Thursday, November 15, 2012

Awal Muharram In Malaysia

Awal Muharram is a national holiday in Malaysia and is celebrated by Muslims as the day symbolises two important events in the Muslim year. Awal means beginning in English and Muharram is the name of the first month in the Muslim calendar.

Islam has a calendar based on the revolutions of the Moon. Thus, it is only 354 days long. Islamic New Year is celebrated on the first day of Muharram, the first Islamic month. Compared to Western calendars, the Islamic year goes 11 days backwards every year. (So, in 2005 on the Western Calendar, the New Year is February 10.)

The day also coincides with the Prophet Muhammad's journey from Mecca to Medina on the first of Muharram in 622AD. Muslims also reflect on the passing of time and their own mortality. To mark the occasion, Muslims attend various religious activities, spiritual singing, religious meetings throughout the country. The marking of the beginning of the new year is usually quiet, unlike New Year's celebrations associated with other calendars. 

Muslims gather in mosques for special prayers and readings. They recite Koranic verses and hold special prayers and sermons at public halls and mosques. The New Year itself is known to Muslims as Maal Hijra. In Malaysia, a 'Tokoh Ma'al Hijrah' is awarded to a Muslim personality to honour their contribution to Islam.

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Note: The 12 months in Muslim calendar are (in order):
01. Muharram
02. Safar
03. Rabi-al-awwal
04. Rabi-al-thani / Rabi-al-akhir
05. Jumada-al-awwal
06. Jumada-al-thani / Jumada-al-akhir
07. Rajab
08. Sha'ban
09. Ramadhan
10. Shawwal
11. Zul-qaadah
12. Zul-hijjah 

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