The Islamic calendar (Arabic: التقويم الهجري) is a calendar. It is used to determine islamic holidays in most of Islam. It is a lunar calendar. It has 12 months, and 354 or 355 days. This means that each year, the calendar is about 11 days shorter than a solar calendar, like the Gregorian. Islamic years are often called hijra years, because the first year of the calendar when the hijra occurred, that is when Muhammad went from Mecca to Medina.
The current Islamic Calendar year is 1440 AH (AH = Anno Hegiræ = Hijri year).
Two Islamic countries (Iran and Afghanistan) use a different calendar, the Solar Higri Calendar.
A lunar month (one new moon to the next) lasts a little over 29.5 days. For convenience, a month is the Islamic calendar is either 29 days or 30 days, one after the other. So a 29 day month is followed by a 30 day month (29+30 is the same as 29.5+29.5). In most years, that means that a year of 12 calendar months last 354 days. But that "a little over" is 44 minutes every month so, to keep the calendar in step with reality, an extra day is needed nearly every third year, so these years are 355 days long.
|Months Number||Month name
|3||Rabīʿ al-Awwal||the first spring|
|4||Rabīʿ al-Thānī or Rabī’ al-Ākhir||the second spring|
|5||Jumādá al-Ūlá||the first of dry land|
|6||Jumādá al-Ākhirah||the last of dry land|
|11||Dhū al-Qa‘dah||the one of sitting|
|12||Dhū al-Ḥijjah||the one of pilgrimage (Hajj)|
- The timing of the months in the Islamic calendar is based on astronomical observation. A new month can only begin after a Waxing Crescent Moon is observed shortly after sunset. The Waxing Crescent Moon is the Moon phase which starts right after a New Moon.
- Emile Biémont, Rythmes du temps, Astronomie et calendriers, De Borck, 2000, 393p.