Muslims in Saudi Arabia will start observing fasting on Thursday, March 23, marking the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan. This is in the event of not sighing the crescent moon on Tuesday evening, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The fasting month will commence on Thursday after completing 30 days of Sha’ban, the Royal Court said in a statement quoting the decision of the Saudi Supreme Court.
The Crescent Department at the Supreme Court, which held its session on Tuesday evening, said that the sighting of the crescent of Ramadan has not been testified by anyone and therefore Wednesday will be the 30th day of the month of Sha’ban, according to the Umm Al-Qura Calendar, and Thursday will be the first day of the holy month of Ramadan.
The Supreme Court congratulated Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, Crown Prince and Prime Minister Mohammed bin Salman, as well as all citizens, and expatriates in the Kingdom and all Muslims on the advent of the holy month of Ramadan.
The Saudi astronomical observatories, in addition to dozens of telescopes and hundreds of those interested in astronomy, were unable to sight the crescent though they made all the preparations to look for the new moon of Ramadan.
The Supreme Court on Sunday had called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to look on Tuesday, Sha’ban 29 for the crescent moon, signaling the holy month of Ramadan. It urged that people, who see it with the naked eye or through binoculars, to inform the nearest court to record their testimony there or contact the nearest town center to help it communicate with the nearest court.
During the month of Ramadan, Muslims will practice fasting from dawn until dusk. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar during which the Holy Qur’an was first revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Muslim world typically looks to Saudi Arabia to determine the start of Ramadan and other religious holidays, although each country has its own sighting committee.
This year’s Ramadan is expected to witness a huge inflow of pilgrims, marking the peak annual Umrah season. The Saudi authorities have announced that around three million pilgrims are expected to arrive in the Kingdom to perform Umrah and visit the Prophet’s Mosque during the holy month.