When is Ramadan 2024 and how is the moon sighted? | Religion News

For most countries, the first day of fasting is likely to be March 12, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

The first day of fasting for the Muslim holy month of Ramadan in Mecca will be Monday, March 11 or Tuesday, March 12, depending on the sighting of the new moon.

Ramadan is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins with the sighting of the crescent moon. Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries rely on the testimonies of moon sighters to determine the start of the month.

How is the Ramadan moon sighted?

For the moon to be visible, the crescent must set after the sun. This allows the sky to be dark enough to spot the small slither of the new moon.

After the sun sets on the night of March 10, 29th of Shaaban month in the Hijri calendar, moon sighters face west with a clear view of the horizon for a first glimpse of the crescent moon.

If the moon is sighted, the month of Ramadan begins, with the first fasting day being March 11. Otherwise, Shaaban will complete 30 days, and the first fasting day will be March 12.

In Saudi Arabia, testimonies of people who have spotted the moon are recorded and the Supreme Court makes a decision on when Ramadan should begin.

When does Ramadan begin in different countries?

According to Crescent Moon Watch, a moon tracker run by the United Kingdom’s Nautical Almanac Office, Ramadan’s new moon will begin on March 10 at 17:23 GMT (8:23pm Mecca time), with no sightings of any type expected that night.

On March 10, the new moon should be visible only in the Pacific, near the Hawaiian Islands and parts of French Polynesia. It is unlikely that most of the world, including the Middle East, North America and Europe, will be able to see the new crescent with the naked eye.

The new moon could possibly be seen without optical aid if the skies are clear across most of the world on March 11. Telescopic sightings are likely in southern Australia, Tasmania and New Zealand.

For most countries, the first day of fasting will likely be March 12.

The moon phases of Ramadan

Lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, depending on the sighting of the new moon on the 29th night of each month. If the new moon is not visible, the month lasts 30 days.

Why is Ramadan holy?

Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.

Throughout the month, observing Muslims fast from just before the sunrise prayer, Fajr, to the sunset prayer, Maghrib.

The fast entails abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual relations to achieve greater “taqwa”, or consciousness of God.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca if physically and financially capable.

In many Muslim-majority countries, working hours are reduced, and most restaurants are closed during fasting hours

How do you wish someone for Ramadan?

Various Muslim-majority nations have a personalised greeting in their native languages. “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem” are common greetings exchanged in this period, wishing the recipient a blessed and generous month, respectively.

When is Eid al-Fitr?

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr. In Arabic, it means “festival of breaking the fast”.

Depending on the new moon sighting, Eid al-Fitr, which lasts three days, will likely start on April 10 or 11.

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