Makkah/Dubai: The first day of Ramadan will be on Saturday, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia and UAE officials announced a short while ago on Thursday May 25, 2017 corresponding to 29th Shaban of the Islamic Calendar.
"The crescent moon was not sighted on Thursday and so fasting will start Saturday.
“The moon will be out/disappear on the entire Islamic world, Thursday and, based on this, there is no crescent,” astronomer Khalid Al-Zaaq, a member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences said in a series of tweets.
He added that this year’s Ramadan will begin and end on a Saturday, which makes it a 29-day month. “(Ramadan) will have four Fridays,” he added.
"The first day of Ramadan will be on Saturday after the UAE moon-sighting committee failed to sight the new Moon crescent on Thursday night", local media reported.
"Friday will be the last day of Sha’ban, making Saturday the first day of the holy month", Aletihad, the Arabic-language sister newspaper of The National, reported.
Officials in Qatar also said there was no moon sighted today. But, added that further probe will continue till tomorrow.
“Due to the lack of a moon sighting this night, the committee announces that investigation will continue tomorrow", Qatari Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs said on Twitter.
Other Arab states including Kuwait, Muscat, Jordan, Syria, Iraq and Palestine normally rely on moon sighting reports from Saudi Arabia. A formal announcement by these countries are expected shortly.
The Muslims in United States, United Kingdom and other European countries follow Saudi Arabia moon reports. Hence the first day of Ramadan in these countries will also be Saturday May, 27.
"The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) has announced that Ramadan this year will begin on Saturday, May 27.
"In North America, the first day of Ramadan will be on Saturday, May 27, 2017, and the first day of Eid Al Fitr (Shawwal) will be on Sunday, June 25, 2017", the Council said in a statement posted on its website.
In Europe, the European Council of Fatwa and Research have also decided that May 27 will be the start of Ramadan.
Earlier, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia began its special meeting to judge the moon sighting reports, if any, coming from the Kingdom soon after the Maghrib prayers today i.e. Thursday May 25, 2017 corresponding to 29th Shaban of the Islamic Calendar.
A formal announcement when Ramadan - the holy month of fasting, will begin this year will follow soon. Going by the record of past few years, we can expect the announcement anytime before 09:00 pm Makkah time today.
Various moon sighting committees in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE), Doha, Qatar, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, Muscat and other Arab states are also holding meetings of moon sighting committees to decide the commencement of Ramadan.
The process is followed as per the tradition of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him).
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 the 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.
Special arrangements were made and general appeals had 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.
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).
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.