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Moon sighted in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait; Ramadan to begin in Arab States from Monday

Riyadh/Dubai: The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia has declared Monday, June 6, 2016, as the first day of Ramadan. In a statement issued a little while ago, the highest court said it made the decision after validating reports of sightings of the Ramadan crescent moon.

Ramadan moon has been sighted in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait therefore Monday, June 6, will be the first day of the holy month in the Kingdom and other Arab States, Al Arabiya News Channel reported on Sunday.

The UAE, Jordan and the Palestinian territories have also confirmed seeing the Ramadan moon crescent and declared Monday as the first day of the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, the report said.

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 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.

Earlier, the Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia has called on all Muslims across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to sight the Crescent of the blessed month of Ramadan today i.e. Sunday evening, Shaaban 29, 1437 AH, corresponding to June 05, 2016.

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).

The Supreme Court also urged all Muslims to sight the crescent by joining regional committees specialized in this regard, and to help Muslims around the world in righteousness and piety.

In United Arab Emirate (UAE), Sultan Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice, in a resolution, said the committee to sight the Crescent will meet after Maghreb prayerson Sunday at the judicial Department in Abu Dhabi. The resolution stipulates that all courts in the UAE have to mark the new moon of Ramadan and provide proof.

The UAE on Wednesday formed a moon-sighting committee to determine the beginning of Ramadan. To be chaired by Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi, Minister of Justice, the committee will convene on June 5 (Shaban 29, Hijri calendar) after Maghrib prayer to witness the first sighting of the crescent moon.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Shawkat Odeh, Director, International Astronomical Center UAE, said Islamic countries would observe the Crescent on Sunday evening, according to local media reports

He said the moon would be out after sunset and it would be possible to sight the Crescent using a telescope. However, it would be possible to see the Crescent with naked eye only in parts of America, and parts of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, he added.

While Muslims in Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf States will sight the Crescent today i.e. Sunday June 05 to decide if the first day of the Holy month of fasting Ramadan is on Monday June 06, Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangaldesh and other South Eastern countries will sight the new moon a day later on Monday.

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.

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