The Islamic Calendar


The Islamic calendar is lunar, like the Jewish calendar. It consists of 12 months of 29 or 30 days each, for a total of 354 days. (The month of Dhu al-Hijjah varies between 29 and 30 days in order to keep the calendar in step with the true phases of the moon, thus some years have 355 days.)

Unlike its Jewish counterpart, however, the Islamic calendar has no corrective system to align it with the solar calendar. Thus the Islamic holidays do not always fall in the same season, and they occur earlier every year on the solar calendar.

The months of the Islamic calendar are as follows:

  • Muharram
  • Safr
  • Rabi' al-Awwal (or Rabi I)
  • Rabi' al-Thani (or Rabi II)
  • Jumada al-Ula (or Jumada I)
  • Jumada al-Thaniyya (or Jumada II)
  • Rajab
  • Sha'ban
  • Ramadan
  • Shawwal
  • Dhu al-Qa'dah
  • Dhu al-Hijjah

Years on the Islamic calendar are numbered from the event of the Hijira in 622 CE, and designated AH (anno hijiri or "after the Hijira"). The first day of the Islamic era is Muharram 1, 1 AH or July 16, 622 CE.


  • "Muslim Calendar." Merriam-Webster's Encyclopedia of World Religions.
  • "Calendar: Islam." Oxford Concise Dictionary of World Religions.
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