Islamic holidays and festivals

What are the sacred days in Islam?

Islam has relatively few holidays compared to most other religions; nevertheless, their sacred days and times are very important to Muslims. When holidays are being observed, it is common for routine social activities, such as work and commerce, to stop temporarily out of respect for the person or event being remembered.

Traditionally, Muslims celebrate two major festivals - 'Id Al-Fitr and 'Id Al-Adha. They celebrate one month of daytime fasting - Ramadan. And they also observe a day of voluntary fasting - 'Ashura, which is also an important Shiite festival. (Also compare: Sunni and Shia Muslims.)

The popular festival of Mawlid an-Nabi celebrates the birthday of the prophet Muhammad, but is frowned upon as an idolatrous innovation by conservative Muslims. Most Islamic holidays either commemorate events in the life of the prophet Muhammad or are special days founded by him.

Holidays in the Muslim faith

Islamic Calendar

The Islamic calendar is lunar, like the Jewish calendar, but it has no corrective system to align it with the solar calendar so Islamic holidays do not always fall in the same season.

Al-Hijra: Islamic New Year

Al-Hijra, the Islamic New Year, is celebrated on the first day of Muharram, the month in which Muhammad emigrated from Mecca to Medina in 622 CE (the Hijra).

Ramadan: Month of Fasting

Ramadan is not a holy day to Muslims but a holy month. It is the ninth month of the Muslim year, in which "the Quran was sent down as a guidance for the people"

'Id Al-Fitr: Festival of Breaking the Fast

'Id Al-Fitr or Eid al-Fitr (Arabic for "Festival of the Breaking of the Fast") is one of Islam's two major festivals. It marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting, and is celebrated during the first three days of the month of Shawwal.

'Id Al-Adha: Festival of the Sacrifice

'Id Al-Adha or Eid al-Adha (Arabic عيد الأضحى, "Festival of the Sacrifice") is a major Islamic festival that takes place at the end of the Hajj.

Ashura: Remembering Shiite Martyr Husayn

Ashura (also spelled Aashurah, ‘Ashurah or Aashoorah), is an Islamic holiday observed on the 10th of Muharram, the first month of the Islamic year.

Article Info

TitleIslamic holidays and festivals
UpdatedNovember 10, 2015
MLA Citation“Islamic holidays and festivals.” 10 Nov. 2015. Web. Accessed 26 Oct. 2016. <>