In this photograph taken on August 10, an official from the State Islamic University (STAIN), uses a telescope to observe the moon after sunset from the coast of Madura in East Java province of Indonesia on the eve of Ramadan. The exact dates of the start and the end of Islam's holy month Ramadan depend on the sighting of the new moon. Image Credit: AFP

Dubai: The countdown has begun, as there are now 60 days left to go until Ramadan is observed in the UAE.

According to the Islamic calendar, February 24 corresponds to the 30 day of Jumada Al Akhira, while the Rajab month will start on February 25 and run up to March 25. This means that the first day of Sha’ban will be on March 26, which is expected to last for 29 days, until April 23.

Ibrahim Al Jarwan, member of the Arab Union for Astronomy and Space Sciences, explained that the new moon for Ramadan in 2020 will most likely occur on Thursday April 23, which means that Friday April 24 will be the first day of Ramadan.

This year, Dubai residents will be expected to fast for up to 14 hours and 48 minutes.

“Weather conditions in the western region will be favourable to witness the new crescent moon on the night of April 23, which will be seen after sunset [6.46pm]. So the first day of Ramadan will be observed the next day, on April 24,” he said.

During the month of Ramadan, residents and visitors in the UAE are expected to refrain from eat, drink or smoke in public during fasting hours. This applies to all public places, and public and private transportation. People are also encouraged to refrain from wearing revealing clothing out of respect to those observing Ramadan.

Working hours are also reduced, per the Federal Law No. 8 of 1980 which states that timings are reduced by two hours during Ramadan.

The month of Ramadan will either have 29 or 30 days, depending on the sighting of the moon.

But strong predictions indicate that the Shawwal crescent is expected to be visible on Saturday, May 23. The first day of Shawwal marks Eid Al Fitr.