Eid-ul-Fitr Moon Sighting 2019: Muslims in Saudi Arabia and around the world have been observing dawn-to-dusk fasts in the holy month of Ramadan or Ramzan and are keen to know the date for Chand Raat and Eid or Eid-ul-Fitr 2019. The Islamic calendar is lunar that is based on the moon, unlike the Gregorian calendar followed by the West. Since lunar months are shorter than solar months, Muslims holy month of Ramadan, which takes place in the ninth month of the Islamic year, occurs approximately 11 days earlier every year depending on when the moon is sighted and the same is for Eid which varies from country to country by about a day. While many depend on sighting the crescent moon by the naked eye, some organisations use astronomical charts to plan a long way ahead.
The Saudi Arabia government uses the Umm al-Qura Calendar which is determined at the Institute of Astronomical & Geophysical Research of the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh. Although this calendar is often criticised by other Muslim organisations and communities who depend on the actual sighting of the lunar crescent, it is followed by several neighbouring states on the Arabian Peninsula such as Bahrain and Qatar apart from the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR).
The festive day begins by offering Eid prayer at the mosque. The Islamic prayer, known as salat, comprises of two units of prayer known as rakats along with six incarnations. The Eid prayer is followed by the sermon after which Muslims ask for Allah’s forgiveness, mercy, peace and blessings for all living beings across the world. The prayer is performed in an assembly and is followed by raising of the hands to the ears while saying ‘Allahu Akbar’ which means God is the greatest. Muslims believe that apart from fasting for a month, they are commanded by Allah to pay Zakat-al-Fitr before offering prayers on the occasion of Eid.