A man praying outside Al Noor Mosque in Sharjah before Isha Prayer following Taraweeh prayer on the ocassion of the Holy month of Ramadan. The Dubai Events and Promotions Establishment (DEPE) has unveiled its programmes for the second ‘Ramadan in Dubai’ campaign. Image Credit: AHMED RAMZAN/Gulf News

Dubai: Since the birth of Islam, it has become a common tradition to sight the crescent moon to mark the beginning of Ramadan.

Nevertheless, astronomical calculations have predicted that in the UAE, Ramadan will fall on Saturday, May 27.

In a statement, Mohammad Shawkat, director of the International Astronomical Center in Abu Dhabi, said that it will be almost impossible to observe the crescent moon on Thursday, May 25, due to the absence of the moon’s visibility in all Muslim countries.

According to the US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa), the new moon will take place on Thursday.

The new moon, says Nasa, is when the moon is between Earth and the sun. The side of the moon facing toward us receives no direct sunlight, and is lit only by dim sunlight reflected from Earth.  

Shawkat also said that most Islamic countries will be carrying out the moon sighting Friday night, marking the first of Ramadan 1438 Hijri year.

Al Hijri, which means “the migration”, is when the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) and his followers migrated from Makkah, his hometown to Madinah to escape his tribe’s harm and torture.

Shawkat explained that the moon would be out after sunset, and it would be possible to sight the crescent with the naked eye in the Americas, as well as South and West Africa, including Sudan, Somalia, Mauritania, Morocco and parts of Algeria.

He added that Islamic countries who rely on sighting the moon without a telescope will also begin fasting on Saturday.