Makkah/Dubai: Special arrangements have been made and general appeals have been issued to the masses by the authorities in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states including UAE, Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, Muscat and Palestine to sight the Ramadan moon today on Thursday May 25 corresponding to 29th Shaban of the Islamic Calendar.
According to the local media reports, the Supreme Judiciary Council of Saudi Arabia and UAE’s Moon Sighting Committee and will meet today in their respective countries to witness the Ramadan crescent.
The Supreme Court also called on whoever sees the Crescent of the blessed month of Ramadan by naked eyes or through binoculars to report to the nearest court and register his testimony, or report to the authority of the region's centre in his area where he sighted the Crescent in order to facilitate his reaching to the nearest court, according to Saudi Press Agency (SPA).
The committees in the two Gulf countries will begin meeting after Maghrib prayer (7pm UAE time; 3pm GMT).
The beginning of Ramadan has traditionally been based on “hilal” sightings, which is the traditional method mentioned in the Quran and followed by the Prophet Muhammad.
A new month in Islamic Calendar begins with sighting of moon on 29th of the prevailing month. If the new moon, Crescent, is sighted, the next day is counted as first day of the next month. If not, the next day is counted as 30th day of the prevailing month and the new month begins thereafter.
If the moon is sighted today the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Arab states will begin from Friday May 26, 2017. If the new moon is not sighted today then the holy month will begin from Saturday May 27..
Announcements about the moon sighting by the UAE and Saudi Supreme Court are usually made after Isha prayer (8.45pm UAE time; 4.45pm GMT) after receiving and confirming evidences of moon sightings from different parts of the countries. However, Saudi Arabia is one-hour behind the UAE.
Last year, the announcements were made after 9:00 pm on June 05 and Ramadan 2016 began from Monday June 06.
While Muslims in Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf States will sight the Crescent today i.e. Thursday May 25 to decide if the first day of the Holy month of fasting Ramadan is Friday May 26, Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangaldesh and other South Eastern countries will sight the new moon a day later on Friday.
On the other hand, Muslims in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada and other European countries rely on moon sighting announcements by Saudi Supreme Court, and begins Ramadan with Arab States.
More than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world will mark the month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and having martial relations from dawn until sunset. They also try to avoid evil thoughts and deeds during the holy month.
Ramadan is sacred to Muslims because tradition says the Holy Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed (peace be upon him) during that month. It is followed by the Eid al-Fitr festival.