Ramadan moon sighting in UAE tonight: Why Muslims search the night sky ahead of holy month

The country’s moon sighting committee will meet after the Maghrib (sunset) prayer


SM Ayaz Zakir

Published: Tue 21 Mar 2023, 6:00 AM

Last updated: Tue 21 Mar 2023, 2:12 PM

“It is important for us to know the sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). To search for the new moon on the 29th of the lunar month of Shaban,” an Islamic scholar in the UAE, Sheikh Ayaz Housee, says.

With more than 1.9 billion Muslims worldwide gearing up to embrace the rituals of the holy month of Ramadan, which is essentially believed to be the month when the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH), the onset of celebrations begins with the sighting of the crescent moon.

The moon sighting denotes the start and the end of the month of Ramadan. Before Ramadan begins, people and religious authorities take a look at the night sky to view the crescent moon – a tradition that has been followed for ages in Islam.

The country’s moon sighting committee will meet after the Maghrib (sunset) prayer to determine the start of the month. If spotted today, the holy month will begin on Wednesday, March 22. If not, the month will begin on on Thursday, March 23. Islamic months last either 29 or 30 days, depending on when the moon is sighted.

Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar.

Dr Abdul Hameed Zafar, imam of a mosque in International City, said that the Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) taught us to go out and look for the moon, which is rewarding. “Even if the moon is visible for an hour, five hours, or 10 hours, just fulfil the sunnah,” said Dr Zafar.

Sheikh Ayaz Housee, resident imam of NGS & Khateeb at Al Manar Islamic Centre, mentioned hadith where Prophet Muhammed (PBUH) said, narrated from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar- “The month is twenty-nine days, so do not fast until you see it, and if it is cloudy then complete the month as thirty days.”

According to forecasters, rain is expected in a few parts of the country today. As per National Centre for Meteorology, scattered clouds are forecasted in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, and Northern Emirates with chances of rain.

“The hadith enjoins fasting the month of Ramadan, when the new moon is sighted, or when the month of Sha’baan is completed with thirty days, and it enjoins ending the fast when the new moon of Shawwaal is sighted, or when Ramadan is completed with thirty days,” said Shaikh Housee mentioning that fasting is forbidden for Ramadan before the new moon is sighted or before Sha’baan has been completed if it is cloudy.


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