SHAFAQNA – Muharram, the first month in the Islamic calendar, will begin this week as Muslims observe the Islamic New Year most likely on 15 October, depending on the moon sighting.
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has declared a public holiday on 15 October for the Islamic new year, also known as the Hijri New Year or Al-Hijra.
In Pakistan, the central Hilal Committee or the moon-sighting committee will look for the crescent moon on Wednesday night, which will mark the beginning of Muharram on Thursday.
The Islamic new year marks Prophet Mohammed’s journey from Mecca to Medina in what was the Gregorian year 622 AD. The Prophet’s journey is referred to as ‘hijira’.
The upcoming Islamic year will be 1437 AH (after hijra).
In Lebanon all state institutions, government offices, public schools and municipalities will be closed Wednesday in observance of the Islamic New Year. The announcement came in a circular issued by Prime Minister Tammam Salam.
Shia Muslims mark Ashura on this day as a mourning for the death of Prophet Mohammed’s grandson Imam Hussein, who died in the battle of Karbala.
Many Shiites participate in processions and self-flagellation as part of the mourning.