Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court has called for worshipers to look at the skies on Tuesday evening to spot the Ramadan crescent.
Anyone who sees the moon with their naked eye or through binoculars is encouraged to inform the nearest court.
“The Supreme Court of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia wishes to all Muslims throughout the Kingdom to explore the vision of the crescent of the holy month of Ramadan on the evening of Tuesday, the twenty-ninth of the month of Sha’ban this year 1439, according to the statement to Saudi Press Agency.
Should the crescent be spotted on Tuesday evening it will mean Wednesday is the first day of Ramadan.
This is because the Gulf countries decide the beginning of Ramadan based on the Islamic calendar, which is linked to the moon’s 29 and a half-day monthly cycle.
Islamic months can be 29 or 30 days based on the appearance of the moon crescent at night.
Oman was the first country in the Gulf to announce when it will mark the beginning of Ramadan.
The sultanate’s Ministry of Endowments and Religious Affairs said last Sunday that the holy month would fall on Thursday, May 17 due to concerns the moon would not be visible nationwide on Tuesday evening the next week.
Astronomers in Kuwait and Sharjah have also indicated May 17 will be the likely start date for the month of Ramadan.
In March, Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences said Ramadan would likely fall on May 17 with Eid Al Fitr, marking the end of the month, expected on June 15.
Last week, Dubai’s Knowledge and Human Development Authority announced shorter school hours for the holy month with students finishing classes by 1:30pm.
A similar announcement was made by the UAE Federal Authority for Government Human Resources (FAHR) regarding public sector working hours. Staff will work from 9:00am to 2:00pm during the Ramadan period.
On Saturday, Saudi Arabia’s General Council of Senior Scholars called on Muslims to perform charitable acts during the holy month and read the Koran.