Ramadan 2024: Why moon sighting is an important Islamic tradition - Hindustan Times
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Ramadan 2024: Why moon sighting is an important Islamic tradition; all you want to know

By, New Delhi
Mar 02, 2024 11:24 AM IST

Ramadan 2024: Moon sighting has an intricate connection with Islamic holiday observances and is considered significant in ascertaining important days.

The holy month of Ramadan is about to begin with the sighting of the crescent moon, heralding a month of fasting, spiritual reflection, devotion, and community solidarity for Muslims worldwide. Ramzan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar holds a great significance for the Islamic community as during this time they fast from sunrise to sunset or observe Roza, deepen their connection with their faith and strive for spiritual growth and purification. Moon sighting has an intricate connection with Islamic holiday observances and is considered significant in ascertaining important days. Muslims across the world scan the night sky for the first glimpse of a crescent moon of Ramadan to begin the period of fasting and reflection. Thus, Ramadan begins when people and religious authorities look at the night sky to view the crescent moon. (Also read | Ramadan 2024: When does Ramzaan start? Check date, time, and iftar details)

Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar holds a great significance for the Islamic community as during this time they fast from sunrise to sunset or observe Roza, deepen their connection with their faith and strive for spiritual growth and purification.(Freepik)
Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar holds a great significance for the Islamic community as during this time they fast from sunrise to sunset or observe Roza, deepen their connection with their faith and strive for spiritual growth and purification.(Freepik)

Importance of fasting during Ramadan

Fasting during Ramadan is considered one of the five pillars of Islam. Ramadan typically lasts for 29 or 30 days depending on the sighting of the new moon. During this holy month, Muslims start their fast with a pre-dawn meal, also referred to as Sehri. A day-long fast abstaining from food and water is observed until sunset post which Muslims breaks their fast with a meal called Iftar, starting with dates and water. It is followed by prayers and a communal meal with family and friends.

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When is Ramadan 2024?

This year, the month of Ramadan is expected to begin on March 11 (Monday) or March 12 (Tuesday), subject to the sighting of the moon in Mecca. As per the Islamic tradition, the crescent of Ramadan is first sighted in Saudi Arabia and some parts of India along apart from some Western countries. In India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries, it is sighted usually a day after.

Moon sighting significance for Muslims

It is that time of the year when Muslims worldwide are eagerly awaiting a glimpse of the crescent moon to begin this holy month. Moonsighting plays an important role in determining Islamic holidays and Ramadan is no exception. It is crucial for ascertaining the timing of important religious events, such as Ramadan (the month of fasting) and Eid al-Fitr (the festival marking the end of Ramadan), as well as Hajj (the pilgrimage to Mecca), which starts in the month of Dhul-Hijjah.

Accurate moon sighting ensures that Muslims begin these religious observances at the correct time. The month of Shabaan precedes Ramadan and is dedicated to preparing for the holy month of fasting and feasting. On Shabaan 29, the moon-sighting committees convene after the sunset to look for the crescent moon, a tradition that has been followed for time immemorial.

Moon sighting is also a chance to connect with community as Muslims commence important religious practices together. Prophet Mohamed encouraged seeking the sighting of the moon. He said: Do not fast (for Ramadan) before the coming of the month until you sight the moon or complete the number (of thirty days); then fast until you sight the moon or complete the number (of thirty days).

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