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Muslim Holidays

Author: (---)
Date: 12-25-02 21:52 PST

I found the following article on the internet, giving an explanation of the Muslim calendar, followed by a list of the Muslim holidays. I thought it was interesting, so I decided to share it with all of you.

(---, if any of this information is incomplete or incorrect, please add any necessary corrections).


Islam is a universal religion founded in Saudi Arabia by the Prophet Muhammad, following the first revelation of the Qu'ran to him by the Angel Gabriel in 610. The Muslim holy scripture is the Qur'an. Muslim holy tradition is also reflected in the Hadith. The Muslim creed is: "There is no god but God, and Muhammad is the Messenger of God." Muslims recognize the one Deity to have a multitude of names and attributes. They pray 5 times daily facing Mecca. Muslims also attend Mosques for prayer, Qur'anic readings, and Qur'anic interpretation on Fridays. Muslim denominations include the Sunni, the Shi'a, and the Sufi. The main difference between the Sunnis and the Shi'ites relate to the recognition of different successors to Muhammad. Sufis are the mystics of Islam.

The Islamic year is a lunar year, not grounded in the solar year. The Islamic year and Islamic months begin at the first sighting of the New Moon. Islamic days begin and end at sundown. In calculating the beginning of the year and the months, some Muslims use the sighting of the New Moon at their own location; other Muslims use the sighting of the New Moon in Saudi Arabia. Consequently, because Saudi Arabia is 8 hours earlier than North American Eastern Standard time, some Muslims will observe the holiday on the day before the date celebrated here.

New Year - The First of Muharram marks the new year. The date fluctuates (in the Gregorian calendar) from year to year as it is based on the Islamic lunar calendar.

Ashura is celebrated on the ninth and tenth month of Muharram. The word ashura means "ten" and is a time of fasting, reflection and meditation. Jews of the city of Medina fasted on the tenth day in remembrance of their salvation from the Pharaoh, and the Prophet Muhammad pledged he would fast for two days instead of one in this same remembrance, but he died the following year and so never fasted as he had hoped.

For many Muslims there is joy in commemorating all of the wonderful events traditions say occurred on this day, including: Noah's ark came to rest, the Prophet Abraham was born, the Kaaba was built. Among Shiite Muslims, it is a day of special sorrow commemorating the martyrdom of the Prophet's grandson Hussain and his followers at the battle of Kerbala in Islam's first century. It is commemorated in Shiite communities with reenactment of these events and is a time of mourning.

Mawlud Al-Nabi is the Prophet Muhammad's birthday. It occurs on the twelfth of Rabi Al-Awal of the Islamic calendar.
Speeches are given about the life of the Prophet in gatherings, and dinners are held. This occasion was not celebrated in the early times of Islam and is therefore unevenly celebrated today, with great and festive celebrations in many Muslim countries (i.e. Egypt and Turkey) and none in others (i.e. Saudi Arabia).

Isra wa Al-Miraj - Laylat Al-Isra wa Al-Miraj ("the night journey and ascension") commemorates the journey of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Jerusalem, his ascension into the seven heavens, and his return in the same night. These events acknowledge that all the Abrahamic faiths (Judaism, Christianity and Islam) have one and the same God as their source.

In this night, Muslims believe, the Prophet was instructed to establish the five daily prayers in their current form. On this night, Muslims believe, Muhammad prayed together with Abraham, Moses and Jesus in the area of the Al-Aqsa mosque.

The rock from which he is believed to have ascended to heaven to speak with God is the one seen inside the Dome of the Rock. Isra wa Al-Miraj as it is sometimes called is celebrated on the twenty-seventh of Rajab of the Islamic calendar.

Ramadan - Month of fasting Believers abstain from food, drink or tobacco from sunrise to sunset, and abstain from intimate relations. The beginning of the fast starts at dawn Sahar and the end is sunset, Iftaar when a meal is enjoyed with family and friends.

Laylat Al-Qadr ("the night of power.") falls on one of the last ten days of Ramadan on an odd numbered day (such as the twenty-third, twenty-fifth or twenty-seventh), In the Qur'an this night is said to be equal to one thousand months and on this night the prayers of the sincere Muslim are certain to be answered. Muslims pray throughout the night seeking Allah's glory.

Eid Al-Fitr The Feast of the Breaking of the Fast. Just as festivity becomes the atmosphere when the fast is broken each day at sunset, happiness becomes doublefold when the month of fasting is finally completed and the Eid Al-Fitr is celebrated.

The most elaborate dishes are served at large banquets to which relatives and friends are invited. These colorful celebrations are the climax of the sense of fullfiliment characterizing,a month of fasting and hardships, increasing the bonds of connectedness among humankind and between humankind and God.

Eid Al-Adha ("The Feast of the Sacrifice") commemorates Abraham's willingness and obedience to sacrifice his son Ishmael to God (and God's mercy in substituting a lamb for Ishmael). This feast is part of the Haj, and takes place on the tenth of Dhu Al-Hijja of the Islamic calendar. For those on the Hajj and for many others the day begins with the sacrifice of an animal in commemoration of the Angel Gabriel's substitution of a lamb as Abraliam's sacrificial obligation. One-third of the meat is given to the poor, with the remainder shared with neighbors and family members.

This holiday is then celebrated in much the same way as Eid Al-Fitr - with good food, gifts for children and general merrymaking.

Rabi Al-Awwal commemorates the Hijrah ("migration") of the Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Medina, and marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar in history (622 A.D.).

Yom Arafat falls on the ninth of Dhu Al-Hijja, when people on the Hajj are assembled for the "standing" at the plain of Arafat (in Mina near Makkah) during the Haj. Muslims around the world gather at the local mosque (masjid) for prayer in spiritual solidarity with those at Arafat.

Laylat Al-Baraa has been translated as "the night of repentence." (Laylat means night). It is the night when forgiveness is granted to those who repent. Muslims believe it is a night when God is setting the coming year's course for each person. It is therefore a time when one asks for God's blessings as well as for any specific request.

Re: Muslim Holidays

Author: (---)
Date: 12-26-02 11:47 PST

as far as I know those are correct dates.
but i wish Berry was around to confirm it.
it was interesting for me too,
because most of this are according to the Sunni's Calender....the Arabic countries!!
the month of Muharram ,is the month of mouning, not celebration for the Shiiat.
no wedding or fesivities on this month specially on Tasua and Ashura days...



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