Dubai: The Shawwal crescent, which marks the end of Ramadan, was not sighted on Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court announced, adding that it will hold another meeting on Wednesday.
The court met to hear people who might see the birth of the Shawal moon.
A sighting of the moon would have meani that Ramadan lasted 28 days, which is rare. Lunar months are either 29 or 30 days based on the birth of the moon on the sunset of the last day of the month.
But Ramadan consisting of 28 days is not unique in the recent history of Muslims as it happened 30 years ago.
The supreme cleric authority in Saudi Arabia admitted that the start of Ramadan of the year 1404 (1984 in the Gregorian calendar) was not correct. It said the end of Ramadan has to be watched on the eve of the 28th day instead of the regular watch of the moon on 29th of the month.
The majority of Muslims who were fasting that year, including this writer, could not believe that Eid could be announced on Ramadan 29. Some went to bed after having early suhour to catch up on early morning work; some decided to stay up late to have Suhour.
The moon was seen in parts of Saudi Arabia, but the announcement was made near midnight because the cleric council was confused on how to present such findings to the people.
Finally, the announcement was made that Ramadan would end unusually on the 28th day and Eid would be the next day.
As the Quran says clearly that Ramadan is either a full month of 30 days or 29 if the moon is seen.
The cleric body announced that Muslims must complete the minimum 29 days of Ramadan by fasting an extra day right after Eid. The announcement said Muslims are not allowed to complete the missed day of Ramadan on the first day of Eid as it is prohibited in Islam.
Other schools of fatwa said the day that people missed fasting can be compensated by feeding 10 poor people because it was a mistake in calculation.
Individuals were not responsible for the situation. Al Azhar clerics in Egypt did not agree on fasting 28 days like Saudi Arabia and many other countries. They decided to complete Ramadan in 29 days.