UAE officials form new moon-sighting committee

By on 15/06/2015
Government officials in the United Arab Emirates form moon-sighting committee to determine the exact start of Ramadan

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.

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World – the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

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