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Speculations About the First Day of Ramadan

Astronomer’s Prediction: Ramadan to Begin on May 17

Rabat – The holy month of Ramadan is approaching day by day and people in Morocco have already started making provisions to greet it. Despite the scorching heat during the days of the last few Ramadans, which coincided with summer time, Moroccans still excitedly await the holy month each year.

However, the controversy over the exact dates of Ramadan start a month before. Speculations and astronomical calculations usually contradict, making it especially confusing for Muslims living abroad. Sometimes the difference between Muslim countries, though being geographically close, varies by a full day.

The Grand Mosque of Paris announced in a press release, revealed by Saphire News, that “The night of doubt” to determine the start of Ramadan is going to be June 5.  The Grand Mosque also stated in the same press release that a commission will set the exact date of the start of Ramadan during the night of June 5.

Accordingly, the first day of Ramadan is likely to be on June 6 or 7. The Islamic Theological Council has already fixed the date of Ramadan in France on June 7 based on astronomical calculations.

The month of Shaaban began Sunday, May 8, 2016 in countries such as Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the US and even South Africa. The 29th day of Shaaban coincides with Sunday June 5. Thus, Ramadan in Morocco, like in many countries, should begin June 6 if the moon appears in the evening of June 5, or June 7 if it is not visible on June 5.

Following the Islamic tradition, the determination of the date of Ramadan should depend on the observation of the new moon with the naked eye.

The Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs has many observatories across the country to observe the moon and report to the Ministry, which finally announces the beginning of the new month. Hence, Morocco is hailed as the most accurate country in the Arab World when it comes to Islamic calendar dates.

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