022Tuesday1 Dhul-Qa’dah 1443 HStart of Dhul-Qa’dah
12 Jun 2022Sunday13 Dhul-Qa’dah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
13 Jun 2022Monday14 Dhul-Qa’dah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
14 Jun 2022Tuesday15 Dhul-Qa’dah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
30 Jun 2022Thursday1 Dhul-Hijjah 1443 HStart of Dhul-Hijjah
08 Jul 2022Friday9 Dhul-Hijjah 1443 HWuquf in ‘Arafah
09 Jul 2022Saturday10 Dhul-Hijjah 1443 HEid ul Adha
10 Jul 2022Sunday11, 12, 13 Dhul-Hijjah 1443 HDays of Tashriq
13 Jul 2022Wednesday14 Dhul-Hijjah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
14 Jul 2022Thursday15 Dhul-Hijjah 1443 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
30 Jul 2022Saturday1 Muharram 1444 HIslamic New Year
07 Aug 2022Sunday9 Muharram 1444 HFasting Tasu’a
08 Aug 2022Monday10 Muharram 1444 HFasting ‘Ashura
11 Aug 2022Thursday13 Muharram 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
12 Aug 2022Friday14 Muharram 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
13 Aug 2022Saturday15 Muharram 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
28 Aug 2022Sunday1 Safar 1444 HStart of Safar
09 Sep 2022Friday13 Safar 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
10 Sep 2022Saturday14 Safar 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
11 Sep 2022Sunday15 Safar 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
27 Sep 2022Tuesday1 Rabi’ul-Awwal 1444 HStart of Rabi’ul-Awwal
08 Oct 2022Saturday12 Rabi’ul-Awwal 1444 HMaulid Nabi Muhammad
09 Oct 2022Sunday13 Rabi’ul-Awwal 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
10 Oct 2022Monday14 Rabi’ul-Awwal 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
11 Oct 2022Tuesday15 Rabi’ul-Awwal 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
26 Oct 2022Wednesday1 Rabi’ul-Akhir 1444 HStart of Rabi’ul-Akhir
07 Nov 2022Monday13 Rabi’ul-Akhir 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
08 Nov 2022Tuesday14 Rabi’ul-Akhir 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
09 Nov 2022Wednesday15 Rabi’ul-Akhir 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
25 Nov 2022Friday1 Jumadal-Awwal 1444 HStart of Jumadal-Awwal
07 Dec 2022Wednesday13 Jumadal-Awwal 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
08 Dec 2022Thursday14 Jumadal-Awwal 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
09 Dec 2022Friday15 Jumadal-Awwal 1444 HSunnah Fasting Yaumul Bidh
25 Dec 2022Sunday1 Jumadal-Akhirah 1444 HStart of Jumadal-Akhirah

FAQs about the Hijri Calendar

How does the lunar cycle affect the Islamic calendar?

Being a lunar calendar, the Islamic calendar is significantly dependent on the movement of the moon around the Earth. The beginning of a new moon cycle marks the starting of a new month in the Islamic calendar whereas the disappearance of the moon marks the end of a month. Even the number of days in a month depends on the moon’s rotation cycle.

Is the Islamic calendar still used in Muslim countries?

Yes, the Islamic calendar serves as the official calendar of certain Muslim countries, such as Saudi Arabia. Also, there are some Muslim countries that use the Gregorian calendar for civic purposes and the Islamic one for religious purposes.

What is the difference between the Islamic calendar and the Gregorian calendar?

The Islamic calendar is substantially different from the Gregorian calendar. First of all, the former is a lunar calendar while the latter is a solar one. Secondly, a year in the Islamic calendar has 11 days less than a year in the Gregorian calendar. Also, as per the Islamic calendar, a new day begins at sunset of each day, on the other hand, according to the Gregorian calendar, a new day begins at 12:00 am each night.

Why is it difficult to predict the length of Islamic months?

Traditionally, an authorized committee or person needs to witness the crescent moon for determining the length of a month in the Islamic calendar. This reliance on astronomical observations is the major reason behind the difficulty in predicting the length of each Islamic month. For instance, an Islamic month may be extended by a day if clouds or other atmospheric conditions hamper the visibility of the crescent moon. For this reason, the dates of Muslim festivals and religious events often change unpredictably.

Why, according to the Islamic calendar, do sometimes dates vary in different countries on the same day?

Sometimes, a new month begins on different days in different countries as the time of the moonset at a particular place depends on its longitude.

Dr Omar Ayoub

Dr. Omar Ayoub is a tech enthusiast and a part time researcher and accounts authorship of several international publications. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from USA and has an experience of more than 10 years in Saudi Arabia working in tourism, hospitality, education, technology and retail sector. His interests include traveling, writing, and exploring trending technologies.

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