In the heat of the confusion related to the first day of fasting, given the month of Ramadan is almost here, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia announced for the sighting of the moon on Saturday, May 4. Calling out to the Muslims, the Supreme Court signaled them to look for the crescent moon on Saturday evening so as to confirm the beginning of the holy month of fasting.
According to the court’s order, the first person to sight the moon, with the naked eye or through the binoculars, should inform the nearest court, reported Saudi state-news agency SPA. The statement came in the wake of the month of Ramadan which is expected to start from Sunday and continue till the first week of June.
According to the reports by astronomers at the International Astronomical Center (IAC), the fasting is likely to begin from May 6, 2019. While the final announcement will be made by the moon sighting committee, the director of the IAC, Mohammad Shaukat, has reportedly conveyed that the moon will be sighted on May 5 in all likelihood, in the East and South-East of India, southern Europe and the Arab nations.
Given this prediction, the crescent moon will reportedly be sighted on May 5 around 2.46 am (UAE) which means that the first fast will be observed on May 6. The moon sighting committees in India and Saudi Arabia will also declare the last day of fasting, that is the day of Eid, in the same manner on the 28th or 29th evening of fasting after the crescent moon is sighted post the Maghrib prayer.
Unlike the Gregorian calendar followed by the West, the Islamic calendar is lunar that is, based on the moon. 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 hence, varying from country to country by about a day.