Saudi Arabia Spots Ramadan Crescent Moon

Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that the holy month of Ramadan will begin on Monday, March 11, after sighting the Ramadan crescent moon in the Kingdom. Following this announcement, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Qatar also declared Monday as the first day of Ramadan.

Muslims use a lunar calendar with 12 months, totaling 354 or 355 days in a year. The sighting of the crescent moon marks the start of Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. The exact start date is determined by both lunar calculations and physical sightings of the new moon.

Ramadan is a significant month observed by more than 1.8 billion Muslims worldwide. It is a time for fasting and spiritual reflection. Fasting during Ramadan is one of the five pillars of Islam and is obligatory for all healthy Muslims. However, exemptions are made for young children, the sick, travelers, and women who are pregnant, nursing, or menstruating.

For thousands of years, Muslims have followed the tradition of looking for the crescent moon to mark the beginning of Ramadan, as well as the two major Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

Saudi Arabia typically leads in sighting the moon for Islamic months, followed by other Arab, Middle Eastern, and Western countries, as well as parts of India. Countries like Pakistan, the rest of India, Bangladesh, and other Asian nations often begin Ramadan a day later.

Ramadan is greeted by the Muslim world with great religious devotion. More than a billion believers will fast during Ramadan, practicing patience and self-control while also emphasizing charity and welfare. Islamic months last either 29 or 30 days, and the start or end of a month depends on the appearance of the crescent moon. Therefore, Ramadan does not fall on a fixed date every year according to the Gregorian calendar.

The month of Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 months. Despite having the same number of months as the Gregorian calendar, the Islamic calendar is about 10 days shorter due to its lunar-based system. This is why Ramadan shifts to different times each year when compared to the Gregorian calendar.

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