The moon-sighting committee will announce when the Islamic new year will begin. Image Credit: Thinkstock

Dubai: UAE residents can look forward to another long weekend as the Hijri New Year is expected to fall on Thursday August 20, 2020.

The Islamic New Year is on the first day of Muharram, the first month in the lunar Islamic calendar, which differs from the Gregorian calendar.


The UAE has already declared Muharram 1 as the public holidays for public and private sectors.

Sharjah Planetarium explained that the new crescent moon is expected to form on Wednesday morning, August 19 at 6.42 am, and will rise approximately 34 minutes after sunset, “so the opportunity to observe it will be available.”


Therefore, Thursday will mark the first day of the month of Muharram and also the Islamic New Year for 1442, according to astronomical calculations.

However, a special moon-sighting committee in the UAE will gather to assess whether they can see a new moon, to officially announce the start of the Islamic New Year. This will take place closer to the date.

Hijri New Year

The Islamic calendar depends on the movement of the moon. The beginning of each month is marked by the observance of a new moon seen for the first time. Visibility of the new moon depends on various factors, such as the weather.

The solemn occasion marks 1,441 years since the migration of Prophet Mohammed (PBUH) and his companions from Makkah to Madinah, Islam’s holiest cities in Saudi Arabia.

The first year in the Islamic calendar, Hijri 1, corresponds to the year 622 AD. Compared to Western calendars, the Islamic year goes backwards by about 11 days every year. 

To mark the first day of Muharram, Muslims recite verses from the Quran and hold special prayers and sermons at mosques.