The Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) has called on the public to look out for the Ramadan crescent on Sunday.
The Crescent Sighting Committee at Qatar’s Ministry of Endowments and Islamic Affairs (Awqaf) confirmed the crescent for Ramadan was not sighted on Sunday, suggesting the holy month will begin on Tuesday.
“It has not been proven that the month of Shaban has entered its 29th evening and no one has come forward to testify this. Accordingly, the committee has decided to continue its work, and to re-examine the sighting tomorrow,” the ministry said.
Earlier, the committee said those who witness the crescent should report the information to Awqaf.
The lack of sighting seems to fall into line with calculations by astronomers at Qatar Calendar House (QCH) who last week predicted that April 13 may be the beginning of the holy fasting month this year.
Despite the prediction, the official decision ultimately falls under the ministry’s committee.
How is the moon sighted?
There are a various ways to sight the crescent moon, with the day that follows marking the beginning of Ramadan.
One way is through the naked eye, which is considered to be the traditional method practiced during the time of the Prophet Mohammed.
This method is still practiced by countries such as Qatar as well as other states in the Gulf and Levant regions, with many countries worldwide also having moon sighting committees of their own.
Some nations rely on Saudi Arabia for its sighting decisions, while others depend on their own local sightings and criteria.
India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal and other South Asian countries will make a decision on Monday April 12. If they identify the crescent moon, the aforementioned countries will observe Ramadan the following day on April 13.
However, physically witnessing the moon could be hindered by factors such as weather conditions.
Another method is through a telescope or other astronomical equipment, which some allows for greater and unprecedented accuracy, meaning that a more stable start date could be used by Muslims globally.
However, some believe this is not of the traditions of the prophet and early Muslims.
According to the Islamic Hijri calendar, months begin and end depending on the movement of the moon in its orbit around the Earth.
Ramadan is marked by more than 1.5 billion Muslims around the globe and is believed to be the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed.
During the month, Muslims are encouraged to give charity while also abstaining from eating, drinking, smoking, and having marital relations from dawn until sunset.