Makkah/Dubai/Doha: The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia and the UAE Moon Sighting Committee on Tuesday said the new moon has not been sighted. Hence Wednesday will be the 30th Shaban 1439 and the first day of Ramadan 2018 will be Thursday May 17.
The Royal Court of Saudi Arabia made the announcemt after a special meeting held to judge the moon sighting reports, if any, coming from the Kingdom today i.e. Tuesday May 15, 2018 corresponding to 29th Shaban 1439 of the Islamic Calendar.
Various moon sighting committees in Dubai, United Arab Emirate (UAE), Bahrain, Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Palestine, Muscat and other Arab states also conducted meetings of moon sighting committees to decide the commencement of Ramadan and declare Thursday May 17 as the first day of Ramadan 2018.
The Moon Sighting Committee of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, Qatar announced that Wednesday, May 16 is the completion of the month of Shaaban, and that the day after tomorrow,Thursday, May 17, will be the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
This came in a statement issued by the Committee after its meeting this evening at the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs, chaired by Dr. Sheikh Thaqeel Al Shammari.
Elsewhere in the world, the authorities in Malaysia and Australia on Tuesday announced that the first day of Ramadan 2018 in the two countries will be Thursday May 17, 2018. The announcement was made after no report of moon sighting.
Muslims in Malaysia will begin observing the month of Ramadan from Thursday, May 17, 2018, according to government-owned RTM.
The announcement was made by the Keeper of the Rulers' Seal, Datuk Seri Syed Danial Syed Ahmad, according to the New Straits Times. Syed Danial said the date for the beginning of the fast nationwide was set in accordance with a decree by the Yang di-Pertuan Agong after acquiring the consent of the country's rulers.
Likewise, the Australian Muslim Council of Imams has declared that Ramadan will fall on Thursday May 17, 2018. In a circular issued on Tuesday, the council stated that “following extensive consultations with nationwide Islamic leaders and imams from the Australian National Imams Council Executive Committee and their representatives from all Australian states, the first night of the holy month of Ramadan and Taraweeh prayer will be on Wednesday the 16th of May after Maghreb (sunset)”.
South Korea, Japan and Singapore also declared start of Ramadan on Thursday.
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.
The month of Sahaban began in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries on Tuesday April 17, 2018. Accordingly, the crescent or the new moon of the Holy Month of Ramadan will be sighted today on May 15, 2018 corresponding to 29th Shaban 1439. If the new moon is sighted then the Holy month of fasting will begin on Wednesday May 16, 2018. In case the new moon is not sighted then Ramadan in Saudi Arabia and other Arab states will begin on Thursday May 17, 2018.
The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia and Sultan Bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice, UAE have requested residents to sight the crescent moon on Tuesday and to report it to the nearest court. They also urged all Sharia courts in the country to participate in the moon sighting and inform the committee of any findings.
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.
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 Tuesday May 15 corresponding to 29th Shaban 1439 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).
In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries, the new moon of the month of Ramadan, also called in the region as Ramzan, will be sighted tomorrow on May 16, 2018 corresponding to 29th of Shaban in the region. If the new moon is sighted then the Holy month of fasting will begin on Thursday May 17, 2018. In case the new moon is not sighted then Ramadan in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other South Asian countries will begin on Friday May 18, 2018.
On the other hand, Muslims in the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, North Africa and other European countries except Scotland will sight the moon today and decide the first day of Ramadan 2018. Most of the times, Muslims in these countries also rely on moon sighting announcements by Saudi Supreme Court, and begins Ramadan with Arab States. People in Scotland will have to wait until Thursday, May 17, to see the moon, when it will be easy to see across the whole of the world.
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.
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