Millions of Muslims worldwide will celebrate the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday, May 6, following the announcement that the new moon of the Hijri year was sighted on Sunday, 30th of Shaaban.
Kuwait’s Moonsighting Committee has also announced that Sunday will be the last day of the lunar month of Sha’ban and that therefore the holy fasting month of Ramadan will start on Monday. Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen and other gulf countries also confirmed Ramadan on Monday.
The Bahrain News Agency also said that Ramadan will start on Monday. The fasting for Ramadan in Afghanistan will begin from tomorrow, Monday, May 6.
Australia has also confirmed that Monday (May 6) will be the first day of Ramadan in the country, Khaleej Times reported.
Meanwhile, the Moon Sighting Committee of the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in Qatar said the first day of Ramadan will be Monday, May 06, 2019.
Egypt’s fatwa house announced Sunday that the moon was sighted, accordingly Ramadan will start on Monday.
In Turkey, which follows astronomical calculations, Ramadan will also start on Monday. Same applies to Romania, Kosovo, Angola, and Bosnia, also starting Ramadan on Monday.
The Fiqh Council of North America recognizes astronomical calculation as an acceptable method for determining the beginning of Lunar months including the months of Ramadan and Shawwal.
According to the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR), Muslims in Europe will start Ramadan on Wednesday, May 16, according to astronomical calculations.
In Nigeria, the Sultan of Sokoto and President General of the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar urged Muslims across the country to look for the new moon of Ramadan Sunday, Guardian reported.
In India and Pakistan, Imarat-e-Sharia, Jamiat Ulema Hind, New Delhi, and Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee, Pakistan announced in two separate statements that moon has not been sighted on Sunday.
Therefore, Tuesday would be the first day of Ramadan in the two neighboring countries.
Oman was the only Arab country to announce Tuesday as the first day of Ramadan.
The United Ulama Council of South Africa (UUCSA) has confirmed the hilaal for the Islamic month of Ramadan has NOT been sighted, therefore the 1st of Ramadan will correspond to Tuesday the 7th May 2019.
Similar announcements were made by moon sighting committees in various parts of India including Mumbai, Hyderabad, Lucknow, Patna, Muzaffarpur, Kolkata, Mewat and Burhanpur.
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 maintains 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 group of scholars says 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.