For the new Hijri Year, members of the Muslim Community Center of Charlotte, North Carolina, are planning to observe the occasion with communal prayer and a sermon about Hijra from Makkah to Madinah.
“What’s amazing about it was that they were a group of 300 believers who were living in a city of 15,000,” said John Ederer, imam and director of the Muslim Community Center of Charlotte, WFAE.org reported.
“They went fleeing for their lives and after that, within 10 years, they’re the actual governing, ruling body of the entire Arabia.”
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The Hijri calendar started in the year 622 AD with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Makkah to Madinah, known as the Hijra.
Muslim use this lunar Hijri calendar to calculate times of prayers, fasting, Hajj, and other religious celebrations. While some determine the new month by moon sightings, most Islamic countries follow astronomical calculations.
While the majority of Muslim world celebrate the day as an official holiday, it is usually marked with introspective sermons rather than overt festivities.
“The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) taught us that in terms of religion, as Muslims we only have two holidays,” Ederer said, referring to `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha.
“We should not be innovating in religion, we should not be coming up with new festivals and new practices, new rituals and a new way of doing things,” he said.
The Hijri New Year is the day that marks the beginning of a new Islamic calendar year. This first day of the year is the first day of Muharram.
Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the Hijri year, and Muslims consider it the second holiest month after Ramadan.
While Westerners celebrate New Year with massive celebrations, the approximately 25,000 Muslims in Charlotte will start the New Year with prayers at sunset on Friday, July 29.
“There’s not like this whole ‘waiting for the moment,’ like with the ball drops,” Ederer said. “It’s just a new day.”