With Ramadan one month away, the first day of fasting will be confirmed on the eve of May 27.
Ramadan is 11-12 days earlier each year
First day to be confirmed eve of May 27
Eid will fall between June 25 and 27
Moon sighters in Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries were unable to sight the moon last night and have thus announced that Shaban, the last lunar month before Ramadan, will start on Thursday evening.
So far Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Libya, Tunisia and Syria have officially confirmed the same.
The Muslim holy month of Ramadan will begin either on Saturday, May 27 or on Sunday, May 28, depending on moon sighting on the eve of May 27.
Muslim lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, depending on sighting of the moon on the 29th night of each month. If the moon is not visible, the month will last 30 days.
By the Gregorian solar calendar, Ramadan comes 11 to 12 days earlier each year. Last year, the first day of Ramadan was on June 6, 2016.
In order to declare the beginning of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries depend on the testimonies of local moon sighters. The Judicial High Court then makes a decision on when Ramadan begins.
In the United States, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) announced that Ramadan would be observed from May 27, based on astronomical predictions.
Astronomically the birth of a new moon can be calculated, but the actual visibility of the crescent depends on factors such as atmospheric conditions, cloudiness, and the distance between the sun and the moon on the horizon.
For Muslims, Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran, Islam’s holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.
During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from sunrise to sunset. This fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.
Ramadan fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.
In Muslim-majority countries, offices are required by law to reduce working hours, and many restaurants are closed during daylight hours.
At the end of Ramadan, after 29 or 30 days, Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Eid al-Fitr in Arabic literally means “festival of breaking the fast”.
Depending on the actual start date of Ramadan and moon sighting on the 29th night of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr this year will fall between Sunday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 27.