Adopting the Hijri calendar as your primary calendar in life can be challenging – especially that our modern life is built and organized around the Gregorian calendar. This article will offer a practical tool to help you live a Hijri-first lifestyle we call: The #GoHijri Adoption Framework.
If you’re more of a visual/auditory learner, check out the webinar below, where we’ll go in-depth on how to use this framework to live a Hijri first lifestyle:
For fifteen centuries, the Islamic calendar was the primary calendar for Muslims globally. Unfortunately, it lost its status in the last 100 years and became a secondary calendar for many of us, only referring to it for Ramadan, Eid, and Hajj.
Last year, The Productive Muslim Company launched the #GoHijri campaign to save the Islamic calendar from being a forgotten relic of the past. In an article titled “Why the Islamic Calendar Matters More Than You Think,” I made the argument that we stand to lose much when we neglect this powerful calendar, including:
- Not aligning ourselves with the Divine Order: The Islamic lunar calendar is the chosen calendar aligned with Allah’s Divine Order. Allah says in the Quran: “Indeed, the number of months with Allah is twelve [lunar] months in the register of Allah [from] the day He created the heavens and the earth; of these, four are sacred…” [Quran 9:36]. When we don’t align ourselves with the chosen calendar of the Divine – we become misaligned with the Divine Order.
- Losing touch with our Islamic civilizational identity: The Islamic calendar is the last institution we have as a global Muslim society that connects the Ummah. Look at how we come together for Ramadan, Eid, and Hajj (differences of moon sighting aside). It’s a time system that has lasted for fifteen centuries, and we need to take responsibility to revive it.
- Forgetting the spiritual rhythm of the past: The Islamic calendar creates a spiritual rhythm to life by alternating between sacred time and non-sacred time. Moreover, there’s a rhythm of fasting created by the waxing and waning of the moon as we’re encouraged to fast on the 13th, 14th, 15th of each Islamic month.
Going Hijri is not All-Or-Nothing
A year after launching the #GoHijri campaign, I reached out to #GoHijri enthusiasts to ask about their experiences going Hijri-first (a term we coined to mean that you prioritize using the Hijri calendar in your life more than other calendar systems). Below is a sample of their responses:
“I sincerely tried to base my life on the Hijri calendar. It just didn’t work very well, because of my work calendar and days off being on the Gregorian calendar…I did put the Hijri calendar on my wall over my desk at home, though, so I was much more aware of the Hijri calendar. So I guess in some ways it worked, but I wasn’t able to follow the Hijri calendar as closely as I wanted.”– Meg Siegel
“while going Hijri is not easy when the world you operate in works with Gregorian calendar, at least personally I am aware of the Hijri months and their significance and making an effort to align my goals and intentions with the Hijri Calendar as opposed to the Gregorian one. Jan 1st doesn’t really signify the New Year to me anymore ..”– Samia Ali
“The GoHijri idea is something that has stayed with me from the time I read about it…It has boosted my sense of self as a Muslim, has made me even more proud of my Muslim identity, recalibrated my entire thought process actually. Also, the obvious spiritual benefits like being more aware of the sacred month, planning the ayyam al beed (white day) fasts, hijama dates, etc. All in all, this has been hugely successful in my life.”– Isra Kaleem
The above feedback showcases the different stages people go through when trying to live a Hijri-first lifestyle. It starts with awareness, then alignment, and finally adoption. The critical thing to remember is that going Hijri-first is not all-or-nothing; i.e. either I fully adopt the Hijri calendar or never use it again. There are stages and levels in between, which we capture in the #GoHijri adoption framework below.
The #GoHijri Adoption Framework
Shifting our lives from being Gregorian-first to Hijri-first, can be challenging. However, we can make this shift in stages.
Below is the #GoHijri Adoption Framework that we developed at The Productive Muslim Company to help individuals shift from being aware of the Hijri calendar to fully adopting it. Enter your name and email below to download it.
The #GoHijri Adoption Framework is divided into three levels:
Level 1: Awareness
The awareness level is when a person becomes consciously aware of the Hijri calendar and its changing seasons. Below are five indicators that you’re at the aware level:
- You know which Hijri year you’re in (e.g., 1443H)
- You know which Islamic month you’re in (e.g., Muharram 1443H).
- You know the exact date according to the Hijri calendar (e.g., 1st Muharram 1443H)
- You are aware of the sacred months of the Hijri calendar and when they’ll occur during the year.
- You track the moon-sighting in your local area and are aware of the start of each Islamic month based on your locality.
Level 2: Alignment
The alignment level is when you proactively align your personal and professional life to the Hijri calendar. The five indicators that you’re at the alignment level are:
- You plan your voluntary fasting according to the white days of each Islamic month.
- You increase acts of worship during the sacred months.
- You are extra vigilant from committing sins during the sacred months.
- You’ve added the Hijri calendar to your phone/computer calendar system.
- You align special events in your life (wedding, new job, etc) with special dates in the Hijri calendar.
Level 3: Adoption
Level 3 is when you start living the Hijri first lifestyle. You think, plan, and organize your life around the Hijri calendar. Below are five indicators that you’ve adopted the Hijri calendar:
- You plan your month according to the Hijri calendar.
- You plan your year according to the Hijri calendar.
- You adopted your Hijri-calendar age as your true age.
- You communicate with family and friends in Hijri-first
- You adopted a Hijri-first mindset, i.e. you’re more comfortable dealing and interacting with the hijri calendar than the Gregorian calendar
How to use the #GoHijri Adoption framework?
The #GoHijri adoption framework is a valuable tool to help you assess where you are in your journey of living a Hijri-first lifestyle and where you need to be.
At the beginning of each Islamic year (or any time you’re ready to #GoHijri), assess yourself against the above framework. This would give you a benchmark to measure yourself and work towards a higher adoption level by the next Islamic year.
Living a Hijri-first lifestyle requires conscious effort in the first few weeks, however, after a while you’ll be surprised how you naturally gravitate towards a Hijri-first life and prefer it even to the Gregorian calendar.