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Time for introspection as Ramadan begins

Adel Arafa - adel@khaleejtimes.com (WAM) / 11 August 2010

A time for prayer, fasting and introspection, the holy month of Ramadan, which begins today, will also be a season for sharing and penance.

In the UAE, the Ramadan Moon-sighting Committee announced on Tuesday evening the first day of the holy month will be Wednesday.

People offering Taraweeh prayers after the sighting of the moon heralding the holy month of Ramadan, at the Grand Mosque in Karama on Tuesday. — KT photo by Rahul Gajjar

Dr Hadif bin Joaan Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, the head of the committee who presided over the meeting, said: “The committee, using astronomical telescopes which have been placed in the emirates, ascertained that the crescent of the holy month of Ramadan was sighted in the UAE on Tuesday, which indicates that Ramadan will start in the country on Wednesday”.

He said that the committee had ensured  the accuracy of the sighting. Teams were carefully selected and deployed in different parts of the country.

Two teams were stationed at Halat Al Bahrani Island, five nautical miles off the capital Abu Dhabi and on top of Jebel Hafiet in the Eastern Region. They were accompanied by representatives from Al Ain Sharia Court.

Senior religious councils in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar said the new moon had been sighted on Tuesday, In Yemen, the month will also begin on Wednesday, while Oman will mark Thursday as the first day of Ramadan.

Mohammed pardons 557 prisoners

DUBAI — His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, in his capacity as the Ruler of Dubai, has ordered the release of 557 prisoners who spent various times of their terms, on the occasion of the holy month of Ramadan.

Dubai Attorney-General Esam Eissa Al Humaidan said that the order will immediately be implemented in coordination with the public prosecution department and police directorate, adding that the released prisoners include 55 UAE nationals.

Other teams for sighting the crescent were stationed in Al  Marfa in Gharbia ( Western Region); RAS Al Bar at the sea port area near Abu Dhabi as well as in Al Silsila area on the borders with Qatar. All Shariah Courts in the country were part of the committee.

The committees and teams were in direct and constant contact with the main headquarters of the committee at the Shariah Judicial Department in Abu Dhabi, he added.

Muslims all over the world refrain from eating and drinking as a sign of piety during this month.

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