Arabic Language Blog

How did the Islamic (Hijri) Calendar Begin? Posted by on Oct 14, 2015 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

    Ahlan أهــْــلاً , Arabic lovers! Today is the first day of the new Hijri year (1437), so Happy New Hijri Year to everyone! In today’s post we are going to know how this calendar was started and who started it.

Happy New Hijri Year_Image via altarqeemnews

Happy New Hijri Year_Image via altarqeemnews

If you have read these previous two posts, you will notice that:

  • The Arabs adopted the Lunar System to determine the lunar months. Yet, they had no calendar.
  • The Arabs used great events to name the years, like the “Year of the Elephant عــام الــفــيــل” which marks the incident when a mighty king tried with his army to attack and demolish the Ka’bah in what is known today as Mecca. His army was full of so many huge elephants with armed men on their backs. He didn’t succeed as some kind of birds attacked the army and the elephants throwing small stones on them.

     Prophet Muhammad was born some time after the Year of the Elephant. He soon became an orphan as he lost his father and mother. His uncle Abo-Talib أبــو طــالــب adopted him. As Muhammad مــحــمــد was growing up, he acquired a very good reputation among the people of his tribe (Qu’raysh قــريــش or Mecca مــكــة as it is known today) and was known as The Truth-Teller and the Loyal الــصــادق الأمــيــن. He was honest, wise, and spiritual and never drank wine.

     At the age of forty and while he was in his meditation hideout (a cave on top of a mountain around Mecca), Muhammad received the angel Gabriel جــبـريــل for the first time and since then his Islam message was started as he was ordered to pass Allah’s message to all people and to worship only One God. Soon, Muhammad secretly started his mission and began with his closest relatives and friends. The people of Mecca were pagans and they quickly heard of Muhammad activity that was against their interests. They oppressed him and his followers for thirteen years.

     During these thirteen years, Muhammad sent good Muslim followers to other cities and villages to spread the word of Islam. Some people, who heard the word, came to Mecca and met Muhammad in person. Among those, was a delegation وفــد from Madinah الــمــديــنــة. Those good and new Muslim people from Madinah offered refuge to Muhammad and his followers. So, when Muhammad lost all freedom of expression حــريــة الــتــعــبــيــر and saw his followers dying from torture, He ordered them all to migrate to Madinah and he himself followed them in the company of his best friend Abo-Bakr. Now, this Migration هــجــرة (Hijrah) marks a very important event in the Islamic history because Islam in Madina was secure and Muslims had all the freedom to spread the word of Allah everywhere. Day after day, Islam gained more land and more and more followers. Prophet Muhammad died when the Muslim lands were expanding to include all the Arabic Peninsula.

     Omar Ibn Al-Khattab عــمــر بــن الــخــطــاب was the second Muslim Caliph. During his time, the expansion of the Muslim lands was exceptional. One day and 17 years after the Hijrah incident and precisely in the year 622 A.D. the Caliph Omar received a Saqq صــك (check شــيــك) that was due in the month of Sha’ban شــعــبــان. Muslims till that time still had no calendar of their own, so Omar wondered which Sha’ban? Was it the last? Is it this current? Or Is it that coming next year!?. Because of this incident, Omar had a meeting with his assistants and decided to start their own Muslim calendar. The question was when to start it. There were many suggestions of important Islamic events, but Ali Ibn Abi-Talib عــلــي بــن أبــي طــالــب suggested the year when the prophet migrated from Mecca to Madina and that was it.

    So, The Muslim calendar was started by the Second Muslim Caliph Omar Ibn Al-Khattab in the year 17 A.H. (After Hijra). It is also called the Arabic Calendar or the Islamic Calendar.


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Peace سلام  /Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. Rabia Hasan:

    I would translate الصادق الأمين as ‘truthful and trustworthy’.

    • Fisal:

      @Rabia Hasan Thanks, Rabia. Translation usually uses different synonyms 🙂

  2. nadinesauriol:

    Salam Walikum

    Download Printable Islamic Calendar 2017, Hijri Calendar 1438. Islamic festivals have been marked in this islamic calendar.

    Get more information by clicking on below link:

  3. nadinesauriol:


    Islamic Prayer times for all countries of the world. Printable monthly and yearly salah Times, Quibla directions and Adhan are available for any one looking for Muslim Prayer Timings.

    Islamic Prayer Times:
    Islamic Monthly Prayer Times:
    Islamic Yearly Prayer Times:

  4. Pranoto:

    Salam Fisal

    Could you explain about “al yaum” ?

    Why are in several dictionaries al yaum = an nahar?
    When does al yaum begin ?

    Thank you

  5. Zarine Khan:

    Modern Astronomical Method threw Scientifically Calculated Islamic Prayer times for all country of the world.

    Get more information Islamic Prayer times by clicking on following link:

  6. Zarine Khan:

    Hello Dear,

    The Makkah Islamic Calendar website contains scientifically calculated Islamic Calendar based on modern astronomical methods, photo gallery of sighting photo and download section to download Islamic calendar and Islamic wallpapers. what’s more, get area base prayer times.

  7. Zarine Khan:

    The Islamic calendar is based on the moon. Also known as the Hijri Calendar, it started after the hijrah of the Prophet (PBUH) to Madina. The starting of each month is contingent on the visibility of the moon at the end of the previous month. Once the moon is sighted, the new month commences.