Moon observers in Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Muslim countries said that there was no sight of the Ramadan crescent on Tuesday, meaning millions of Muslims around the world will begin the holy month on Thursday (May 17, 2018).
According to reports on Saudi Arabian state TV, bad weather made observation of the crescent difficult.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Bahrain, Qatar, Somalia and Lebanon Said that Ramadan would not begin on Wednesday based on the observations by moon-sighting committees and have officially declared that May 17 will be the first day of Ramadan.
Muslims around the world are set to mark the month, during which believers abstain from eating, drinking and smoking from dawn until sunset. Fasting is intended to bring Muslims closer to Allah and remind them of those less fortunate.
The Islamic world follows a lunar calendar, and the traditional moon-sighting methodology can lead to different countries declaring the start of Ramadan a day or two apart.
The announcement on Tuesday night was made after it was established that Wednesday, May 16, 2018, completes the month of Sha’ban 1439 AH, and Thursday is the first day of the holy month.
This year, Ramadan falls on long summer days for Muslims in the Northern Hemisphere. For Muslims who live in regions where Islam is not the dominant religion, challenging fasts are believed to come with greater blessings.
Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five obligatory pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, annual charity — known as “zakat” — and performing the Hajj pilgrimage in Makkah.