The Islamic New Year or 1 Muharam 1442 H will fall on Thursday, August 20, 2020. In Islam, Muharam is the first month in the Hijri calendar. It is a historic month that has many privileges for Muslims.
Different from the AD calendar based on the rotation of the sun, the hijri calendar or also called qomariah dating is based on the rotation of the moon. Therefore, it is also called the lunar calendar calculation. A year in this hijri calendar is shorter by 11 to 12 days than the AD calendar or solar calendar.
History of Hijri Calendar
The Hijri calendar was actually only officially used by Muslims in the period after the Prophet died. The use of the new hijri calendar was officially established during the reign of Caliph Umar ibn Khattab.
Initially, Umar ibn Khattab received a letter from a friend of the Prophet Muhammad named Abu Musa Al-Asy’ari who was not accompanied by the victim and the day of his delivery.
Umar then realized there were difficulties when archiving and selecting the order of letters.
Therefore, Umar then ordered the implementation of deliberations involving experts and companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him), to arrange a calendar that specifically applies in Islam.
In the deliberation, some proposed to Umar to make the bi’tsah event of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) as the beginning of the calendar.
While in other accounts Umar is mentioned as the one who proposed that the Islamic calendar refers to the time of birth or appointment of the Prophet Muhammad as The Prophet.
However, Ali ibn Abi Talib did not approve of the proposal. Ali then proposed the beginning of the calendar in Islam starting from the year of the hijrah of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Mecca to Medina.
This proposal was accepted by the participants of the deliberations and Umar then established the use of the official calendar belonging to Muslims on the 8th of Rabi’ul Early in 17 H.
The name of this Muslim calendar is Hijri because it makes the prophet’s hijrah event as the beginning of the calendar. So, why is Muharam designated as the first month in the calendar of the Hijri year?
Muharam is designated as the first month of the Hijri calendar because in this month, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) first intends and plans to emigrate.
After planning the hijrah, the Prophet realized his intention by leaving the city of Mecca on Thursday at the end of the month of Shafar and out of his hiding place from the cave of Tsur on 2 Rabiul Awal or September 20, 622 AD to head to Medina.
The year when this event occurred is designated as the year 1 Hijri.