Saudi Arabia, UAE and other Gulf countries gear up to sight the Shawwal crescent moon. Australia and Singapore officially announces the day of Eid this year. Pakistan says “no chance of sighting crescent”, Astronomical Centres predict Eid date.
The ninth month in the Islamic Lunar Calendar is Ramadan and the tenth is Shawwal whose first day is marked as the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr across the world and Muslims across the world are gearing up to sight the crescent moon tonight, to welcome the month of Shawwal with Eid-ul-Fitr or Eid-al-Fitr celebrations. Shawwal translation means, ‘festival of breaking of the fast.’
Ramadan takes place for 720 hours i.e. four weeks and two days during which the followers of Islam or Muslims fast between dawn and sunset, pray for peace and guidance, give back to the community in the form of charity or zakaat or engaging in humanitarian activities such as feeding the underprivileged and introspect to enlighten their souls.
During the end of Ramadan, intense prayers take place during the Laylatul Qadr or the Night of Power, which is believed to be the holiest night of the year. It generally falls on the 27th day of Ramadan and is a commemoration of the night when the Quran was first revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.
While the West culturally follows the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic calendar is lunar which means it is based on the sighting of the crescent moon and every year, Ramadan and Eid-ul-Fitr occur approximately 10-11 days earlier depending on when the crescent moon is sighted. This is because the lunar months are shorter than solar months and so it varies from country to country by about a day.