Saudi Arabia’s High Judicial Court has announced that, based on confirmed sightings of Ramadan’s new moon crescent, the first day of Ramadan 1438 fasting will be Saturday, May 27.
Saturday was confirmed the first day of Ramadan in 30 other countries also, whereas Bangladesh, Pakistan, India and Shia Muslims in Iraq declared Sunday May 28 to be their first day of Ramadan.
Iran is expected to observe Ramadan fasting from Saturday, an Iranian official told the IRNA news agency on Friday.
As per tradition, the sighting of the new moon marks the beginning of the Muslim lunar month of Ramadan.
هلال رمضان كما يظهر الان من جبل حفيت في الإمارات. رصد وتصوير مركز الفلك الدولي pic.twitter.com/GaHOHuoZtd
— مركز الفلك الدولي (@AstronomyCenter) May 26, 2017
Turkey and Muslim communities in America and Europe previously announced they will observe Ramadan fasting from May 27, based on astronomic calculations.
In Muslim-majority countries, offices are required by law to reduce working hours, and many restaurants are closed during daylight hours in Ramadan.
“Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem” are common greetings exchanged in this occasion, wishing the recipient a blessed and generous Ramadan.
#Auspol we extend our prayerful and kindest thoughts to the #Muslim Community for #Ramadan #RamadanMubarak pic.twitter.com/G7L1kCskla
— Fr Rod Bower (@FrBower) May 26, 2017
Muslim lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, and 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.
Astronomic predictions indicate that the new moon crescent should be visible either with the naked eye, or with a telescope from around the world on Friday evening.
Moon sighters in the UAE posted a photo showing the new moon crescent during the day on Friday.
#صور_مباشرة لاستعدادات اللجنة الميدانية لاستطلاع #هلال_رمضان باللاجال #عمان pic.twitter.com/wu3umH5xdZ
— وزارة الأوقاف (@meraoman) May 26, 2017
Last year in May, member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), at the International Hijri Calendar Unity Congress held in Istanbul, voted in favour of adopting a single unified lunar calendar.
However, they local sighting continues to be the default policy in each country.
End of Ramadan
Ramadan lasts either 29 or 30 days, depending on sighting of the moon on the 29th night of Ramadan, on Saturday June 24.
At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate breaking their fast with the three-day festival of Eid al-Fitr, but holidays differ by country.
This year, Saudi Arabia announced holidays from the 25th of Ramadan until the 7th of Shawal, the lunar month after Ramadan.
As per astronomic calculations, Turkey and Muslim communities in the US and Europe expect the first day of Eid al-Fitr on Sunday, June 25.