6 Islamic Emoji That Are The Stars Of The Islamic New Year For Muslims, August of 2021 will bring the start of Muharram. Muharram, or Moharram, is the first month of the Islamic calendar. Islam uses a lunar calendar, so the exact dates of Muharram shift every year. In 2021, the Islamic New Year—the first day of Muharram—falls on August 9 and Muharram will last until September 8. Islam is divided into two major sects: Sunni Islam and Shia Islam. The two sects mark Muharram differently. Followers of Sunni Islam view Muharram as a thoughtful time to be celebrated with fasting and solemn reflection. Shi’ites (followers of Shia Islam), on the other hand, view Muharram as a time of mourning. Shia Muslims mark Muharram as a time to mourn the martyr Husayn ibn Ali, a grandson of the prophet Muhammad. Observances of Muharram differ depending on geographic location and which sect of Islam a person follows. Muslims may hold festivals, processions, or religious gatherings to celebrate the Islamic New Year. Shia Muslims often view the month much more solemnly and may fast the entire month, avoid joyous events, or don mourning clothes. In general, both sects of Islam view the 10th day of Muharram—known as the Day of Ashura—to be especially holy and will usually spend the day fasting, mourning, or listening to religious sermons. For us, Muharram provides a good opportunity to learn a little bit more about Islam in general. To help make this fun, we’ll approach the topic using a script that many people simply cannot live without—emoji! Mosque 🕌 Represented by the Mosque emoji 🕌, a mosque is a Muslim house of worship. It is the Islamic equivalent to a Christian church or a Jewish synagogue. Every mosque has a mihrab, which is a niche in the wall that identifies the qibla, the direction that Muslims face in order to pray toward Mecca. Architecturally, many mosques have a dome-shaped roof and a minaret, a tower attached to the mosque or located next to it. A muezzin (crier) may use the minaret to deliver a call to prayer to summon the faithful to come worship at a mosque. In general, mosques serve the same functions as other religious buildings: they are a place for prayer, delivering sermons, studying religious texts, or to gather for religious holidays or events. Star and Crescent ☪️ The star and crescent symbol appears on the flags of many Muslim countries and is often used to symbolize Islam itself. The crescent moon featured in the emoji is similarly depicted in the Star and Crescent Moon emoji ☪️. The popular association of this symbol with Islam is due to its use by the Muslim Ottoman Empire, who controlled a large portion of southeastern Europe for centuries. However, the star and crescent symbols are not Islamic in origin and predate the Muslim religion. For this reason, some Muslims refuse to accept the star and crescent as the symbol of Islam. Kaaba 🕋 This emoji, 🕋, depicts the Kaaba, a cube-shaped building located in the city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The word Kaaba comes from the Arabic ka`bah, meaning “cube.” According to Islamic tradition, the Kaaba is the House of God and was built by the prophet Abraham (who is called Ibrahim in Islamic scripture). It is said that one of the stones in the Kaaba, called the Black Stone, was given to Ibrahim by the angel Gabriel. The Kaaba is considered the holiest place of worship on Earth, and Muslims turn in the direction of the Kaaba while praying. Millions of Muslim pilgrims journey to visit the Kaaba every year. Often, a Muslim will try to touch or kiss the Kaaba during the pilgrimage known as the hajj that every adult Muslim is required to make during their lives. Learn about the two major Islamic holidays, one of which celebrates the pilgrimage to Hajj every year. Person with Headscarf 🧕 Most versions of this emoji depict a woman wearing a hijab, a headscarf that covers the hair and neck. The hijab and other headscarves are worn by some Muslim women for personal reasons which could include a display of piety or as a sign of modesty. The Person with Headscarf emoji 🧕 became an official emoji thanks in large part to a 2016 proposal pushed by a 15-year-old Muslim girl named Rayouf Alhumedhi and a group that consisted of Reddit co-founder, Alexis Ohanian. The hijab isn’t the only garment traditionally worn by Muslim women. A niqab is a long veil that only leaves the eyes uncovered. A burka is a garment that covers the entire head and leaves only a mesh opening to see through. A chador is a long cloak that extends to the feet and only leaves the face exposed. Palms Up Together 🤲 The Palms Up Together emoji 🤲 can be used for a variety of purposes, but the gesture depicted in the emoji closely resembles that used during dua in Islam. Dua roughly translates to “supplication” and refers to the act of a Muslim calling on God for mercy, assistance, or forgiveness. Dua is similar to prayer but differs slightly in purpose. Prayer is seen as the act of worshipping and honoring God while dua is asking for God’s help. Do you end your prayers with amen? If so, do you know what it means? Prayer Beads 📿 This emoji is meant to refer to a variety of objects, such as a Christian rosary or a Buddhist mala. However, most versions of the Prayer Beads emoji 📿 highly resemble a misbaha. A misbaha is a set of prayer beads used in Islam. Traditionally, the misbaha has 99 beads to represent the 99 names (or attributes) of God. Smaller misbaha composed of 33 beads are also used. The misbaha is used while reciting prayers but is also sometimes used as a stress reliever. If you liked learning about this, you might enjoy this refresher on Lent and the events leading up to it.