Muslims around the world including Turkey marked the first day of the Islamic New Year on Thursday.
The day represents the journey of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from Mecca to Medina, also known as al-Hijra [migration].
In 622 AD, during the month of Muharram -- the first month of Muslim lunar calendar -- the Prophet along with some of his followers moved from Mecca to Medina in order to escape persecution to fulfill God’s commands.
The migration follows some years of inhuman treatments by some well-known and powerful tribes in Mecca, who want to stop the spread of Islam.
Muslims accept the month of Muharram as one of the holiest months after Ramadan. They observe the month with fasts, prayers and self-reflection.
The first day of the new month is also a holiday for some countries like Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates.
The month also includes an important day of Ashura on its tenth day, which includes many important events; such as God forgave Prophet Adam, saved Prophet Noah enabling him to land peacefully, gave Prophet Moses a miracle of splitting the Red Sea, which leads to rescue him and his followers against Pharaoh.
On the same day, Shia Muslims commemorate martyrdom of Imam al-Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad at the Battle of Karbala in 680 in the Islamic calendar, with some rituals.
Islamic Calendar or Hijri calendar is based on the movement of the moon. So, the start of each month depends on when the first crescent of the new moon is seen.
On the occasion of the start of the Islamic New Year, Turkish Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım issued a message, describing Al-Hijra as a journey, which “leads to spiritual salvation of Muslims.”
“I wish this sacred day, which is accepted as a Hijri New Year, brings peace and tranquility to our nation, the Islamic world and all mankind,” Yıldırım said.