New crescent moon
The first day of Ramadan and Eid Al Fitr depends on the observation of the moon with the naked eye. Image Credit: Pexels

Dubai: As the year comes to an end, new calendars will soon be hung on walls and with it, the dates of upcoming holidays for the year 2020.

The Hijri calendar however, is a bit more ambiguous than the Gregorian one, since it depends on the visibility of the moon – dates of each month can vary from 29 to 30 days – and astronomers also have to take weather conditions into consideration before announcing the new month.

Ebrahim Al Jarwan, General Supervisor at Sharjah Planetarium, said that through calculations based on astronomy, you can determine when months on the Islamic calendar are most likely to fall.

The lunar calendar relies on the observation of the new crescent moon to determine important events such as Ramadan and the proper time for Hajj.

Al Jarwan explained that the new moon for Ramadan in 2020 will most likely occur on Thursday April 23, which means that April 24 will be the first day of Ramadan.

“Weather conditions in the western region will be favourable to witness the new crescent moon on the night of April 23, so the first day of Ramadan will be observed the next day, on April 24,” he said.

“The new moon for the month of Shawwal 1441H will be on May 22 after sunset but it will not be visible to the naked eye, so according to my calculations, we will be able to see the new moon in the UAE on Saturday May 23. This means that the first day of Eid Al Fitr will fall on May 24, on a Sunday,” he said.

As for the month of Dhu Al Hijja, which marks the dates for the pilgrim to Makkah, Al Jarwan said that the crescent moon will occur on July 20 after sunset, but it will not be visible.

“As the moon will not be visible on the first day it is formed, this means that we will have to wait until Tuesday evening, July 21, which will mark the first day of Dhu Al Hija on July 22,” said Al Jarwan.

Arafat Day is observed on ninth of the Dhu Al Hijja month while Eid al-Adha begins on the tenth day.

“So Arafat Day will be on July 30 and the first day of Eid Al Adha will be on Friday 31 July, 2020,” he added.