Muscat: The Sultanate of Oman celebrates the first day of Eid Al Fitr on Friday, according to a report by the official Oman News Agency (ONA).

This follows a determination by the country’s Main Moon-Sighting Committee that, for want of any conclusive reports of the sighting of the new moon in the night skies over Oman on Wednesday, the last day of the month of Ramadan falls on Thursday, August 8. Consequently, the first day of the Islamic month of Shawwal falls on Friday, August 9, making it also the first day of Eid Al Fitr. As a result of the determination that Friday is the first day of Eid in Oman, government and private sector offices will remain shut for an additional two days next week. Consequently, work resumes on Tuesday, August 13, at the end of a six-day holiday in the Sultanate.

Given the sensitivity surrounding moon-sighting related decisions, Wednesday’s official moon-sighting panel was headed by

the Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs. Shaikh Abdullah Bin Mohammad Al Salmi was joined by the Grand Mufti of the Sultanate, as well as the Vice-President of the Supreme Court and other top officials of the ministries of Awaf and Interior Affairs. Earlier this week, Al Salmi ordered the establishment of a dedicated unit within his ministry to oversee moon-sighting affairs, as well as all matters related to the Islamic calendar. Meanwhile, it was announced on Wednesday that Oman’s ruler, Sultan Qaboos Bin Saeed, will offer Eid prayers at Al Murtafa’a Camp Mosque in the capital on Friday morning. He will be joined by his ministers, as well as royal advisers, and commanders of the Sultan’s Armed Forces, the Royal Oman Police, and other security and military establishments.