Ramadan 2018 is about to begin and Muslims all over the globe is looking forward to crescent moon that is most likely to be seen on May 15, marking the beginning of the holiest month of Islamic calendar on May 16 in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE) and other Gulf countries. The Islamic lunar calendar follows the 29 or 30-day cycle which is the cycle of the moon.
Muslims across the world will mark the end of Shaaban month and start of Ramadan month by watching sighting the crescent moon. The sighting of moon determines the continuation of Shaban or the begging of Ramadan month. If the moon is sighted on Tuesday evening, fasting for Ramadan will begin from Wednesday, May 16 in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries. If not sighted, Shaban month will complete 30 days and Ramadan will begin from Thursday, May 17.
As history goes, Prophet Mohammad asked his companions to wait to begin their Ramadan fasting until and unless they clearly see the crescent moon and to do the same before they end fasting at the end of the month. Since then, Muslims has been following this traditional and keeping an eye on the moon to know when to begin the Ramadan fasting.
The sighting of the crescent moon can be achieved in three ways—through telescopes, using astronomy, and some regions are content with viewing the crescent with the naked eye.
The crescent moon sighting begins during the emergence of the crescent moon. Once the moon has completed the full circle around the Earth and started a new one, the crescent is evident before the months first sunset. Interestingly, when the sun disappears below the horizon the crescent moon remains in the sky and is visible for at least 30 minutes before the sunset.
To see the crescent moon clearly, one has to be on a high vantage point and away from man-made buildings such as skyscrapers that might ruin the beautiful experience.
On May 16, Muslims in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Palestine, Iran and other countries of the Middle East will begin fasting in which they are supposed to wake up before dawn to eat the first meal of the day, which means they cannot eat or drink anything during the daylight and after the sunset they eat and drink again. The meal after the sunset is known as Iftaar.