SK’s old articles on Hijrah in Straits Times

SK’s old articles on Hijrah

in The Straits Times

Way back in the 1980s and 1990s, four of my articles about Hijrah/Muslim calendar appeared in The Straits Times (Life section).

As in those days the Internet was not available, there are no websites for these articles.  As the Hijrah calendar have already been described in my previous article, “Muslim New Year 1438 begins tonight”, published in my blog on 1 October 2016, I am therefore showing only the photo-shot of the Straits Times articles and the first two or three paragraphs of each of these articles.

The four articles are as follows, each showing the first two or three of its paragraphs:

  • Muslim calendar and the Hegira (10 November 1981)

“THIS month Muslims celebrate the Islamic lunar year 1402.  This year, the first day – 1 Muharram 1402 – coincides with October 29. Today is, therefore, the 13th of Muharram, 1402.

Many non-Muslims think that the Muslim New Year begins on 1 Syawal, that is on Aidil Fitri or Hari Raya Puasa, because it is a festive day that is celebrated in a very big way.  This is not so.”


  • Sunday (7 May 1996) marks first day of Muslim New Year (16 May 1996)

“THE next time you want to wish your Muslim friends Happy New Year during Hari Ray Aidilfitri, think again.

This is because Hari Raya Aidilfitri, or Hari Raya Puasa which was celebrated on Feb 20 this year, is not the first day of the Muslim New Year.  It is but a religious festival celebrated on 1 Syawal, the 10th month of the Muslim calendar.

The first day of the Muslim New Year is 1 Muharram and it falls on this Sunday (19 May 1996).”


  • Expect two Hari Raya celebrations in year 2000 (20 February 1997 )

“FOR Muslims, the fasting month of Ramadan is not yet over for 1997.

Come Dec 31, Muslims will again begin their month-long fasting. In other words, there will be two Ramadans this year and for the next couple of years.

In fact, in three years’ time, Muslims will celebrate Hari Raya Aidilfitri, which marks the end of Ramadan, twice in the same year.

This happens because the Islamic, or Hijrah, calendar, which follows the lunar cycle, is 11 days shorter than the solar, or Gregorian, calendar.”


  • Hijrah marks start of Muslim New Year (8 May 1997)                                       

“CONTRARY to popular belief, and some misunderstanding, Muharram in the Muslim calendar is the beginning of the new year, and not Syawal or Hari Raya Aidilfitri.

Today, the first day of Muharram, is the beginning of the Muslim New Year 1418.

For two months from today, mosques and Muslim organisations will hold various activities to commemorate what is known as Maal Hijrah – the new Hijrah year.”

It would be good for Muslims to make Islamic New Year resolutions and to accomplish them.  For the 8 May 1997 article, mentioned above, I interviewed four persons whose resolutions then were:

  • “My new Hijrah resolution is to inculcate in my two children the value and importance of being useful Muslims and citizen.” – Mr Mohd Ehsan Nather, 47, sports officer.
  • “I want to work very hard not only to pass but also to get very good grades in my GCE O-level examination.” – Shahul Hamid A Majid, 16, Victoria School.
  • “My resolution is to be a better mother to my children. I want to spend more quality time with them.” – Madam Fathmah Ghani, 41, staff nurse.
  • “My three resolutions: Being virtuous wife, exemplary mother and spend more time on religious matters.” – Madam Lasminingsih Adi Uci, 40.

All four had their resolutions fulfilled.  For instance, Mr Mohd Ehsan, who has passed away, had brought up his two children as he had intended.  Both, a boy and a girl, graduated from NTU/NUS/NIE and became MOE teachers, while Mr Shahul Hamid, now 34, who graduated from NTU/NIE and has a Master’s degree from NIE, is also an MOE teacher.

(NTU=Nanyang Technological University; NUS=National University of Singapore; NIE=Natonal Institute of Education.)

MOE Teacher Shahul Hamid is a popular coach of his school’s soccer team.

MOE Teacher Shahul Hamid is a popular coach of his school’s soccer team.

As a concluding remark to my article, “Sunday (7 May 1996) marks first day of Muslim New Year” (16 May 1996), I wrote: “On a personal level, the significance of the Hijrah is to strive constantly to improve oneself in both spiritual and secular matters.

“Studying hard for a school examination or resolving to quit smoking are examples of Hijrah efforts.

“A larger Hijrah attempt may be the concerted efforts of the entire Muslim community in addressing its shortcomings or working out ways to combat socio-economic problems.”

 Shaik Kadir

3 October (2 Muharram 1438H)

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