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Al-Hijra is a Muslim holiday that marks the beginning of the new year. This day signifies the start of the Muslim era and the first Islamic community ever established. The first day of the first month, Muharram, on the Islamic calendar begins the Islamic New Year.

The Islamic calendar is based on the phases of the moon, so Al-Hijra falls on a different date each year. From 2016 to 2026 the holiday occurred or will occur during the months of June to October.

What is Al-Hijra?

The Islamic New Year, Al-Hijra, commemorates the journey that Muhammad made from Mecca to Medina to flee persecution and set up the first Islamic state. The word “Hijra” means migration. After arriving in Medina, Muhammad established the first Muslim community founded on Islamic principles. For this reason, it is considered the start of the Islamic era and the Muslim New Year.

Al-Hijra is not marked as being a religious holiday, as there are no religious rituals required. Instead, it is celebrated in a cultural sense and recognized as a public holiday. Al-Hijra is quite relaxed compared with other holidays in the Muslim faith. Since it is recognized as New Year’s Day, most people make resolutions that they plan to follow for the rest of the year.

Muslims will often attend prayer sessions at their mosque and spend time with their friends and family. Much like New Year’s celebrations in January, Al-Hijra is a time of remembrance, gratitude, and self-reflection.

Gospel Opportunity

Al-Hijra is a celebration of the New Year marked by self-reflection and resolutions. Muslims strive their whole lives to earn Allah’s acceptance through works. Since people always fall short of perfection, Muslim’s self-reflection during this time must remind them of their shortcomings. Use the impossibility of achieving perfection to explain salvation through faith and by grace, not works. Jesus’ wonderful gift to believers is the freedom from having to earn salvation. Instead, salvation is a gift He gives us that He bought with His sacrifice on the cross. There is nothing more we have to do except to trust and believe in Him.

“For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” -Ephesians 2:8-9

“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.” -Lamentations 3:22-23

The celebration of a new year is a great time to share your testimony and how God has made you new. A good model to walk through is to share about your life before following Christ, your decision to follow Him, and how your life has been changed by Him.

“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!” -2 Corinthians 5:17

Learn more on how to share the gospel with Muslims.