Social networking site Facebook has launched the Islamic Hijri calendar as a new feature for birthdays.
The calendar will be available as an option alongside the Gregorian version. The Hijri calendar is based on twelve lunar months and is 11 days shorter than the Gregorian year.
It will be offered first in Saudi Arabia before being rolled out to other countries with Islamic populations.
Facebook's Middle East and Africa head Jonathan Labin said the new tool would allow Saudi users to better facilitate their social communications with friends and family.
People who use Facebook in Saudi Arabia will be notified about the Hijri calendar option by means of 'ÂÂmegaphone', giving more information about the feature and offering the option to add their birthday to the 'ÂÂabout me' section. The information can be hidden or made visible in accordance with personal preference.
"We believe this feature will gain great momentum in the weeks and months ahead, and as we test the response in Saudi Arabia, we are confident that rolling out in other countries across the Islamic world will become eminent," he said.
Facebook has 1.1 billion users worldwide and launched its regional Middle East and Africa operation in Dubai last year to boost its presence in the region.
Courtney Trenwith, "Facebook launches Islamic calendar" Arabian Business July 17, 2013
"Islamic Hijri calendar now available on facebook" albawaba July 16, 2013
"Facebook launches new features for Islamic Hijri calendar" Telecompaper July 16, 2013
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today