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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 23 July 2018

Ramadan 2018: UAE Moon-sighting committee to meet tonight

If a new crescent Moon is seen Ramadan is declared to begin the following day.

An astronomer looks out for the Ramadan crescent moon in Mushrif Park in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National
An astronomer looks out for the Ramadan crescent moon in Mushrif Park in Dubai. Pawan Singh / The National

UPDATE: First day of Ramadan 2018 announced in Saudi Arabia

The UAE's Moon-sighting committee will begin searching for the new moon tonight to determine if the first day of Ramadan is Wednesday.

Formed and chaired by the Minister of Justice, Sultan Al Badi, the committee will meet after Maghrib prayers at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department to witness the first sighting of the crescent Moon.

If a new crescent Moon is seen, Ramadan is declared to begin the following day. If a new Moon is not seen, Ramadan will be, by default, declared on Thursday.

On Monday, Saudi Arabia called on all Muslims living in the country to begin looking for the crescent moon on Tuesday night.

The Supreme Court issued the call asking anyone who spots the crescent "by naked eyes or through binoculars" to report to the nearest court to register their testimony.

Last week, Oman announced that Ramdan would begin on May 17. Historically, Oman's religious authority will call Ramadan independently of the rest of the Gulf while the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia tend to start fasting on the same day.

The Muslim calendar is determined by Moon phases making each month last either 29 or 30 days. Islamic years span on average between 354 and 355 days.

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