Muslims around the world have marked the entry into a New Year as September 21, 2017 was equivalent to 1st Muharram – the first month of the Islamic calendar.
According to the Islamic calendar used across most of the Arab world, Muslims have entered the year 1439 Hijri.
The calendar is referred to as the Hijri Calendar because it began with the Hijra, or hegira, i.e. the Prophet Muhammad’s migration from Mecca to Medina (in present day Saudi Arabia), due to persecution by the disbelievers of the time.
The occasion comes with very little celebration as does January 1st in the case of the Gregorian calendar. A reason adduced for that is because adherents of the faith have two main celebrations in the mould of Eid-ul-Fitr (Post Ramadan feast) and Eid-ul-Adha (feast of sacrifice).
Unlike the Gregorian which has 365/366 days, the Islamic year has minimum 354 days. This is because the Hijri Calendar follows the movements of the moon. The Hijri Calendar is consistently less by 11 days comparative to the Gregorian.
Gregorian calendars, which are most widely used across the world and even alongside the Islamic one in most of the Arab world, on the other hand measure time beginning with the year 0 A.D.
A.D. stands for Anno Domini, which means “In the year of our Lord.” The Hijri Calendar has years marked by A.H., which stands for Anno Hegirae, “In the Year of the Hijra.” The hegira took place in A.H. 1.
The Hijri Calendar is the official calendar in many predominantly Muslim countries, most notably Saudi Arabia. In other countries, Muslims refer to the Gregorian Calendar for most dates and consult the Hijri Calendar only for religious purposes.
The similarities between the Islamic and Gregorian calendar are that; both have 12 months each of seven days in a week. The slight day variations are that the first day of the week is Sunday (Yawmul Ahad) whiles Monday is seen as the first on the other side.