While pretty much the whole world officially uses the Gregorian calendar, as Muslims, we also have to be mindful of the Islamic Lunar calendar, i.e., the Hijri calendar. The main purpose of keeping track of the Hijri calendar is to know when special occasions take place.
While it's hard for most of us to keep track of both calendars, having a general look at the dates of the Important Islamic days of 2023 gives us a sense of temporal awareness. Since the lunar year is shorter by 11 days than the solar year, the Hijri year always changes.
This article is about the most important Islamic days of 2023.
1 Rajab 1444 takes place on Monday, 23 January 2023
1 Syaaban 1444 takes place on Tuesday, 21 February 2023
1 Ramadan 1444 takes place on Thursday, 23 March 2023
1 Shawwal 1444 takes place on Friday, 21 April 2023
1 Zulkaedah 1444 takes place on Sunday, 21 May 2023
1 Zulhijjah 1444 takes place on Monday, 19 July 2023
1 Muharram 1445 takes place on Wednesday, 19 July 2023
1 Safar 1445 takes place on Thursday, 17 August 2023
1 Rabiulawal 1445 takes place on Saturday, 16 September 2023
1 Rabiulakhir 1445 takes place on Monday, 16 October 2023
1 Jamadilawal 1445 takes place on Wednesday, 15 November 2023
1 Jamadilakhir 1445 takes place on Thursday, 14 December 2023
More about the Islamic Calendar is in this other article.
28 Rajab 1444 – Ascension starts on Friday, February 17, and ends on the evening of Saturday, February 18.
During the celebration of the Isra and Miraj, Muslims remember the occasion when the Prophet (SAW) rode the back of the buraq from Mecca to the Holy Land before ascending to the seven levels of heaven. In his Isra and Miraj chronicles, The Prophet (SAW) met the Prophets who came before him. The Prophet returned home with the instructions of the five daily prayers.
In celebration of this occasion, Muslims conduct sermons and read the Surat al-Isra from the Holy Quran.
15 Syaaban 1444 - Celebrated on Wednesday, March 8, which is also International Women's Day.
Nisfu Syaaban occurs the night between 14 and 15 Syaaban. This holiday is considered a night of divine mercy and serendipity. Muslims seek forgiveness from God throughout the whole night through rigorous zikr and prayer. Many people also fast during the day.
1 Ramadan 1444 – Starts on Wednesday, March 22
Ramadan is the month of delight for all Muslims. We all wait for the next Ramadan to return as soon as we say goodbye to the current one.
Aside from the delightful spirit that comes with this holy month, each new Ramadan is an opportunity to get closer to God through praying the Taraweeh, Giving zakat, charity, rigorous Quran study, and spiritual introspection. Ramadan is a temporal school that teaches us the art of living, according to the standards of our faith.
17 Ramadan 1444 – Begins in the evening of Friday, April 7, and ends in the evening of Saturday, April 8.
Nuzul Quran is the day of celebrating the first quranic revelations. Also known as the Holy Qur’an Revelation Day, it's during this day that the Prophet (SAW) received his message from God (via the Angel Gibril) in the cave on Mount Hira which is located nearby Mecca. The first Quranic revelation comes from surat Al-Alaq.
“Recite in the name of your Lord who created – Created man from a clinging substance. Recite and your Lord is the most Generous – Who taught by the pen – Taught man that which he knew not.” [Quran, 96: 1-5]
1 Shawwal 1444 - Takes place on Friday, April 21.
Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan. The day is declared when the first sight of the new moon can be seen in the sky, which means there will be no tarawih prayer that night. On the cheerful day of Eid Al-Fitr, you can hear the echoes of the takbeer all over the Muslim world. Eid Al-Fitr is also when families and loved ones get together.
10 Zulhijjah 1444 – Celebrated from sundown on Wednesday, June 28, and ends at sundown on Thursday, June 29.
Eid al-Adha represents the celebration of the devotion of Ibrahim to God and his commands. He was willing to sacrifice his son, Ismail, for the sake of God, only to have him replaced by a lamb. Eid al-Adha is also an opportunity for silat al-rahim with loved ones and friends.
1 Muharram 1445 – Takes place on Wednesday, July 19.
The 1st moon of Muharram is the beginning day of a new lunar year cycle. The importance of this day comes from it being a commemoration of the Prophet's (SAW) Hijrah chronicles when he left Mecca for Medina in 622 CE.
10 Muharram 1445 – Begins the evening of Thursday, July 28, and ends in the evening of Friday, July 29.
The day of Ashura occurs on the tenth day of Muharram. It's a day that celebrates the chronicles of the Prophet Musa's (Moses) exodus to the land of Israel via the Red Sea. Escaped from the Pharaoh and his army, Musa led his people toward the promised land by splitting the sea. It's sunnah for us to fast and give sadaqah during this day.
12 Rabiulawal 1445 – Begins in the evening of Tuesday, September 26, and ends in the evening of Thursday, September 28 (depends on the area, for example in Morocco, it's a 2-day celebration).
Mawlid Nabawi marks the birthday of the Prophet (SAW), a day of delight for most Muslims and is usually celebrated around the globe. In Morocco, festivals are usually held in the big cities that take 2-3 days to celebrate this special occasion.
On a final note, I hope 2023/1445 will be a good, pious year for you to enjoy life and get closer to God.
Cover Image Credit: Debby Hudson on Unsplash