Just like any country’s calendar would have important dates marked, so would a Muslim’s calendar. Since Muslims follow the lunar calendar however, it is eleven days shorter than the Gregorian year. There are still 12 months, it’s just that the Islamic year moves forward 11 days each year, so the significant days and events don’t fall on the same date according the solar calendar every year.
While this might seem confusing, it is actually quite exciting as each month is determined by sighting the crescent of the new moon. A moon-sighting committee is put in charge of this by the Islamic authority in each country so the regular layman doesn’t have to go looking for the moon every month. For the most important month of the year though, Ramadan, it does become something of an event – as with Eid Al-Fitr, the end of Ramadan.
Islamic holidays don’t always coincide with public holiday depending on which country you’re in, so it is important to know what the Muslim holidays are and their corresponding dates with the Gregorian calendar that we all follow. The most popular are Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha, but there are a few more to be mindful of, as well as what you should do on the day, if at all.
It is important to note that since the beginning of each month is not fixed, but determined when the crescent is sighted – some months may have 29 days and the others 30 – the following Gregorian dates are subject to change. Please follow your local authority’s Islamic Calendar 2019 for your assurance. All dates mentioned are as per the Islamic calendar in Singapore.
So here is a concise table with all the Muslim holidays and events in 2019. Different countries may celebrate more days than this as per their culture, so this might not be all-inclusive of Islamic holy days and Muslim festivals around the world in 2019.
|EVENT||ISLAMIC DATE||WHAT IT IS||WHAT WE DO||GREGORIAN DATE|
|Hajj||5th to 8th Dhul Hijjah||It is the once-in-a-lifetime pilgrimage that Muslims undertake if they have the financial means to do so. People leave for Makkah weeks before the actual day to take the time to worship in the most holy place. They perform a series of rituals during the days of Hajj that end with the celebration of Eid-ul-Adha.||Those who don’t perform Hajj use the first nine days of the month to worship extra – fasting on all the days if possible, or at least the 9th day; reciting Qur’an; asking du’a, helping others; and more.||17th to 20th August 2018|
|Arafah||9th Dhul Hijjah||One of the most holy days of the year, most Muslim countries mark this day as a public holiday on their calendar so that people can engage in as much worship as possible.||Most Muslims try to fast at least on this day, but the most crucial thing that one can do is make du’a –prepare a list of whatever you want to ask and ask away! It is one of the times where requests ARE granted.||21st August 2018|
|Eid Al-Adha||10th Dhul Hijjah||This marks the second Eid of the year for Muslims, a short two months after the first one. What separates this one from Eid Al-Fitr is that those who can afford to slaughter an animal, do so. They keep one third for their family, one third for extended family and neighbours, and give one third in charity.||The slaughtering is done soon after Eid prayers so most of the morning passes with the men at the abattoir (or wherever they decide to get the animal sacrificed) and in the distribution of meat. It is due to this reason that this Eid is known as the Eid of Sacrifice, or Eid of Meat as many families use that meat to make festive delicacies. Muslims also call out the praises of Allah after each prayer for three continuous days in remembrance of Him.||22nd August 2018|
|Islamic New Year||1st Muharram||The first month in the Islamic calendar is Muharram, and marks the new year for Muslims. In 2018, the year 1440 begins – one thousand four hundred and forty years since the Prophet (pbuh) migrated from his hometown in Makkah to the more welcoming land of Madinah. The event was so significant that it marks the beginning of every year in a Muslim’s life.||There isn’t anything special that Muslims do on this day. If they are aware of the history which this day commemorates, it is a good opportunity to reflect on the hardships our Prophet (pbuh) faced and the lessons they can learn from it. Many Islamic countries give this day off as a public holiday the same way New Year is a public holiday everywhere.||11th September 2018|
|Ashura||10th Muharram||For Sunni Muslims, this was the day that Moses escaped from the hands of Pharoah, split the Red Sea and crossed to safety with his people. For Shia Muslims, in addition to that, they remember it as the day that Hussain, the Prophet’s grandson, was killed.||Most Sunni’s fast on this day as a form of worship, following the example of the Jews who fasted in gratitude for being saved from a life of torture. Shias mourn the death of Hussain, some re-enacting parts of the Battle of Karbala.||20th September 2018|
|Milad Un-Nabi||12th Rabi’ Ul-Awwal||Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)’s birthday.||In some countries, parades are organised to run through the cities in celebration of this day. Different countries have different cultures and so may do different things, but according to Islam, there is no specific way to mark this day, or even any evidence that it was celebrated at all in previous times.||20th November 2018|
|Ramadan||1st to 30th Ramadan||Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar and the one that is most looked forward to by all Muslims as they fast the whole month. While every Islamic month begins by sighting the crescent of the new moon, for no other month do the general public anticipate and become a part of this sighting as for Ramadan.||The month is noted for the 1.8 billion Muslims across the world that fast from dawn to dusk, engage in more worship, more charity, and try to be more spiritual. There are special night prayers that take place only in Ramadan after the last prayer of the day that is optional, but highly rewarded and one of the highlights of the month.||6th May 2019|
|Laylatul Qadr||21st to 29th night of Ramadan||The most special night to Muslims in the entire year, Laylatul Qadr is the Night of Decree. It is when the decree for the whole year to follow for each and every Muslim comes down with angels, thus making a very peaceful night.||People engage in intense worship as du’a can change decree, and any worship done on this night is multiplied immensely – as if they have been worshipping for 1000 months, the Qur’an says. An interesting fact is that no one knows which night it falls on (even though the common misconception is that it’s on the 27th) and so we are told to seek it out in the last ten nights of Ramadan by certain signs that it possesses. Following this advice and not just sticking to the 27th night gives a better chance of attaining the gold mine of reward.||26th May to 3rd June 2019|
|Eid Al-Fitr||1st Shawwal||The first day after the month of Ramadan is celebrated by looking for the new moon the night before. Thus Ramadan can have 29 or 30 days. It is the first major celebration in a Muslim’s year.||The day starts by eating something small like a date before Eid prayers to signify that one is not fasting, and is then celebrated in different ways around the world. It is common to exchange presents or give money to children (also known as Eidi), wear new clothes, and visit friends and relatives.||5th June 2019|
Whether you are planning a vacation or simply getting prepared for the Islamic holidays in 2019, it is important for every Muslim to make note of the important dates in the Islamic Religious Calendar.