Islamic months begin at sunset, on the day when the lunar crescent is visually sighted. Because of the centuries-old practice of looking for the lunar crescent to determine if the new month has begun, different months start and end on different weekdays in different countries/communities. Usually, a gap of one to three days occurs.

The lunar year is approximately 354 days long, so the months rotate backward through the seasons and are not fixed to the Gregorian calendar. The months of the Islamic year are:

1: Muharram [“Forbidden” – it is one of the four months during which time it is forbidden to wage war or fight]
2: Safar [“Empty” or “Yellow”]
3: Rabia Awal [“First spring”]
4: Rabia Thani [“Second spring”]
5: Jumaada Awal [“First freezing”]
6: Jumaada Thani [“Second freezing”]
7: Rajab [“To respect” – this is another holy month when fighting is prohibited]
8: Sha’ban [“To spread and distribute”]
9: Ramadan [“Parched thirst” – this is the month of Islamic daytime fasting]
10: Shawwal [“To be light and vigorous”]
11: Dhul-Qi’dah [“The month of rest” – another month when no warfare or fighting is allowed]
12: Dhul-Hijjah [“The month of Hajj” – this is the month of the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, again when no warfare or fighting is allowed]