It is essential to recognize the importance of holidays in different communities as the United States becomes increasingly diverse. These events are undoubtedly a source of positive inspiration in the Muslim community, especially the Muslims that actively participate in them. Because we love to be a substantial part of the progress, ICA has stuffed the year with loads of meaningful and impactful events attuned to the Islamic faith and value.
The Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri calendar, follows the lunar cycles. Each cycle of the moon represents each month of the year. Since 12 lunar months are only 354 days (approximately), the Islamic calendar is off by about 11 days from the Gregorian calendar every year. The estimated three to six million American Muslims may observe additional religious and ethnic holidays.
Muharram is the first month of the Islamic calendar, marking the beginning of the Islamic New Year. Muharram is one of the four sacred months of the year, forbidding any form of warfare. As the Islamic calendar begins with the migration (or Hijra) from Mecca to Medina by Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) and his companions, so does the Muslim calendar start with the Hijra of the Prophet (PBUH). As an important milestone in Islamic history, this event marks the end of the period of persecution in Mecca and the transition to establishing a recognized community of faith in Medina.
In the Islamic calendar, Ashura falls on the tenth day of Muharram; it marks many vital events in our Islamic history. We remember the Prophet Musa (as), who freed the enslaved people in Egypt and escaped the clutches of the Egyptian tyrant when Allah (SWT) defeated Pharaoh and his soldiers by parting the Red Sea for them to cross into freedom. Ashura is also the day the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson, Imam Hussain (RA), was martyred in The Battle of Karbala for standing firm in his moral beliefs against Yazid and defending his people against an army of 30,000 soldiers.
Finally, on this day, the Nuh (as) built landed on Mount Judi when the Great Flood subsided. All these remarkable events occurred on the 10th day of Muharram. Many Muslims fast on this day to commemorate the devotion of Musa (AS) and celebrate the obedience of Nuh (AS), while Shia Muslims mourn the death of Imam Hussain (RA)
On this day, Muslims worldwide celebrate the birthday of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Sunnis celebrate on the 12th of Rabi’ ul-Awwal, while Shias celebrate on the 17th of Rabi’ ul-Awwal. Muslims often recite poems and prayers in honor and remembrance of the Prophet (PBUH) and his teachings and give sadaqah to the needy.
As part of the process of self-purification and moral excellence, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Most Muslims believe Ramadan was the month the angel Jibreel (or Gabriel) revealed the Qur’an to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Muslims celebrate this holiday three days after Ramadan, with special prayers, sweets, presents for children, and community events.
Hajj, the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, comprises several rituals that symbolize the Islamic beliefs of devotion to Allah (SWT), fellowship, and unity. Observing rituals in the holiest places in the Islamic world, Hajj is undoubtedly the most spiritual event a Muslim can experience. As part of the Hajj, pilgrims commemorate Prophet Ibrahim’s (AS) trials and those of his family. If a Muslim is buoyant and physically capable, they must perform Hajj at least once in their lifetime.
A four-day celebration occurs on the third day of Hajj during this time. Prophet Ibrahim (AS) was willing and ready to sacrifice his son, Ismail. But a lamb miraculously replaced Ismail at the point of the sacrifice. To celebrate this day and faithful act, Muslims slaughter sheep, goats, cattle, etc. and share the meat with friends, families and the poor.
All these events mentioned above and more are part of the community events we have in place to foster inclusivity, love, and peace and promote Islamic values, beliefs and traditions. It doesn’t matter if you are a Muslim or not; we welcome everybody to all of our events.