Muslim holidays

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There are two main holidays in Islam: Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha. Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting), and Muslims usually give zakat (charity) on the occasion. Eid Al-Adha is celebrated at the end of Hajj (annual pilgrimage to Mecca), and Muslims usually sacrifice an animal and distribute its meat amongst family, friends and the poor.

All Islamic holidays follow the lunar calendar, and thus move each year relative to the solar calendar. The Islamic calendar has 12 months and 354 or 355 days.

Contents

Eid holidays

Other occasions

Ashura Day

Ashura is commemorated by Muslims on the ninth and tenth days of Muharram on the Islamic Calendar. Ashura is an Arabic word meaning "tenth", and according to Islamic schools of thought it is a day of optional fasting. Jews in the city of Madina fasted only one day, on Yom Kippur, the 10th of Tishrei because they believe that Prophet Moses fasted on this day; so the Prophet Muhammad would fast too, to express the continuity of Islam and brotherhood with the earlier Prophet. According to Islamic tradition, Prophet Muhammad fasted along with the neighboring Jewish communities on this occasion, and according to narrations, Prophet Muhammad fasted on the 10th of Muharram and said that if he lived to the next year he would also fast the 9th Muharram. According to Ibn Abbas, Prophet Muhammad said: "If I survive till next year, I will definitely observe fast on the 9th of Muharram (as well)." [Quoted in Sahih Muslim ]

By Islamic tradition, this day commemorates God saving Moses and the Israelites from Pharaoh in Egypt as they crossed the Red Sea (the Exodus day). According to Judaism, the Israelites left Egypt on the first day of Passover, and they crossed the Red Sea seven days later on the 21st of Nisan, both of which are celebrated as holidays with meals.

Sunni schools of thought commemorate it through optional fasting on the 9th and tenth, while Shia Muslims through self-flagellation and passion plays about Muhammad's grandson, Husayn ibn Ali and his martyrdom in the Battle of Karbala.

Laylat ul Isra and Miraj

Laylat ul Isra and Mi'raj is Arabic for the “Night of the Journey and Ascension”. It is on 27th of Rajab. It is the night when Muhammad was, according to Hadiths, taken to “the furthest mosque” (generally understood to be Jerusalem) on a Buraq (a beast resembling horse with wings; some people consider it a cherub) and ascended to the highest level of the heavens. It is said that he requested God to reduce the number of prayers, which started at fifty a day, but on his way down he met Moses, who asked him to ask for a reduction in the number because the requirement was difficult for Muhammad's people. Muhammad returned to God and several times asked for, and was granted a reduction of five prayers, until the number was reduced to five in total, with the blessing that if they were properly performed, the performers would be credited with fifty prayers instead of five. The event of this Night has also been described in Quran in Part 15 the beginning of Surah Isra.

Laylat al-Qadr

Laylat al-Qadr is Arabic for “The Night of Power”. It falls on one of the last ten days of Ramadan usually on an odd numbered day. It is considered the holiest night of the year, since it is the night in which the Qur'an was first revealed. It is also considered better than a thousand months [Quran 97:1–3]. It is said that if a person performs voluntary worship on this night, that worship is equal to a thousand months or approximately 80 years.

Religious practice

Fasting

Ramadan is the month in which Muslims must fast from dawn to sunset. This is meant to feel how the poor people are without food or water. In addition, Muslims close their bodies off from earthly demands by denying themselves food and drink. This in turn allows for the nourishment of the soul.

Fasting is more than just the mere denial of food and drink. While they are fasting Muslims must also abstain from smoking and sexual contact. In addition, there are culture-specific beliefs regarding the watching of television, listening to music, and the perusal of any secular vice that does not in some way enhance spirituality.

Pilgrimage

Hajj

Umrah

Calendar

Festive day[1]1431 AH1432 AH1433 AH1434 AH1435 AH
Islamic New Year18 December 20097 December 201026 November 201115 November 20124 November 2013
Ashura27 December 200916 December 20105 December 201124 November 201213 November 2013
Mawlid an-Nabi26 February 201015 February 20114 February 201224 January 201313 January 2014
Laylat al-Miraj9 July 201029 June 201117 June 20126 June 201326 May 2014
Laylat al-Baraat27 July 201016 July 20115 July 201224 June 201313 June 2014
Ramadan[2]11 August 20101 August 201120 July 20129 July 201328 June 2014
Laylat al-Qadr[2]6 September 201027 August 201115 August 20124 August 201324 July 2014
Eid al-Fitr[2]10 September 201030 August 201119 August 20128 August 201328 July 2014
Eid al-Adha[2]16 November 20106 November 201126 October 201215 October 20134 October 2014
  1. ^ Dates based on the Umm al-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia
  2. ^ a b c d These dates can be advanced or delayed by one day, depending on the first sighting of the lunar crescent in Saudi Arabia

External links