Gambia: Call On Islam

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The Muslim calendar is named the Hijra Calendar, after the Holy Prophet's hijra or emigration to Madinah in CE 622, and dates are counted from that event. The letters AH (short for the latin Anno Hegirae) are written alongside the date.

So the year 1422 Ah will begin during the year CE 2000. Each Islamic month lasts from one full moon to the next, which makes the year 11 days shorter than the ordinary year. Because of this, festivals do not happen in the same season every year. During the year, Muslims celebrate important dates in the life of the prophet, including his birth, his last pilgrimage, his death and the first revelation of the Quran by the angel Gabriel. The festivals vary in importance in different countries, apart from the two Eids, which all Muslims celebrate.

The Lunar Calendar

Each lunar month starts when the crescent moon appears, so the Islamic month can last for 29 or 30 days. The sighting of the crescent moon is absolutely essential, because it is the only sure sign that the new month has begun. Muslim countries often have a national observatory for the sighting of the moon, where scientific methods are used to find the crescent-even on days. When the weather makes it impossible to see with the naked eye.

The news is broadcast on radio and television, and everyone has a day off to celebrate. Outside the Muslim world, special Islamic calendars help people keep track of religious dates. The other thing of the day. When Muslims in Europe fats in summer (for example during Ramadan), they cannot eat for nearly 18 hours, but in winter their fast last only nine hours.

The New Year Procession

The Muslim New Year is a sad time, unlike New Year in the Western world. It was on the tenth day of Muharram, at New Year, that the prophet's grandson Husain was killed in Karbala during a holy war. All Muslims remember this event in some way, but Shia Muslims, like these ones in Iran, mourn openly. They commemorate the Holy war in public and private gatherings.Processions are held on the tenth day of the month, the day Imman Husain was Martyred.

Tazias

The tazia is a colourful model of the tombs of the martyrs of Karbala. It is carried in the shia Muharram procession and usually laid to rest in a lake or river. Some Muslims disapprove of this custom.

Islamic Calendar

Muharram

1st - The Day of Hijra (New Year)

10th - Commemoration of the Battle of Karbala

Safar

Rabi-ul-Awwal

12th - Maulid-ul-Nabi (Birthday of the Prophet)

Rabi-ul-Akhir

Jamada-al-Awwal

Jamada-al-Akhir

Rajab

27th - Isra wal Miry (Ascent of Muhammed to heaven)

Sha'bah (Ramadan)

The month of fasting

27th - Lailat-ul-Qadr (God's message to Muhammed)

Shawwal

1st - Eid-ul-Firt (Feast of Breaking of the fast)

Dhul-Qada

Dhul-Hijjah

8th - 13th - Haj pilgrimage at Makkah

10th - Eid-ul-Adha (feast of the sacrifice)

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