Eid al Fitr moon sighting: What time is moon sighting in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and UK?
The holy festival of Eid al-Fitr brings with it the end of the holy month of Ramadan, the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. The celebratory period is one of the highlights of the year for the 1.6billion Muslims around the world who celebrate it. Just like the start of Ramadan, the date of Eid is dependent on the sighting of a crescent moon, meaning it cannot be precisely predicted, and practicing Muslims’ dependency on the lunar calendar means the dates of Ramadan and Eid change every year.
What time is the moon sighting in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UK?
In Saudi Arabia, the Shawwal moon sighting committee will meet this evening, May 22.
The Saudi Supreme Court will then issue an announcement in regards to the moon sighting.
However, astronomers at the observatory of Majmaah University just outside Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, have revealed they think it unlikely that a moon will be seen on the predicted date.
The Saudi Supreme Court said: “Whoever sights the moon with naked eyes or through binoculars, reports to the nearest court and register testimony, or report to an authority of a region’s centre in the area.”
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In Rabat, Morocco’s capital city, the moon sighting is expected to take place tonight at exactly 7.40pm, according to Morocco World News.
The moon sighting in the UK will also take place tonight, but experts have warned that the crescent moon may not be seen in any of the observing countries tonight.
Sources at the observatory of Riyadh said: “According to the scientific calculations that were published on the astronomical observatory site that the sun will set at 6.39pm, and the moon will set at 6.26pm on Friday, May 22, this means the moon will set 13 minutes before the sunset.
Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office, a UK agency gathering data for the police, Royal Navy and British Army among other organisations, has provided an update on the moon sighting.
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The Office’s predictions suggest the moon will not be seen tonight, but rather tomorrow in parts of Western Africa, south and central America and the United States.
The new crescent moon should be easily visible across the world on Sunday May 24.
What is Eid al-Fitr?
The Hindustan Times writes: “Eid or Eid al-Fitr or Meethi Eid marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan, a period of fasting, kindness and good deeds.
“It is an important religious holiday for Muslims and when they are not permitted to fast.
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“Did also marks the beginning of the month of Shawwal, which starts with a feast to end the period of the month-long fasting.”
The holiday’s name derives from an Arabic phrase, which means ‘feast of the breaking of the fast’.
In normal years, Muslims traditionally gather together for communal prayer and large-scale events to celebrate the big day.
However, the ongoing lockdown restrictions due to coronavirus means that celebrations will not go ahead as planned this year.
Professor Chris Whitty recently stressed the important of adapting social distancing measures within religious celebrations.
Mr Whitty said during the Downing Street press conference: “The clear answer for all faiths is people will have to adapt the celebrations, the joyful celebrations, around current social distancing rules.
“And everybody knows what those rules are and they remain the same for every community.
“And the reason we must all do that is, this is to protect the whole community, all communities and all of us must find ways around this, of whatever faith.”
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