The first day of the New Hijri Year is observed on the first day of the Muharram, the first month in the Hijri calendar.
The next Hijri year on the Islamic calendar will be number 1438, since the first one occurred in 622 AD when Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) immigrated from Makkah to Medina, known as the Prophetic Hijrah
Since it’s a lunar-based calendar, moon phases must be observed to conclude the date. Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the Hijri year. The word “Muharram” means “forbidden”.
The 10th day of Muharram is the Day of Ashura which marks the martyrdom of Prophet Muhammad’s grandson Al-Hussain (may Allah be pleased with him). And Muslims fast the 9th and 10th of Muharram:
Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: ‘The best of fasting after Ramadan is fasting Allah’s month of Muharram.'” [Reported by Muslim, 1982].
Ibn ‘Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: “The Prophet (PBUH) came to Madinah and saw the Jews fasting on the day of ‘Ashura’. He said, ‘What is this?’ They said, ‘This is a righteous day, it is the day when Allah saved the Children of Israel from their enemies, so Musa fasted on this day.’ He said, ‘We have more right to Musa than you, ‘so he observed fasting on that day and commanded [the Muslims] to fast on that day.” [Reported by al-Bukhari, 1865].
The Astronomical New Moon (conjunction) is expected to be next Saturday, the 1st of October 2016, at 00:12UT. This means that the new month and the new Hijri year shall start on Saturday.
However, the moon will be easily visible in the Polynesian Islands of the Central Pacific solely. The moon can be observed in the western half of the Islamic World only with optical aids like binoculars and telescopes. This also makes the moon invisible in the eastern half of the Islamic World as seen in the following moon sightseeing map:
On Sunday, the 2nd of October 2016, the moon will be visible all over the world, as seen in the following moon-sighting map, yet the northernmost Muslim countries will be able to observe it only under perfect conditions:
- Moon Sighting.com.
- Sahih Muslim. http://sunnah.com/muslim
- Virtues of Fasting on Aashooraa’. http://www.masjidalislam.net/8-about/24-auto-generate-from-title