Ramadan 2020: UAE leaders send congratulatory messages as holy month begins
Muslims face a unique Ramadan as stay home measures remain in place to prevent the spread of Covid-19
Fasting for Ramadan will begin on Friday, the UAE's state news agency Wam announced.
The UAE's moon-sighting committee, tasked with sighting the new crescent moon, typically sights the moon using a telescope and then confirms with the naked eye. They convened, through video conference, after sunset prayers on Thursday.
The new moon indicates that Shaban, the month preceding Ramadan, has ended and that the holy month has begun.
The committee typically gathers at the Ministry of Justice to deliberate, after receiving data from the International Astronomical Centre, who set up telescopes on Jebel Hafeet in Al Ain, one of the country's highest mountains.
President Sheikh Khalifa sent cables of congratulations to the heads of Arab and Islamic countries on the advent of Ramadan.
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid wished the people of the UAE a blessed Ramadan, describing the holy month as one of "goodness and mercy".
The Vice President and Ruler of Dubai offered his congratulations on Twitter, praying for "the blessing of good health, well-being, safety and stability in this country" for all.
"We reassure our people that the country is well, the future is promising, and that God has protected our benevolent country.
"May Allah accept our prayers, fasting and good deeds," he said.
Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces, tweeted to congratulate everyone ahead of the holy month.
"Ramadan Mubarak to all. May you and your loved ones be safe and find peace and inspiration in this blessed month of compassion and solidarity. May we have the strength and unity to see us through these challenging times to brighter days ahead," he said.
The Islamic calendar is determined by moon phases, which are either 29 or 30 days long, with the appearance of a new moon signalling the beginning of a month. Searching for the new crescent can be a little tricky, however, because it is usually faint and is only visible for about 20 minutes.
Traditionally, the UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia observe the holy month on the same dates, while Oman’s religious authority calls Ramadan independently of the rest of the Arabian Gulf.
Saudi Arabia leads the way in calling the start and end of the holy month, but each country has its own committee to confirm the new moon.
During this month, Muslims do not consume any food or drinks between fajr (dawn) and maghrib (sunset) prayers – not even water.
Non-Muslims should behave respectfully, remembering to dress conservatively and to not eat, drink or smoke in public during daylight hours.
Working hours will be reduced in the private sector and public sector.
An SMS from Sheikh Mohamed
UAE residents woke up to a personal message from Sheikh Mohamed on Friday. It read:
Dear fellow citizens and residents,
Please allow me to share heartfelt greetings from my brother Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed, President of the UAE, as we celebrate the Holy Month of Ramadan.
I remain grateful for your patience, resilience and kindness in these unprecedented times. Together we can ensure the safety of our cherished families,
friends and communities by continuing to practice the necessary precautionary measures. As one, I know we will overcome this pandemic together.
May God bless you and your families. Ramadan Kareem.
Mohamed bin Zayed
Updated: April 24, 2020 05:20 PM