Ramadan Starts June 6 in Europe: ECFR

CAIRO — The holy fasting month of Ramadan will start in Europe on Monday, June 6, according to astronomical calculations, the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) has announced.

“The moon of Ramadan will be born on Sunday, June 6, 2016 at 02:59 GMT (04:59 am Makkah time),” the Dublin-based council said in an Arabic statement obtained by AboutIslam.net.

Accordingly, it would be possible to see the moon after sundown on Monday, June 6, either with naked eye or modern sets.

“Thus Monday, June 6, will be the first day of Ramadan.”

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) said that Ramadan would begin on Monday, June 6, in North America.

In Ramadan, adult Muslims, save the sick and those traveling, abstain from food, drink, smoking and sex between dawn and sunset.

Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.

It is customary for Muslims to spend part of the days during Ramadan studying the Noble Qur’an.

Many men perform i`tikaf (spiritual retreat), spending the last 10 days of the month exclusively in the mosque.

The first day of Ramadan and moon sighting have 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.

This usually causes confusion among Muslims, particularly in the West, on observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting and celebrating the `Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting.