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Toledo Muslims Celebrate Islamic New Year with Reflection

As Muslims around the world celebrate the Islamic New Year, the Muslim community in Toledo has tended for a more introspective celebration, reflecting on the hijra of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

“We celebrate it inside our mosques, through prayer and through remembrance of the life of Prophet Muhammad,” Abdelhaleem Badr, imam at the Toledo Muslim Community Center, Toledo Blade reported. 

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Muslims in different parts of the world celebrated Monday, August 9, as the official date for the start of the New Year.

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While the majority of Muslim world celebrate the day as an official holiday, it is usually marked with introspective sermons rather than overt festivities.

In Ohio, the Islamic Center of Greater Toledo, the Islamic Society of North West Ohio, and Masjid Al-Islam have not planned any special programs for the first day of Muharram.

Toledo Muslims Celebrate Islamic New Year with Reflection - About Islam

“The beginning of the new year is a post-prophetic development,” explained Professor Ovamir Anjum, chair of the Islamic studies department at the University of Toledo.

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.

“The Hijra marks the transition from a state of weakness to a state of strength,” said Imam Badr. “From a state of personal worship to collective state-building.”

For Muslims in Toledo, the mosques will mark the occasion in Friday sermons focusing on the Hijra as both a historical event and a spiritual journey, as the Islamic Society’s Imam Farooq Aboelzahab plans to give.