UAE forms moon-sighting committee ahead of Eid Al Fitr

The committee will meet after sunset on Monday to search for evidence of a new moon cycle

ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES - - -  June 17, 2015 ---  Astronomy enthusiast Nezar Sallam of Emirates Observatory and Moon Sighting committee eagerly sought to find the moon in the sky but with the filtered haze in the sky, it was a difficult task for Nezar. Ramadan starts on Thursday, June 18, 2015.  ( DELORES JOHNSON / The National )  *** Reporter is Nick Webster **** *** Local Caption ***  DJ-170615-NA-Moon-001.jpg
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The UAE has formed a committee tasked with spotting the new moon cycle that would indicate the end of Ramadan and the beginning of Eid Al Fitr.

The moon-sighting committee will meet for the first time on Monday, June 3, after maghrib - or sunset - prayers, to search for evidence of a new moon cycle.

If the committee sights the new moon, Ramadan will be declared over - having lasted 29 days - and the Islamic month of Shawwal will begin on Tuesday, June 4.

If a new moon is not seen, Ramadan will continue for another day, and Eid will begin on Wednesday, June 5.

This year's committee includes a mixture of court officials from Abu Dhabi and Ras Al Khaimah, astronomers and advisors from the UAE's Islamic authority.

Sultan Al Badi, Minister of Justice, issued the decision to set up the committee on Thursday. He also called on the country's Sharia courts to look out for the crescent moon and inform the committee of any sightings.