The Muslin holy month Ramadan is likely to start on June 18 this year though moonsighting is unlikely in West Asia, Europe, US, Australia and Africa, where the month-long fasting by Muslims will begin once the moon is sighted.
Though Saudi Arabia has asked its citizens to watch for the appearance of crescent moon on Tuesday, June 16, it was not visible in the West Asian region while some Polynesian islands in the Pacific have reported the sighting, anyway.[ALSO SEE: Ramadan 2015: Dates, Significance, History, Timing of Muslim Festival Eid-ul Fitr]
Moonsighting.com, which tracks moon ahead of Ramadan and other Muslim festivals, said Turkey and other Muslim countries accept moonsighting from anywhere in the world to begin the month of Ramadan.
Another authentic source for many Muslim nations is the Abu Dhabi-based International Centre for Astronomy. However, some experts said moon may not appear on Wednesday, June 17 too. Rohan Roberts, founder of Café Scientifique Dubai, said that the cresent moon will be visible with difficulty on Wednesday evening till 7.54pm in UAE.
“3% of the new moon will be visible on the eve of 17 June before it sets over the western horizon at 7:54pm, making June 18 the first day of Ramadan,” he said and added that the month-end Eid-ul Fitr will fall on 17 July, as the new moon will set by 7:21pm on 16 July.
However, Muslims in US, Africa, Europe and majority of Asia and Australia may be in a position to witness the crescent moon aided by a telescope on Wednesday to begin their fast from June 18, said reports.
For South Asia, the chances of sighting the crescent on Wednesday are slim as the time between the moonrise and moonset, will be just 38 minutes long, reported Samaa, quoting officials. New moon is the first visible crescent of the moon that appears on the western horizon in a brief period between sunset and moonset, and depending on where you stand, it may or may not be visible.
The UAE’s Moon Sighting Committee and the Supreme Judiciary Council of Saudi Arabia have failed to witness the moon on Tuesday, though. The Muslims in the Western countries follow Saudi Arabia’s Islamic Hijri calendar, which started in the moon year coinciding with the day when Prophet Mohammad immigrated from Makkah to Madinah.
Since the moon was not sighted on Tuesday, the Ramadan will begin on Thursday in Saudi Arabia.