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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 22 May 2018

UAE announces first day of Ramadan 2018 

The moon-sighting committee met at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department after Maghrib prayers on Tuesday to look for the new crescent moon

The first day of Ramadan - Thursday, May 17 - was announced by the moon-sighting committee. Christopher Pike / The National
The first day of Ramadan - Thursday, May 17 - was announced by the moon-sighting committee. Christopher Pike / The National

Ramadan 2018 will begin on Thursday, it has been announced.

The moon-sighting committee met at Abu Dhabi Judicial Department after Maghrib prayers on Tuesday to look for the new crescent moon and determine when the holy month would begin.

Earlier in the evening, the department urged the public to wait for an official announcement before spreading any rumours.

Dr Ahmad Al Ahdal, senior preacher at Department of Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities in Dubai, explained the process of moon-sighting in an interview with Abu Dhabi TV.

He said that there are some Islamic countries that prefer to use telescopes to sight the moon while other countries will only call Ramadan if the new moon is spotted with the naked eye.

Dr Ahdal said the UAE uses a mixture of traditional and modern methods by first using telescopes to try to spot the new moon and then, should a new moon be seen, increasing their efforts to sight the crescent with the naked eye.

Ramadan is the ninth month in the Islamic (Hijri) calendar. It is the most holy month in the calendar for Muslims as it is believed the Quran was revealed to Prophet Mohammed during Ramadan.

Thousands of school pupils will be sitting examinations during Ramadan this year. School hours will be shorter though.

The public and private sector will work reduced hours.

Drivers have been urged not to rush to and from work and to allow extra time for their journey. Last year more accidents happened in the late morning rush hour between 10am and 11am than at any other time.

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Read more on Ramadan 2018:

Ramadan FAQs: all you need to know about the holy month in the UAE

Male motorists more likely to cause accidents in holy month

Public sector working hours announced

Abu Dhabi changes paid for parking timings

Ramadan 2018 iftar guide: 15 to try in Dubai