There are two official holidays in Islam, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha. Both holidays occur on dates in the lunar Islamic calendar, which is different from the solar based Gregorian calendar, so they are observed on different Gregorian dates every year. There are a number of other days of note and festivals, some common to all Muslims, other specific to Shia Islam as a whole or branches thereof.
Eid al-Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan (a month of fasting during daylight hours), and Muslims may perform acts of zakat (charity) on the occasion, which begins after the new moon is sighted for the beginning of the month of Shawal. Celebration begins with prayers on the morning of 1 Shawal, followed by breakfast, and often celebratory meals throughout the day.
Eid al-Adha is celebrated on the tenth day of Dhu al-Hijjah, when the Hajj pilgrimage takes place, and lasts for four days. Muslims may perform an act of zakat and friendship by slaughtering a sheep and distributing the meat to family, to friends, and to the poor. Muslims are also encouraged to be especially friendly and reach out to one another during this period.
Muslims celebrate when the Quran was revealed to Muhammad by fasting from dawn to sunset during Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. Fasting is a purifying experience so that Muslims can gain compassion and deepen their faith in Allah.
The act of fasting represents the condition experienced by the needy, who although already hungry must also fast for Ramadan. Muslims fast by denying themselves food, water and all related sexual activity with their spouses, but people with chronic diseases or unhealthy conditions such as diabetes, and children are exempt from fasting. Travelers, and women who are menstruating or nursing a baby, are exempt from fasting but are required to fast later. A person's observance of fasting can be for naught if religiously forbidden acts are made, such as Ghibah (backbiting others) and deceiving others.
Dates of holidays and other days of note
The Islamic calendar is based on the synodic period of the Moon's revolution around the Earth, approximately 291⁄2 days. The Islamic calendar alternates months of 29 and 30 days (which begin with the new moon). Twelve of these months make up an Islamic year, which is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year.
|Hijri date||1441 AH||1442 AH||1443 AH||1444 AH|
|Islamic New Year||1 Muḥarram||31 Aug. 2019||20 Aug. 2020||9 Aug. 2021||30 July 2022|
|Ashura||10 Muḥarram||9 Sep. 2019||29 Aug. 2020||18 Aug. 2021||8 Aug. 2022|
|Arba'een[a]||20 or 21 Ṣafar[b]||19 Oct. 2019||8 Oct. 2020||27 Sep. 2021||17 Sep. 2022|
|Eid-e-Shuja' (Eid-e-Zahra)[c]||9 Rabī‘ al-Awwal||6 Nov. 2019||26 Oct. 2020||15 Oct. 2021||5 Oct. 2022|
('Birthday of the Prophet' [Muhammad])[d]
|12 Rabī‘ al-Awwal (Sunni)||9 Nov. 2019||29 Oct. 2020||18 Oct. 2021||8 Oct. 2022|
|17 Rabī‘ al-Awwal (Shia)||14 Nov. 2019||3 Nov. 2020||23 Oct. 2021||13 Oct. 2022|
|Birthday of ‘Alī ibn Abī Ṭālib[a]||13 Rajab||8 Mar. 2020||25 Feb. 2021||14 Feb. 2022||4 Feb. 2023|
|Laylat al-Mi'raj||27 Rajab[e]||22 Mar. 2020||11 Mar. 2021||28 Feb. 2022||18 Feb. 2023|
|Laylat al-Bara'at||15 Sha‘bān||8 Apr. 2020||28 Mar. 2021||18 Mar. 2022||7 Mar. 2023|
|Birthday of Hujjat-Allah al-Mahdī[c]||15 Sha‘bān||8 Apr. 2020||28 Mar. 2021||18 Mar. 2022||7 Mar. 2023|
|First day of Ramaḍān||1 Ramaḍān||24 Apr. 2020||13 Apr. 2021||2 Apr. 2022||23 Mar. 2023|
|Laylat al-Qadr||19, 21, 23, 25, 27, or 29 Ramaḍān[f]||between
12 & 22 May 2020
1 & 11 May 2021
20 & 30 Apr. 2022
10 & 20 Apr. 2023
|Chaand Raat[g]||29 or 30 Ramaḍān[h]||23 May 2020||12 May 2021||1 May 2022||20 Apr. 2023|
|Eid al-Fitr||1 Shawwāl||24 May 2020||13 May 2021||2 May 2022||21 Apr. 2023|
|Hajj||8–13 Dhū al-Ḥijja||29 July – 3 Aug. 2020||18–23 July 2021||7–12 July 2022||26 June – 1 July 2023|
|Day of Arafah||9 Dhū al-Ḥijja||30 July 2020||19 July 2021||8 July 2022||27 June 2023|
|Eid al-Adha||10 Dhū al-Ḥijja||31 July 2020||20 July 2021||9 July 2022||28 June 2023|
|Eid al-Ghadeer[a]||18 Dhū al-Ḥijja||8 Aug. 2020||28 July 2021||17 July 2022||6 July 2023|
|Eid al-Mubahalah[a]||24 Dhū al-Ḥijja||14 Aug. 2020||3 Aug. 2021||23 July 2022||12 July 2023|
- Primarily observed by Shias.
- Observed 40 days after Ashura.
- Primarily observed by Twelver Shias.
- Not observed by some Sunnis.
- There is some disagreement about this date; see Isra and Mi'raj.
- Most often observed on 23 Ramaḍān by Shias and 27 Ramaḍān by Sunnis; see Laylat al-Qadr.
- Primarily observed in South Asia.
- Observed on the last evening of Ramaḍān; see Chaand Raat.
Some Gregorian dates may vary slightly from those given, and may also vary by country. See Islamic calendar.
- Reza, Aslan (2011). No god but God : the origins and evolution of Islam (1st ed.). New York: Delacorte Press. pp. 118–119. ISBN 9780385739757. OCLC 614990718.
- Molly., Aloian (2009). Ramadan. New York: Crabtree. ISBN 978-0778742852. OCLC 227911610.
- "Special Islamic Days". IslamicFinder. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- "Islamic Calendar". IslamicFinder. Retrieved 30 January 2020.
- Leaman, Oliver, "Festivals of Love", in Muhammad in History, Thought, and Culture: An Encyclopedia of the Prophet of God (2 vols.), Edited by C. Fitzpatrick and A. Walker, Santa Barbara, ABC-CLIO, 2014, Vol I, pp. 197–199.
- The Umm al-Qura Calendar of Saudi Arabia (with date converter valid from 1937 to 2077)