Saudi Arabia says Eid Al Fitr will begin on Thursday

Moon-sighting committees unable to see new moon over the kingdom

DUBAI , UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – July 9 : Hasan Al Hariri , an astronomer watching the Ramadan moon from his binocular near Mushrif park in Dubai. ( Pawan Singh / The National ) For News.  Story by Nadeem Hanif
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Eid Al Fitr will begin on Thursday, Saudi Arabia has announced, after astronomers at the Tumair observatory in the kingdom were unable to spot the new moon.

If the moon had been seen, Eid Al Fitr would have begun a day earlier.

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court earlier called on all Muslims to sight the Shawwal crescent, or new moon, on Tuesday, the 29th night of the holy month of Ramadan.

Muslims follow a lunar calendar, which is made up of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days.

Muslims traditionally celebrate Eid with large gatherings of family and friends, where worshippers can pray and break their fasts together.

Health and religious authorities in Saudi Arabia have put in place precautionary measures at more than 20,000 mosques around the country in an effort to limit the spread of Covid-19 during the celebrations, Spa reported.

The Ministry of Islamic Affairs is calling on volunteers to help worshippers follow social-distancing guidelines at thousands of mosques around the country.