Millions of Muslims worldwide will celebrate the beginning of the holy month of Sha`ban on Monday, March 15, following the announcement that the new moon of the Hijri month was not sighted on Saturday.
“A dust storm swept the northern region of the country, including Al Jawf, the capital Riyadh, Qassim, Hail, as well as eastern parts of Makkah and Madinah,” according to the Saudi Press Agency (SPA), Gulf News reported.
Therefore, the new moon was not sight the crescent because of the heavy dust and the sandstorm which is sweeping the country.
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In Nigeria, the National Moonsighting Committee Nigeria announced that Monday would be the first day of Sha`ban.
“There was no positive sighting of Sha`ban crescent today Saturday 13th March/ 29th Rajab in Nigeria, all locations reported negative. Tomorrow Sunday 14th March is the 30th of Rajab, the Sultanate will release an official statement tomorrow inshaallah,” the National Moonsighting Committee Nigeria wrote on Twitter.
In Pakistan, the Markazi Ruet-e-Hilal Committee will meet on Sunday for sighting the crescent of the holy month of Sha`ban.
According to Daily Pakistan, astronomical Parameters suggest that chances of sighting Shaban’s crescent on the evening of Sunday are high.
Sha`ban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. This is the month of “separation”, so-called because the pagan Arabs used to disperse in search of water.
Meanwhile, Ramadan is expected to begin on Monday, April 12, according to astronomical calculations.
This is the tentative date as the actual date of the commencement of Ramadan 2021 is subject to the sighting of the moon.
The Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Hijri lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Shaaban migrates throughout the seasons.
The month is very special for Muslims as it’s a prelude to Ramadan, the 9th Hijri month; “O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).”
A new Hijri month starts when the First Crescent appears before sunset by a time gap of a few minutes at minimum.