Rabat- This year, Islamic countries around the world will begin their Ramadan fast on the same day, May 17, according to Moroccan astronomer Abdelaziz Kharbouch Al-Ifrani.
Rabat– This year, Islamic countries around the world will begin their Ramadan fast on the same day, May 17, according to Moroccan astronomer Abdelaziz Kharbouch Al-Ifrani.
In an interview with Morocco World News, astronomer, researcher, graduate of Madrasa Al-Atiqa in Souss, Abdelaziz Kharbouch Al-Ifrani is predicting that the first day of Ramadan will fall on Thursday, May 17, marking unified fasting throughout all Muslim countries, including North Africa and Saudi Arabia.
According to Kharbouch, whose previous predictions for Ramadan and other religious celebrations were all correct, the appearance of the crescent moon will be clearly observed from countries in the Western Hemisphere which includes Morocco:
“The moon will set directly after the sunset in Saudi Arabia and other eastern countries, not long before the crescent appears in Morocco and other countries in the west.”
Kharbouch added that the moon may be visible in Saudi Arabia in the evening of Tuesday, May 15, as the nation mainly follows the Al-Qura calendar, which is based on astronomical calculations. However, it is unlikely that the moon will be visible on that day.
As a result, Saudi Arabia will see the crescent and fast on Thursday, May 17, the same day as Morocco and other Muslim countries, noting that the crescent will be very clear by then.
This is also the case for Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic lunar calendar that follows Ramadan, which is expected to be celebrated in unison by all Muslim countries, a rare phenomenon.
Kharbouch’s prediction for Ramadan matches that of astronomer Dr. Hicham El Issaoui, who recently said that Ramadan will start on May 17 and last until June 15.
El Issaoui also predicted that Eid al-Adha will occur on Wednesday, August 22 and that the first day of the Islamic year, Fatih-Muharram, 1440, will occur on Tuesday, September 11, while the birthday of Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, Mawlid al-Nabi al-Sharif, will be celebrated on Tuesday, November 20, 2018.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic lunar calendar, it lasts from 29 to 30 days depending on longitude, and observance of the crescent moon or on relevant astronomical calculations, as prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said:
“Do not fast until you see it [the crescent] and do not break the fast until you see it, and if it is covered then complete the month.”
In this holy month, Muslims all across the world fast from sunrise to sunset, fulfilling the second basic pillar of Islam after the profession of faith (shahadah), prayer (salah), charity (zakaat), and pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj).
Beyond abstention from food and drink throughout the days, however, Ramadan inspires Muslims to strive for the highest realms of spirituality and self-reflection, as Allah’s messenger said:
“Whoever fasts during Ramadan out of sincere faith and hoping to attain Allah’s rewards, then all his past sins will be forgiven,” according to the Hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari.