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 inhumane 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, Shiite 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.
Palestinians mark Islamic New Year at Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque
Scores of Palestinians on celebrated the Islamic New Year at East Jerusalem's Al-Aqsa Mosque amid calls to protect the holy site from continued Israeli violations.
"You are the guardians of the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, the thorns in the side of the [Israeli] occupation," Jerusalem Grand Mufti Mohammed Hussein told worshippers gathered in the mosque compound.
"You came today despite all restrictions and obstacles," he said, "right under the noses of the aggressors who never stop trying to impose new facts on the ground."
"They [the Israelis] have no right to this place," Hussein added. "They think their brutal incursions and unjust attacks will break your will; but they will be disappointed."
"Today, you came to the Al-Aqsa Mosque in confidence and with faith, while they [the Israelis] come here in fear," he declared.
Scores of Palestinian Muslims converged on the iconic mosque Thursday morning to celebrate the Islamic New Year, singing religious anthems and distributing candy.
Palestinian public figures and political factions, for their part, urged Palestinians to mark the occasion at the mosque, while the Israeli authorities temporarily closed off the site to Jewish settlers.
For Muslims, Al-Aqsa represents the world's third holiest site after Mecca and Medina. Jews, for their part, refer to the area as the "Temple Mount", claiming it was home to a large Jewish temple in ancient times.
Israel occupied East Jerusalem, in which the Al-Aqsa is located, during the 1967 Arab-Israeli War. In 1980, it annexed the entire city, claiming it as the Jewish state's "eternal" capital in a move never recognized by the international community.