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, Kuwait and Muscat to sight the Ramadan moon today i.e. 29th Shaban.
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 committees in the two Gulf countries will begin meeting after Maghrib prayer (7pm UAE time; 3pm GMT).
If the moon is sighted today the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Arab states will begin from Wednesday. If the new moon is not sighted today then the holy month will begin on Thursday.
Announcements about the moon sighting by the UAE and Saudi bodies 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 9pm.
In the UAE, office work hours for the private and public sectors are reduced so that people can spend more time in prayers. Work hours for employees in the private sector in the UAE are reduced by two hours during Ramadan.
Muslims in the Middle East, Europe and the US will be anxiously waiting for the announcement of advent of the holy month as majority of the Muslims in the Western countries follow Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Hijri calendar.
The Hijri date is the Islamic calendar which started in the moon year in which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) immigrated from Makkah to Madinah. A new month in the Hijri calendar begins with sighting of the moon on 29th of every month. If the moon is not sighted on 29th, that month completes 30 days.