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Islamic New Year 1434 AH

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The Islamic New Year, also know as the Hijri New Year marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar year, with Muharram being the first month. The first Islamic year took place in 622 CE, during which Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) emigrated from Mecca to Medina, this is known as the Hijra. The Islamic year is eleven to twelve days shorter than the Gregorian year, and as such, does not begin at the same time each year following the Gregorian calendar. Astronomical calculations are most commonly used to determine the start of the new year. The beginning of a day in the Islamic calendar is marked by the setting of the sun, and is concluded by the next day's sunset. This year, the Islamic New Year began on November 14th. The New Year celebration is a quiet one, marked by prayers or readings, as well as silent marches in certain parts of the Islamic world, meant to act as a time for reflection,  gratitude to God and spiritual renewal.

The Imam Husayn (as) Shrine in Karbala, Iraq

In contrast, the tenth day of Muharram, known as Ashura, is a day of mourning. Commemorated by Shi'a Muslims, this day mourns the martyrdom of Husayn ibn Ali (A.S.) at the Battle of Karbala in 680 CE. Husayn (A.S.) is an important figure in Islam, the grandson of Muhammad (P.B.U.H.) and the third Imam, he refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid of the Umayyad Caliphate as he regarded them to be unjust rulers. Husayn ibn Ali (A.S.) opposed Yazid and declared that Umayyad rule was not only oppressive, but also religiously misguided. In his view the integrity and survival of the Islamic community depended on the re-establishment of the correct guidance. Husayn (A.S.) also believed that the succession of Yazid was an attempt to establish an illegitimate hereditary dynasty. On October 10th 680 CE, Husayn Ibn Ali (A.S.) was martyred in the Battle of Karbala. The martyrdom, and the anger following his death resulted in the eventual overthrowing of the Umayyad Caliphate. In Muslim regions of countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, the commemoration of Husayn ibn Ali (A.S.) has been declared a national holiday, and even in the predominantly Hindu country of India, Ashura is also a national holiday.    

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