Islamic Calendar Quiz

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What is the Hijri calendar used for?

To determine the proper days of Islamic holidays and rituals

When was the Hijri era established as the Islamic New Year?

622 CE

What is the first month of the Islamic calendar?

Muharram

How many lunar months are in a year of the Islamic calendar?

12

Which of the following months is not considered sacred in the Hijri calendar?

Rabi' al-awwal

What is the traditional practice for determining the start-date of a month in the Islamic calendar?

The first sighting of the hilal (crescent moon) shortly after sunset

What is the Tabular Islamic calendar?

A rule-based variation of the Islamic calendar

What is the Umm al-Qura calendar used for in Saudi Arabia?

Administrative purposes

Why do the months of the Hijri calendar advance about eleven days earlier each year, relative to the equinoxes?

The average lunar year (twelve new moons) is 10.87513 days shorter than the average solar year

Study Notes

The Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar used by Muslims to determine religious observances, consisting of 12 lunar months in a year of 354 or 355 days. It is used to determine the proper days of Islamic holidays and rituals, such as the annual fasting and the annual season for the great pilgrimage. The current Islamic year is 1444 AH, running from approximately 30 July 2022 to 18 July 2023. The Hijri era was established as the Islamic New Year in 622 CE, when Muhammad and his followers migrated from Mecca to Medina and established the first Muslim community. The pre-Islamic calendar used in central Arabia is believed to have been a purely lunar calendar similar to the modern Islamic calendar. Four of the twelve Hijri months are considered sacred: Rajab (7), and the three consecutive months of Dhū al-Qa'dah (11), Dhu al-Ḥijjah (12) and Muḥarram (1). The mean duration of a tropical year is 365.24219 days, while the long-term average duration of a synodic month is 29.530587981 days. The average lunar year (twelve new moons) is 10.87513 days shorter than the average solar year, causing months of the Hijri calendar to advance about eleven days earlier each year, relative to the equinoxes. The first year of the Islamic calendar was the year of Muhammad's arrival at Medina, and the first month of the Islamic calendar is Muharram. Due to the Islamic calendar's reliance on certain variable methods of observation to determine its month-start-dates, these dates sometimes vary slightly from the month-start-dates of the astronomical lunar calendar.Islamic Calendar Summary

  • The Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar based on the monthly “conjunction” of the Moon between the Earth and Sun.
  • The month is defined as the average duration of a revolution of the Moon around the Earth, with each month having either 29 or 30 days.
  • The traditional practice for determining the start-date of the month is the first sighting of the hilal (crescent moon) shortly after sunset.
  • However, some Muslim countries apply different astronomy-related rules to determine the beginning of months, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, and Egypt.
  • Due to the variable nature of the Islamic calendar, the beginning of each month differs from one Muslim country to another, during the 48-hour period after the conjunction.
  • The Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs uses an Islamic calendar calculated several years in advance.
  • Saudi Arabia has traditionally used the Umm al-Qura calendar, which is based on astronomical calculations, for administrative purposes.
  • The Tabular Islamic calendar is a rule-based variation of the Islamic calendar, in which months are worked out by arithmetic rules rather than by observation or astronomical calculation.
  • The Islamic calendar is now used primarily for religious purposes and for official dating of public events and documents in Muslim countries.
  • The Islamic calendar cannot be used for agricultural purposes and historically Islamic communities have used other calendars, such as the Egyptian calendar and the Iranian calendar.
  • Muammar Gaddafi declared that the Muslim calendar should start with the death of the prophet Mohammed in 632 rather than the hijra in 622.
  • Computer support is available for converting Gregorian dates to Islamic ones.

Test your knowledge of the Islamic calendar with our quiz! From the lunar months to the traditional practices for determining the start-date of the month, this quiz covers everything you need to know about this important calendar. Challenge yourself and see how much you know about the Islamic calendar and its significance in Muslim communities around the world.

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