MAKKAH – The majority of Muslims worldwide will celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr, which crowns the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, on Friday, June 15, after Saudi officials confirmed seeing the moon of Shawwal.
Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia have announced that the new moon of Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic calendar, was sighted on Thursday, June 14.
“Therefore, Friday, June 15, will be the first day of Shawwal,” Khaleej Times reported.
Egypt’s Dar Al-Ifta (House of Fatwa) has also announced that Friday, June 15, will be the start of `Eid Al-Fitr.
Emirates, Oman, Jordan, Iraq, and Bahrain have also announced seeing the new moon and therefore will celebrate `Eid on Friday.
Kuwait, Yemen, Lebanon, Qatar, Turkey, and Russia will also celebrate `Eid on Friday. In Nigeria, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs announced that `Eid Al-Fitr will start on Friday.
In Australia, Imams Council of the ACT said `Eid Al-Fitr will be celebrated on Friday.
Muslims in North America will celebrate the feast on Friday, according to a statement by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan, Brunei, and Singapore have also declared Friday as the first day of `Eid Al-Fitr. However, Indian and Pakistan will celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr on Saturday after declaring Friday the last day of Ramadan.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one of the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.
Moon sighting has always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.
While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.
A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.