UAE officials form new moon-sighting committee
Government officials from the justice ministry in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have been asked to form a special moon-sighting committee to confirm the start date of Ramadan.
Justice minister Sultan bin Saeed Al Badi yesterday announced the creation of the committee, which will be chaired by him and also include Sultan Saeed Al Badi, the under-secretary of the Abu Dhabi judicial department and a number of officials.
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and a time when Muslims fast during the hours of daylight.
In the Islamic calendar, which has twelve lunar months, the beginning and end of each month is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon.
As set out in the Qur’an, the traditional method to determine the exact start of Ramadan is to look to the sky and visibly sight the slight crescent moon that marks the beginning of the month. If it is sighted at night, the next day is the first day of Ramadan.
The government’s new moon-sighting committee, chaired by Al Badi, has called on all Sharia courts nationwide to report back to the committee if it detects the crescent moon. It will hold its first meeting in Abu Dhabi tomorrow.
According to calculations by the planetarium in Sharjah – the third-largest city in the UAE – Ramadan is likely to fall on Thursday, 18 June.
The country’s education ministry announced yesterday that working hours for public sector employees in the UAE will be 9am to 2pm during Ramadan.
School hours will also be reduced across the country as Ramadan overlaps with the last days of the academic calendar.
The labour ministry announced today that private sector employees will have two hours cut from their days during Ramadan.