The Shawwal crescent moon has not been sighted in Saudi Arabia on Friday night, meaning that Ramadan will last 30 days this year and Eid al-Fitr will fall on Sunday, May 24, according to Al Arabiya’s correspondent.
The sighting committee in the Tumair observatory, Saudi Arabia, said the crescent moon was not sighted on Friday night.
Eid al-Fitr celebrations follow the sighting of the crescent moon, ending the holy month of Ramadan and the dawn-to-dusk fasting of millions of Muslims.
Muslims follow a lunar calendar consisting of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. Sighting a crescent moon heralds the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and the Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of the holy month.
The UAE-based International Astronomical Center said last week their calculations estimated this coming Sunday, May 24, would likely be the first day of Eid al-Fitr across most Islamic countries in the world.
“Friday, May 22, will mark the 29th day of Ramadan in most Islamic countries that started Ramadan on Friday, April 24. For these countries, sighting the crescent on that day is impossible from all countries of the Islamic world, because of the moon will set before the sun and due to the pairing (of the crescent’s birth) after sunset,” said IAC chairman Mohammed Odeh in a statement.
More than 1.5 billion Muslims around the world marked Ramadan this year, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking, smoking, and having marital relations from dawn until sunset. They also try to avoid evil thoughts and deeds.
This year’s Ramadan is markedly different as many Muslims will not be able to experience the communal traditions of Ramadan due to the restrictions on movement and social gathering imposed in Islamic and Muslim-majority countries across the world following the coronavirus pandemic.