When is Ramadan 2024 and how is the moon sighted?

Following the sighting of the moon, Saudi Arabia has announced that the first day of fasting will be Monday, March 11.

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Correction11 Mar 2024
A previous version of this article had an infographic with text presentation errors in Dhivehi and Bengali scripts. The infographic has been fixed and the texts now appear correctly.

Following the sighting of the crescent by the moon-sighting committee, Saudi Arabia has announced that the first day of fasting will be Monday, March 11.

Ramadan is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins with the sighting of the crescent moon. Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries rely on the testimonies of moon sighters to determine the start of the month.

How is the Ramadan moon sighted?

For the moon to be visible, the crescent must set after the sun. This allows the sky to be dark enough to spot the small slither of the new moon.

After the sun sets on the night of March 10, 29th of Shaaban month in the Hijri calendar, moon sighters face west with a clear view of the horizon for a first glimpse of the crescent moon.

In Saudi Arabia, testimonies of people who have spotted the moon are recorded and the Supreme Court makes a decision on when Ramadan should begin.

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The moon phases of Ramadan

Lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, depending on the sighting of the new moon on the 29th night of each month. If the new moon is not visible, the month lasts 30 days.

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Why is Ramadan holy?

Muslims believe that Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.

Throughout the month, observing Muslims fast from just before the sunrise prayer, Fajr, to the sunset prayer, Maghrib.

The fast entails abstinence from eating, drinking, smoking, and sexual relations to achieve greater “taqwa”, or consciousness of God.

Fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayers, charity, and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca if physically and financially capable.

In many Muslim-majority countries, working hours are reduced, and most restaurants are closed during fasting hours

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How do you wish someone for Ramadan?

Various Muslim-majority nations have a personalised greeting in their native languages. “Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Kareem” are common greetings exchanged in this period, wishing the recipient a blessed and generous month, respectively.

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(Al Jazeera)

When is Eid al-Fitr?

At the end of Ramadan, Muslims celebrate Eid al-Fitr. In Arabic, it means “festival of breaking the fast”.

Depending on the new moon sighting, Eid al-Fitr, which lasts three days, will likely start on April 10 or 11.

Source: Al Jazeera