ALBERTA – The Premier of Alberta, Western Canada, Rachel Notley has issued a statement, wishing the Muslim communities a happy new Hijri year.
“Hijri New Year corresponds with the Prophet Muhammad’s emigration from Mecca to Medina. It is the first day of the lunar calendar which determines the dates of significant events such as Ramadan, as well as other Muslim festivals and celebrations.”
The Hijri calendar started in the year 622 AD with the emigration of Prophet Muhammad from Mecca to Medina, 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.
A Hijri day starts at sunset. Thus, observing the crescent of a new Hijri month occurs during the sunset. If the crescent sets before the sunset, this means there is no new month. If it sets after the sunset, this means the beginning of the new month.
Notley added that Muslims mark the religious holiday with prayer and family gatherings.
“Alberta’s Muslim families mark this holiday by spending time with one another and attending prayer sessions together. Many will reflect on the importance of gratitude and remembrance as they look forward to the year that lies ahead,” Notley said.
“To all those who are celebrating Hijri New Year, I hope the coming year brings happiness and blessings to you and your loved ones.”
Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the Hijri year.
The lunar Hijri year is eleven to twelve days shorter than the solar Gregorian year. Thus, the first day of the Hijri New Year, Muharram 1, doesn’t come on the same day of the Gregorian calendar every year.
Muslims represent 3.2 percent of Canada’s total population, according to Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey.
A 2016 survey by the Environics showed the overwhelming majority of Muslims are proud to be Canadian.