Al Hijri, the Islamic New Year, starts on the 7th of July

The date marks Prophet Muhammad's migration from Mecca to Medina, beginning Muharram, the first sacred month in the Islamic calendar.
Thalita Lima
6 min
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Have you heard about Al Hijri, also known as Al-Hijrah in Arabic? It refers to the Islamic New Year and is also the name of the Islamic Calendar.

In 2024, the date will be the 7th of July (of the Gregorian calendar), with the celebration starting the night before.

This is a significant event for Muslims. As we are always encouraging on this blog the broadening of culture and the relation of this to better translation, here is an opportunity to learn.

What does Al Hijri represent?

According to Islamic tradition, this day remembers the occasion when the Prophet Muhammed, and his followers, migrated from Mecca to Medina, around 622 AD.

The word Hijri is derived from Hijra, meaning migration

For Muslims, is the beginning of the first month, rich in prayers and significance. They believe that good deeds are multiplied, and any wrongdoing is more serious from this date and during the first sacred month. 

It is a time to reflect on the journey and struggle of Prophet Muhammad and the Muslims of his time. 

How is Al Hijri celebrated?

Unlike the often festive and extrovert New Year celebrations of other calendars, the Islamic New Year is usually a quiet occasion. During this time, Muslims reflect on the passage of time and their mortality. It’s a moment of introspection and spiritual contemplation.

Image by Aldin Nasrun on

Special prayers and sermons are conducted in mosques and some public venues. These gatherings offer a space for worship and reflection in the community, reinforcing the spiritual significance of the Islamic New Year.

Al Hijri is celebrated as a public holiday in most Islamic countries. While customs and traditions vary among different Islamic sects (the two largest are Sunni and Shia), most of them have recitations and acts of worship.

To understand all this meaning, it helps to know how the Islamic calendar is structured.

The Islamic Calendar

This is the second most-used calendar in the world (the first is the Gregorian calendar). 

Consists of 12 months, each with 29 or 30 days. In total, there are 11 to 12 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, totaling 354 or 355 days. That’s why the Al Hijrah event can fall on a different day every year. 

It’s a lunar calendar. In the Islamic Calendar, the days begin at sunset, and the sighting of a new moon determines the start of a new month.

The image below shows the months in the Islamic calendar: 

Image by

Some of these months deserve a highlight.

  • Muharram - The Month of Allah

When the Hijri New Year arrives, it enters the Muharram (the first month of the calendar). It’s a sacred month to Muslims, known as the month of remembrance. 

According to the holy Qur’an (Koran), Muharram is the first of four sacred months, which are: Muharram, Rajab, Dhu al-Qadah, Dhu'l-Hijjah. 

Image by

The meaning of Muharam is forbidden, referring to the fact that any kind of warfare is forbidden. The Muslims practice worship, charity, and prayers during this month.

On the 10th day of Muharram, an event named Ashura takes place. The Day of Ashura is the day of the martyrdom of Imam Hussain in the Battle of Karbala.  

It’s a special date that is across many traditions. It marks Noah’s leaving the Ark. Also, marks Moses crossing the Red Sea, freed by Allah from the Pharaoh and his army, an important occasion for Hebrews. 

Muslims usually use the day before or after the 10th to fast. They believe fasting expiates sins.

  • Ramadan - The Month of Fasting
Ramadan in Dubai, United Arab Emiratesby Rumman Amin on

Ramadan is probably the most known period of the Islamic calendar, and it is celebrated in the ninth month.

Muslims believe that during Ramadan, the Qur’an was revealed to Prophet Muhammad. This is a period to be observed with fasting from dawn until sunset. 

The fast, known as Sawm, is one of the Five Pillars of Islam, making it a fundamental aspect of the Islamic faith. It includes abstaining from food, drink, smoking, and marital relations during daylight hours. 

The pre-dawn meal, known as Suhoor, and the meal to break the fast, at sunset, called Iftar, are important daily rituals. Iftar often begins with the eating of dates and drinking of water, following the practice of Prophet Muhammad (The Prophet Mohammed used to eat dates to break his fast and the Koran mentions them 23 times). 

Dates fruit is symbolic to Muslimsby Masjid Pogung Dalangan on

This month is also a time for increased prayer, reading of the Quran, and engaging in acts of charity and kindness. The nightly prayers, or Tarawih, are performed at mosques and involve recitation of the Quran.

The culmination of Ramadan is marked by the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the Festival of Breaking the Fast, a joyous occasion with gatherings, feasting, and giving of gifts, and charity. 

Ramadan brings a sense of community, compassion, and renewal of faith among Muslims globally.

Ramadan fasting was a polemic in European soccer

Image by

In 2023, the practice of fasting during Ramadan sparked controversy in European soccer and it ended up in the media. At the San Siro stadium in Milan, during a match between Inter Milan and Fiorentina, Moroccan player Sofyan Amrabat took advantage of a break in medical care for a colleague to eat and break his Ramadan fast. 

The scene was arranged by the players to draw attention to the need to respect players who follow the Islamic religious tradition.

Some clubs, like Liverpool, adjust their training routines to support their players. Others have not been so understanding. The French Football Federation (FFF) announced a ban on interruptions to matches so that Muslim players could break their fast at dusk. 

The justification was the principles of secularism of the French state and religious neutrality in sport, but the decision was widely criticized by players and fans. 

In contrast, the Premier League has authorized Muslim players to break their fast during natural breaks in play, such as substitutions or VAR consultations. The inclusive approach was celebrated. 

The controversy reflects a wider debate about religious tolerance. In this case, it was soccer, but it could be applied to other environments.

Each culture has its rituals. If even the way we celebrate the arrival of a new cycle (a new year) is so different, it’s crucial to find a balance between the respecting beliefs of one group without damaging the rights of others. 

Do you think that neutrality is a value to be pursued in the translation market? Is there a universal Spanish, a global English, or a standard Arabic, or is each variant unique and should be considered?



Islamic Hijri Calendar. Islamic Relief. Available on: <>

Islamic New Year. National Today. Available on: <>

Muharram 2024: Sacred Month of Allah. Islamic Relief. Available on: <>
Por que o jejum do Ramadã virou polêmica no futebol europeu. Placar, 23/3/2023. Available on: <>.

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