Moon sighters failed to sight the crescent moon on Saturday.
Rabat – Saudi religious authorities has officially announced that Ramadan in Saudi Arabia will start Monday, May 6.
There were no reports of a crescent moon on Saturday by moon sighters. Accordingly, the first day of Ramadan in Saudi Arabia will start on Monday.
Saudi Arabia determines the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, through the use of moon sighters who report back to the government.
Saudi Arabia is among other Arab countries like the UAE and Egypt that rely upon the sighting of the moon with naked eyes to determine the start of Ramadan. Religious authorities in these countries often coordinate their decisions with those of Saudi Arabia, the birthplace of Islam and home of Mecca.
The moon-sighting tradition follows the words of the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), who 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.”
Maghreb countries have still not announced the official date of Ramadan. In Morocco, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and Endowment said Saturday that the moon sighting of Ramadan will take place on Sunday May 5.
Last April, Moroccan astronomer Hicham Elaissaoui said that Ramadan in Morocco would start on May 7. His prediction was shared by the Moroccan Science Initiative, which also predicted that Moroccans will start observing the holy month of Ramadan on May 7.
Though the month of Sha’ban in both Morocco and Saudi Arabia started on April 7, the Moroccan Science Initiative said that the two countries would observe the crescent moon for the month of Ramadan on two different days: Saudi Arabia on Saturday May 4, and Morocco on Sunday May 5.