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Islamic Holy Days, Muslim Religious Calendar

By: Erich TollBlogs
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Islamic Holy Days, Muslim Religious Calendar

Islam, like Christianity and Judaism, is an Abrahamic religion, a term referring to monotheistic religions which trace back to the Hebrew prophet Abraham. Islam places great importance in these prophets, one of the most widely known being the prophet Muhammad, considered to be the founder of Islam as a religion. Followers of Islam are referred to as Muslims. Islam is the world’s second-largest religion, with over two billion followers worldwide, or roughly a quarter of humanity.

The Islamic (Hijri) calendar differs from the western (Gregorian) calendar and as such, Islam holy differ from year to year. The Islamic religious calendar follows lunar months and consists of 354 or 355 days. Most Muslims use the Gregorian calendar for civil events and business, but the Islamic calendar determines Muslim religious holidays. Due to the difference between the lunar and tropical year, Islam religious holidays occur about 11 days “earlier” in the Gregorian calendar each year. The two most widely recognized Muslim holy days are Eid al-Fitr (the end of Ramadan) and Eid al-Adha.

Below is our Islam holy days 2023 calendar which includes Islamic holidays, Islamic religious observances and Islamic festivals.


Muharram is the first month in the Hijri calendar, considered the second-holiest month in Islam, after Ramadan. The tenth day of Muharram is known as the holy day of Ashura. Muslims limit their eating, but it is not considered a full fast.

The start of Muharram is the Islam New Year’s Day.


Most Muslims observe Mawlid al Nabi, a holiday which commemorates the birth of the Prophet Muhammad on the 12th day of the 3rd month (Rabi al-Awwal).

In addition to this list of Muslim holy days, you can also explore our 2023 Interfaith Calendar which includes holidays, religious holidays and religious festivals.


Islam Holy Days: Ramadan is a holy month, rather than a holy day, observed by Muslims as the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. It lasts 29-30 days and is marked by sightings of the crescent moon.

With some exceptions regarding health and childbirth, Muslims fast from dawn to sunset during Ramadan. Many Muslims also abstain from many vices such as tobacco. Families eat a pre-dawn meal (suhur or suhoor) and a dusk meal to break the fast (iftar). Ritual prayer, acts of charity and recitation of the Quran are common traditions of Ramadan. There are many other celebrations and rites which occur throughout Ramadan, varying by region and culture.

Hilāl is Arabic for crescent moon; referring to the first sighting of the moon which marks the beginning of Ramadan. Laylat al-Qadr, or the Night of Decree, is the holiest night of the year. This night falls within Ramadan’s final 10 days, and although the exact date is unidentified, it is commonly observed on the 27th night of Ramadan.

Eid al-Fitr

Eid al-Fitr takes places once Ramadan ends and normal cultural practices are resumed. It is a 3-day festival, where feasting plays a central theme. Prayer, preparing and eating special foods, giving gifts, wearing new clothes, and visiting friends and family are among the traditions observed.


Hajj (also spelled Haj) is a yearly pilgrimage to Mecca, the holiest city in Islam, located in Saudi Arabia. It lasts for five to six days, during the final month of the calendar, Dhu al-Hijjah.

Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha (feast of the Sacrifice), is one of the two main Muslim religious holidays, commemorating Abraham’s obedience to Allah. During this holiday, meat is ritually prepared and served, with a portion going to the family who provided the animal, and the rest distributed among the poor and hungry. Gift-giving and family gatherings are common. Eid al-Adha occurs during the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, lasting four days.

The second day of Eid al-Adha is the Day of Arafa, one of the holiest days of the year.

Final Thoughts

We hope this list of Islam holy days is useful to you. Inclusive scheduling is a must for businesses and organizations. It allows everyone to recognize holy days regardless of which world religion their employees or members participate in.

For all 2023 religious holidays, see our interactive DEI Calendar for all 200+ religious events.

For more diversity topics, see our Diversity Calendar 2023.

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