Muscat: The first day of fasting for the Holy Month of Ramadan in the Sultanate of Oman is likely to be on Thursday (March 23, 2023), with Oman’s leading astronomical expert saying that “the crescent moon could be sighted on March 22.”

Ramadan is determined by the Islamic lunar calendar, which begins with the sighting of the crescent moon.

Astronomical expert Dr. Sabih Al Saadi said: “The crescent moon will be born on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, at exactly 9:24pm (Oman time) with no sightings of any type being expected that night. However, on the night of March 22, Wednesday, the new moon should be easily visible to the naked eye in most of the Sultanate’s governorates and many parts of the Middle East and North Africa. The first fasting day is thus expected to be March 23, Thursday, for these countries.”

For countries where the moon is not sighted, the first day of fasting will be March 24.

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.

The Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs also confirmed in its report on the crescent of Ramadan 1444 AH in the Hijri calendar, that sighting of the crescent will be possible in all governorates of the Sultanate if the weather is clear on the evening of Wednesday, March 22, 202. It would mean that the first day of the blessed month of Ramadan is Thursday, March 23, 2023.

The name Ramadan stems from the Arabic root ‘ar-ramad,’ which means scorching heat. Ramadan was called by this name because it came at a time when it was very hot. Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the holy Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) more than 1,400 years ago. Throughout the month, observing Muslims fast from just before the sunrise prayer, Fajr, to the sunset prayer, Maghrib.

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 Makkah if physically and financially capable.

At the end of Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated. Depending on the new moon sighting, Eid al-Fitr this year is likely to fall on April 21.

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