DUBAI // A moon-sighting committee has been formed to determine the start of Ramadan.
Formed and chaired by the Minister of Justice, Sultan Al Badi, the committee will meet after Maghrib prayers on Thursday at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department to witness the first sighting of the crescent Moon.
If a new crescent Moon is seen, Ramadan is declared to begin the following day.
Mr Al Badi called on Sharia courts across the country to look out for the crescent Moon and inform the committee. If a new crescent Moon cannot be sighted on Thursday, the committee will meet again on Friday.
“I believe it will be difficult to sight the crescent of Ramadan today,” said Dr Ahmed Al Haddad, Grand Mufti of Dubai.
“The positions of the Sun and Moon will make it difficult to sight the crescent tonight and determine the start of Ramadan,” he said.
The Muslim calendar is determined by Moon phases making each month last either 29 or 30 days. Islamic years span on average between 354 and 355 days.
If Sha’ban is 29 days, Ramadan will start on Friday. If Sha’ban is 30 days, the holy month will begin on Saturday.
Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called on all Muslims to look out for the Moon on Thursday night.
Anyone who sees the new crescent Moon — with or without use of binoculars — is to report the sighting to the nearest court and register their testimony.