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Muharram 2020 Moon: Saudi Arabia Calendar switches to Islamic New Year 1442H

Islamic Calendar is based on lunar system and a new month begins with sighting of the moon on 29th of the ongoing month

Thursday August 20, 2020 9:11 AM, ummid.com News Network

Muharram 2020 Moon

Muharram 2020 Moon Sighting Live Update: Newspapers across the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and other Arab states except Oman, have switched to New Islamic Year 1442H marking today i.e. Thursday August 20, 2020 as the first day of the Holy Month of Muharram al Haram.

Local media in Saudi Arabia had late in the evening Wednesday reported that the Muharram moon was sighted at the Tamir Observatory, and hence Thurdsay will be the 1st day of the holy month and the Islamic New Year 1442H.

An official confirmation by the religious authrities however is still awaited, though various Arab states have announced Sunday August 23, 2020 as Islamic New Year holiday.

08:30 pm (Makkah Time): The new moon pronouncing the start of the Holy Month of Muharram al Haram is sighted in Saudi Arabia today i.e. Wednesday, local media claimed.

"The crescent of Muharram is spotted at the Tamir Observatory, and tomorrow i.e. Thursday August 20, 2020 is the beginning of the new year 1442 H", Akhbar as-Saudia reported a little while ago, though an official announcement by Saudi religious authorities is awaited.

Accordingly, Youme Ashura, which coincides with 10th of Muharram, will be observed on Saturday August 29, 2020.

The Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, Oman had officially announced the start of Muharram from Friday, August 21, 2020.

08:00 pm (Makkah Times): The Ministry of Endowment and Religious Affairs, Oman has announced that the new moon is not sighted today, and hence Friday, August 21, will be the first day of Muharram al Haram.

06:00 pm (Makkah Times): A formal moon sighting announcement of the Holy Month of Muharram al Haram will be made by authorities in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Iran, Kuwait and other Muslim states by 07:30 pm Makkah time today.

The moon sighting announcement of a new month of the Islamic Calendar is made after Maghrib prayers offered post sunset.

09:30 am (Makkah Time): A general appeal has been issued by authorities in Saudi Arabia and the moon sighting committees in Iran, United Arab Emirate (UAE), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar and other Muslim states to witness the new moon of the Holy month of Muharram al Haram today on Wednesday August 19, 2020 corresponding to 29th of Dhul Hijjah 1441 AH to decide the first day of the Islamic Hijri Calendar.

"Anyone seeing the moon by the naked eye or the telescope to notify the nearest court and register a testimony or contact the nearest center to help him/her reach the nearest court," Muharram 2020 moon sighting appeals said.

First month of the Islamic Calendar

Muharram al Haram is the first month of the Islamic Calendar. Hence, if the new moon is sighted today the New Islamic Year i.e. 1442 Hijrah will start from Thursday August 20, 2020.

In case the new moon is not sighting today, August 20 will be counted as the 30th day of Dhul Hijjah and the month of Muharram, and the Islamic New Year 1442H, will start from Friday August 21, 2020.

This is because the Islamic Calendar is based on lunar system and a new month begins with sighting of the moon on 29th of the ongoing month. If moon is sighted on 29th day, new month begins from the next day, else the next day is counted as 30th day and the new month begins a day later.

Meanwhile, Muslims in the United States, UK, Germany, Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, New Zealand, Canada, Tutkey, Jordan, Egypt, Palestine, Bahrain, Japan, South Korea and in other countries will also decide today the start date of Islamic New Year 1442.

Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries will however decide tomorrow i.e. Thursday August 20, 2020 the start of Muharram 2020 and the Islamic New year.

About Islamic Calendar

The Islamic Calendar was established 1441 years ago by the second Caliph Omar ibn Khattab. Before that Muslims in their respective provinces, following the Arab tradition of the time, were counting the days and months – with sighting of the new moon and counting the days thereafter without following any particular calendar or dating system.

After the Islamic State spread to new areas beyond the Arab land, the limitation in the system began to surface and the need for a better and accurate calendar was felt.

"The Caliph, the Supreme Head of the Islamic State, was used to issue all the Guidelines and Pronouncements to the Governors of various Islamic Provinces from Madinah. Things were actually working fine", Rehnuma, a student of Islamic studies, explains.

"But confusion arose when contradictory orders started reaching far away provinces at the same time. Since these orders were not carrying any date, it became very difficult for the Governors to find out which one of the orders was the latest and supposed to be followed with", she adds.

To overcome the confusion, Caliph Omar finally decided to introduce the Islamic Calendar and asked the people for their opinions and suggestions on the matter.

Events Associated with Muharram

Consequently, various historical events, including the year when Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) was born, the year of the Prophethood, the time of Migration and the time when the Prophet had died, were proposed by the people.

"However unanimity surfaced for the year that coincided with the migration of the Prophet (peace be upon him) from Makkah as the commencing year of the Islamic Calendar. For, it was the migration of Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) from Makkah to Madinah that had resulted Islam nurturing into the new heights and spreading to the whole Arab lands, and also to the surrounding States", Rehnuma says quoting from the history.

"Moreover, Moharram al-Haram was also associated with many historical events and the month has always been considered as one among the four most respected and sacred months since centuries. These features only added strength to the selection of Moharram al-Haram as the first month of the Islamic calendar", she added.

Youm e Ahsura coincides with 10th of Muharram. This is the day when Prophet Moses (Peace be upon him) was liberated from Pharaoh. The day is also remembered for the Sahadah of Hadhrat Hussain (R. A.) - the grandson of Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

The Islamic Calendar thus introduced and adopted some 1,441 years ago, soon became popular, and also became part and partial of the calendars in every Muslim household.

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