There are many holidays that Muslims in particular have in the Islamic Calendar. It is therefore good to know what are the major celebrations and also other small celebrations as well.
Two of the most common celebration is the Eidul Fitri in Syawal (10th month of Islamic Calendar) and also Eidul Adha in the month of Dzulhijjah (12th month of the Islamic calendar).
All the Islamic holidays are celebrated based on the lunar-based of the Islamic Calendar.
Every Ramadhan, the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, Muslims will spend a month fasting from dawn to sunset. Muslims will abstain from food, liquids, smoking, sex and other prohibition as stipulated in their Islamic ruling. Fasting is important in Islamic ruling as it is in the Five Pillars of Islam.
The last 10 days of Ramadhan, there is one night that is considered to be the most sacred night in which the deeds are multiplied by a 1000 nights. So it is common practice among Muslims globally to wake up at night and perform all the rituals such as ‘tahajud, reciting Quran and also asking for forgiveness by Allah.’
Eid Al- Fitr
After 30 days of fasting in the month of Ramadhan, Muslims will then celebrate the "Festival of Fast-Breaking." On the day of Eid, fasting is prohibited. There will be a special prayer on the 1st day of Syawal. Normally on this day, Muslims will visit their family members and also their close friends. Feasting is common on this day.
Each year in Dzulhijjah, around 2.5- 3 millions of Muslims globally will make an annual pilgrimage to Makkah, Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Prophet Muhammad (saw). This pilgrimage is known as the Hajj. Hajj is the last Pillars in the Five Pillars of Islam.
Hajj is compulsory for those who has the capacity in terms of financial and also physical It is compulsory for those who has the capacity in terms of financial and physical but if there is no sufficient in terms of financial or physical, then the Muslims will be excused.
Day of Arafah
During the ninth day of the Hajj, the holiest day in Islam, pilgrims gather at the mount of Arafah to seek Allah's mercy, and Muslims elsewhere will fast on that day. Muslims around the world gather at mosques for a solidarity prayer.
At the end of the annual pilgrimage, Muslims celebrate the "Festival of Sacrifice." It includes a ritual sacrifice of a sheep, camel, or goat, an action meant to commemorate the trials of the Prophet Ibrahim (as).
Prophet Ibrahim (as) was asked by Allah to sacrifice his Son, Ismail. He is willing to adhere to the instruction but Allah replaced Ismail with a sheep thus eventually spared his life.
Other Muslim Holidays
Apart from these two major celebrations in Islamic calendar, Muslims globally also observe other dates as it does bring significant value to their life. However, not all countries will make these date as an official public holidays. Most of the Non-Muslim countries will not consider these as holidays.
Islamic New Year: 1 Muharram
Islamic New Year begins with Muharram. This is after Dzhulhijjah, the 12th month in Islamic Calendar. Spiritually, after the sacrifice month earlier (Hajj), it is a new beginning for Muslims and good to vow to Allah so that changes can be made.
This day marks an important point in Islam as Prophet Muhammad (saw) migrated to Madinah after constant challenges by the people in Makkah.
1st Muharram is also known as ‘hijrah’. There has been some debate and confusion in terms of ‘hijrah’ as most scholars mentioned that ‘hijrah’ is a migration from a place that is difficult to practice Islamic religion to a better place that can practice. Some confused ‘hijrah’ with a mere migration or swap of place from point A to point B.
There can be debate on this but if we follow the Sunnah of Rasullullah, it means that ‘hijrah’ is actually a migration to perform better ibadah of worshipping. If we take the world for instance, there are many Muslims that are being oppressed around the world especially in a Non-Muslim countries.
Here if they take the Sunnah of Rasullullah, they might need to migrate to a place where it is easier for them to perform the ibadah.
Ashura: 9th and 10th Muharram
On this day, Muslims globally choose to fast as to celebrate the day when Prophet Musa (as) fasted on that day because Allah has saved his people from the evil act of the Pharoah. One of the many hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) that attests to that is in Bukhari that states:
Narrated by al-Bukhari (1865) from Ibn ‘Abbaas, who said:
The Prophet (saws) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of Ashoora. He said, “What is this?” They said, “This is a good day, this is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemy and Moosa fasted on this day.”
He (the Prophet Muhammad) said, “We are closer to Moosa (Prophet Moses) than you.”
Since this is a day of victory of Prohphet Musa and his companions, our beloved Prophet Muhammad (saw) took this opportunity to fast and therefore it is sunnah for us to fast as well.
Another good reason why Muslims observe fasting on Ashura is because it abolished sin a year ago.
Mawlid an-Nabi: 12 Rabia' Awal
The birthday of Prophet Muhammad (saw) is on the 12th Rabiulawal every year. The holy day is celebrated in different ways by different Islamic sects. Some Muslims choose to commemorate Prophet Muhammad's birth with gift-giving and feasts, while others condemn this behaviour for being idolatrous.
“Every innovation is a misguidance, and every misguidance goes to Hell fire. (Sahih Muslim).”
There are different views on this but again the most important thing is the reason of celebration.
As long as it is within the acceptable parameters, then there should not be any problem.
The question is should we or shouldn’t we celebrate a birthday of someone that has bring joy to the world? We strongly believe that it can be celebrated provided it is within the acceptable parameters stipulated in our deen.
Isra’ & Mi’raj (27th Rajab)
Isra’ & Mi’raj is one of the biggest event in the Islamic calendar as this is an event of Prophet Muhammad's (saw) journey from Makkah to Jerusalem which is known as (Isra’) and followed by his ascent to heaven (Mi’raj) and return to Makkah.
During the moment in heaven, Allah swt informed Prophet Muhammad (saw) to offer the daily 5 obligatory prayers.
That is why prayer is very important to each and all Muslims as prayer is being taught directly by Allah to Prophet Muhammad (saw) without any intermediaries.