Saudi Arabia, Apr 20 : The crescent moon of Shawwal has been sighted in Saudi Arabia, with Eid ul Fitr to begin on Friday, April 21, according to the Tamir and Hautat Sudair observatories.
The announcement was made following the sighting of the moon by a committee of experts from across the country, local media reported.
The first day of Eid ul Fitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramazan, during which Muslims fast from dawn to sunset. The sighting of the Shawwal moon is crucial for determining the start of the Eid ul Fitr festivities.
The UAE moon-sighting committee has also confirmed that the first day of Eid ul Fitr will be celebrated in the country on Friday, April 21.
The committee further announced that the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal will also fall on Friday, and that Thursday, April 20, was be the last day of Ramazan.
The report stated that as Shawwal 3 falls on Sunday, with public and private sector employees resuming work on Monday, April 24, as the official holidays were scheduled to be from Ramazan 29 (April 20) onwards until the third day of Shawwal.
Meanwhile, in Pakistan, the central Reut-e-Hilal committee has announced that the Shawwal moon was not sighted on Thursday, meaning that Eid ul Fitr will be celebrated in the country on Saturday, April 22.
Lunar months in the Islamic calendar are either 29 or 30 days long, which is why Muslims have to wait until the night before Eid to confirm its date. For countries that started Ramazan on March 24, local moon sighters will scan the horizon after sunset on Friday, April 21, to search for the crescent moon.
If the new moon is visible (called Chaand Raat), then Eid will be celebrated the following day in that country. Otherwise, Muslims will fast for one more day to complete the 30-day month in that country.
This process of moon sighting and fasting is an important part of the Islamic faith and is followed by Muslims all over the world. It is believed that the sighting of the new moon marks the end of one lunar month and the beginning of another, and is a time for celebration and reflection.