Dubai/Riyadh: The holy month of Ramadan is likely to begin in Arab states, United States, United Kingdom and other countries on May 27 and is expected to end on June 24, as per reports, but the final date according to the tradition of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), will be decided only after sighting of the moon.
As per the tradition of Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him), the masses will try to sight the new moon on 29th of the ongoing month Shaaban. If the moon is sighted, Ramadan will begin from the next day. If not, then the next day will be counted as 30th day of the ongoing month and Ramadan will beging from the following day.
Sheikh Abdullah Bin Sulaiman Al-Manie, member of the Council of Senior Scholars said the month of Shaaban, which precedes Ramadan in the Islamic calendar, would have 30 days.
The scholar’s statement was based on astronomical calculations for the beginning and end of Islamic months for Makkah.
The Holy month of fasting in India, Pakistan, Bangaldesh and other Asian countries normally begins a day later than the Arab states.
Ramadan began in Saudi Arabia, Dubai, Kuwait and other Gulf states on June 6 in the year 2016. Muslims in India, Pakistan, Bangaldesh and other Asian countries started fasting from June 7 onwards in 2016.
Ramadan implies fasting from dawn to sunset. Muslims all over the world fast during the days of this month and make special prayers at night.
The month of Ramadan traditionally begins with a new moon sighting, marking the start of the ninth month in the Islamic calendar. During this period, Muslims abstain from food, drink, and certain other activities during daylight hours in Ramadan, Khaleej Times newspaper reported.
Although Ramadan is always on the same day of the Islamic calendar, the date on the Gregorian calendar varies from year to year, since the Gregorian calendar is a solar calendar and the Islamic calendar is a lunar calendar. This difference means Ramadan moves ahead in the Gregorian calendar by approximately 11 days every year.
The date of Ramadan may also vary from country to country depending on whether the moon has been sighted or not. The duration of the daily fast depends on the number of hours between sunrise and sunset, which is affected by which season in which Ramadan falls.
During summer months, those observing the month of Ramadan have to fast longer hours due to the longer days.
The holy month of Ramadan, when Muslims worldwide fast during daylight hours and abstain from other pleasures, is also the month where Muslims contribute to charity work, and donations for the less fortunate, Al Arabiya reported.
Nasif Kayed, managing director of the Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Cultural Understanding said, “Charity is never obligatory it is always additional. There’s no twisting your arm to do good.”
But Nasif said there was a noticeable increase in charitable work during the holy month.
“We wish the whole year was this way. That’s one of the main purposes of Ramadan, to entice people to do good and to continue throughout the year.”
All Muslims, who can afford it, are required to contribute a proportion of their wealth in the shape of Zakat - one of the five pillars of Islam.
“There are two types of Zakat. At the end of Ramadan, there is Zakat Al Fitr. The other type of Zakat is the two-and-a-half percent of your income. You don’t have to necessarily do that in Ramadan.
“As long as you have food, shelter, and clothes that day then you must provide for someone else who doesn’t have these things. This way everyone eats the morning of Eid. Nobody goes hungry", he said.