Authorities in Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman and Saudi Arabia have announced that Tuesday, September 11 will mark the beginning of the Islamic New Year.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court became the latest body to confirm the date on Monday, saying the moon crescent marking the end of the final month of the Islamic calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah, had not been sighted on Sunday evening so Monday, September 10 would be the last day.
“Tuesday 1/1/1440 AH according to the calendar of Umm Al-Qura corresponding to the 11th of September 2018 is the month of Muharram in 1440,” it said in a statement to Saudi Press Agency.
Bahrain’s Prime Minister Prince Khalifa bin Salman Al Khalifa issued a circular on Sunday announcing that Tuesday would be a holiday for ministries, departments and public institutions, according to the official Bahrain News Agency.
Kuwait’s Civil Service Bureau also said on Sunday that Dhu al-Hijjah would end on Monday making Tuesday the beginning of the New Year, KUNA said.
A circular was issued to all ministries, government bodies and institutions announcing an official holiday to mark the occasion with work resuming the next day.
Oman’s Minstry of Awqaf and Religious Affairs confirmed the moon marking the end of the month had not been sighted on Sunday so Monday would be the final day, Oman News Agency reported.
Islamic months can be 29 or 30 months based on the visible phases of the moon.
The sultanate had previously declared that Islamic New Year would be a national holiday for all private sector employees.
Authorities in the UAE announced last week that Thursday, September 13 would be a public and private sector holiday for Islamic New Year.
However, Dubai’s tourism regulator instructed hotels and restaurants not to serve alcohol from Monday evening to Tuesday evening, coinciding with the actual Islamic New Year.
As with other Islamic holidays, the measure is in respect of Muslims.
Private events taking place during the period are able to apply for an exemption from the authority.
Islamic New Year celebrates the Prophet Mohammed’s journey from Makkah to Madinah.
It is considered an occasion for religious activities and reflection by Muslims in contrast to the elaborate celebrations seen at the start of each Gregorian year.