Last updated: March 5, 2022
I myself often had the problem of converting Hijri years quickly and easily into the year notation common in the West. An exact conversion is not that easy; for everyday use, a good approximation is usually sufficient, which can be achieved with a formula that is easy to remember.
Meaning of Hijri
The name هِجْرة (hijrah) describes the migration of the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his followers from Mecca to Medina in June 622 CE. This also marks the beginning of the Islamic or (lunar) Hijri-calendar, so called التَّقْوِيم الهِجْرِيّ الْقَمَرِيّ
The Muslim calendar is a lunar calendar and doesn’t follow a solar system like the Gregorian or Persian calendar.
Normally, in Arabic, it is marked by the letter ھ. It is written in the form that it has at the beginning of the word (ھ) – and not the stand-alone form: ه.
I am not sure why; maybe so it is not confused with the number 5. The Gregorian or Christian calendar is marked by the Arabic letter م meaning: مِيلادِيّ, A.D.
So let us come back to our question:
Which (Gregorian) year is, for example, 1435 Hijri? First of all, one lunar year has about 354 days. A Gregorian year has 365 days; however, there are also leap years (366 days) which are also used as a correction faction.
Hence, if you want to find the correct corresponding date, it is nothing but trivial. There are many things to keep in mind.
The easiest way to convert dates is to use a corrective factor (354 divided by 365) ≈ 0.97. If you remember that, you can quickly use it with your mobile calculator or even by a calculation on paper.
WATCH OUT: It will give you an approximate number (year). The result is not 100% correct, as indicated in the sign ≈, but the result will be very close to the correct year.
HIJRI TO GREGORIAN: If you want to convert a Hijri date to a Gregorian date, you need to multiply the original Hijri year by 0.97 and add 622:
Year Gregorian ≈ Year Hijri × 0.97 + 622
GREGORIAN TO HIJRI: If you want to convert a Gregorian date to a Muslim date, you have to subtract 622 from the year and multiply it by 1.03:
Year Hijri ≈ (Year Gregorian– 622) × 1.03
In our example, the result is: 1435 x 0.97 + 622 = 2013.95
It is the year: 2014
Tools to convert Hijri dates
Many websites offer tools to convert dates. I can recommend the following two:
Are you interested in history? Then check out these articles:
- Who invented the Arabic typewriter (keyboard)?
- Why do many superheros and villains have Arabic or Hebrew names?
- What is the idea of tanween (تنوين) in Arabic?
- The Evolution of an Arabic Course: how a US military Arabic course went around the world
- Social Media & Palestine: Dotless Arabic outsmarts algorithms
picture credit: Image by Andreas Lischka from Pixabay