Ramadan is coming to an end and people are now all waiting for news that the crescent of the new moon has been spotted. That tells everyone if Ramadan must go on for another day and therefore whether Eid ul Fitr will be on Sunday, May 1, or Monday, May 2. In some countries, such as Pakistan, it could be a day after that, on May 3 .
So is it Eid tomorrow? That’s the question people are asking as excitement builds among the Muslim community in Birmingham, across the UK and around the world. We’ve looked at the moonsighting forecasts to see when the moon will be seen in Saudi Arabia, Morocco and the UK.
Eid ul Fitr is on the first three days of Shawwal, the month after Ramadan, so the moon is often known as the Shawwal moon and that first faint crescent is known in Arabic as the hilal. Seeing it is regarded as a special and spiritual experience, so many people will gather this weekend to try to spot it in the evening skies.
READ MORE: Eid holidays 2022 – and why Eid ul Fitr is not a public holiday in UK
Here are the forecasts of moon sightings for Eid ul Fitr 2022:
Mecca (Saudi Arabia)
Saudi Arabia is two hours ahead of UK BST. Astronomical charts indicate the moon will not be visible under any circumstances on Saturday evening, indicating that Ramadan goes on one more day into Sunday and Eid will be on Monday. Any further attempts at a moon sighting on Sunday night should confirm this.
Saturday April 30 – not visible
Sunday May 1 – May require use of an optical aid to find crescent. Sunset 6.46pm local time, moonset 7.24pm local time
Monday May 2 – Easily visible. Sunset 6.46pm local time, moonset 8.18pm local time.
Morocco is one hour behind UK BST. The moon won’t be seen on Saturday but should be easily seen on Sunday. That means Ramadan goes on into Sunday and Eid is likely to be Monday. If authorities gather again on Sunday to look for the moon as confirmation that Ramadan has ended and the next month of Shawwal can begin, they should see it easily with the naked eye as long as conditions are good.
April 30 – not visible
May 1 – Naked-eye sighting in perfect conditions. Sunset 7.11pm local time, moonset 8pm local time
May 2 – Easily visible. Sunset 7.12pm local time, moonset 9pm local time.
For those relying on UK moon sightings, there won’t be any possibility of seeing it on Saturday night. But it will be visible if the skies are clear on Sunday. So those British Muslims who look for the moon here or follow local moonsighting reports are likely to continue Ramadan into Sunday and celebrate Eid on Monday. Those who go out to get a confirmed sighting of the Shawwal moon on Sunday evening should have the joy of seeing it if conditions are good.
April 30 – not visible
May 1 – Naked-eye sighting in perfect conditions. Sunset 8.34pm local time, moonset 9.33pm local time (British Summer Time)
May 2 – Easily visible. Sunset 8.35pm local time, moonset 10.47pm local time (British Summer Time)
Rest of UK including Leicester, Bradford, London
April 30 – not visible
May 1 – Will require use of an optical aid to find crescent. Timings of sunset and moonset vary depending on location.
May 2 – Easily visible. Timings of sunset and moonset vary depending on location.
HM Nautical Almanac Office, a UK Government agency providing astronomical data to various organizations including religious groups, said data for Saturday indicated that “sightings of the crescent moon with small, conventional amateur-sized telescopes as well as sightings with the naked eye are extremely unlikely we have global basis.”
It added that seeing the crescent moon by telescope will be possible on Sunday, May 1, from parts of the Middle East. Sightings will also be possible in most other locations, either by using an optical aid or with the naked eye.
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1.Eid al-Fitr is one of the most important Muslims festivals in the Islamic calendar and marks the end of Ramadan, the holy month of fasting. It takes place at the start of the next month, Shawwal.
2.Celebrations of Eid al-Fitr in Birmingham’s Small Heath Park have seen as many as 140,000 Muslims joining in a single congregation – but this was unable to take place during the coronavirus pandemic
3. Islamic religious festivals are based on the moon’s cycle. This is different from the Gregorian calendar, which is based on the sun and used by most of the western world.
4.Eid, which means “festival of breaking the fast”, is a religious holiday and a day of celebrations when Muslims will give thanks to Allah, and exchange small gifts and cards.
5. People usually dress in new clothes or in their finest outfits for the day.
6.Eid al-Fitr begins on the first day of Shawwal, the tenth month in the lunar calendar, but usually carries on for three days. Muslims can opt for a further six days of fasting in this new month – these do not have to be consecutive. Anyone completing this is said to have completed the equivalent of fasting all year round. This is because Islamic tradition says that a good deed is rewarded 10 times – completing Ramadan and the six days during Shawwal, times 10, is a year.
7.Giving to charity is an important part of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr. This is usually donations of food to the poor so they too can enjoy Eid celebrations.