Has the moon been sighted for Eid al-Fitr 2020 celebrations to begin?

Ramadan is coming to an end this weekend, which means Muslims around the world can stop fasting.

For the past four weeks, millions have been fasting during the ninth Islamic month, in an act called sawm considered one of the five pillars of Islam.

Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the beginning of the following Islamic month, Shawwal.

It is a time of celebration and means ‘festival of breaking the fast’ with large gatherings in mosques and parks often taking place when people pray, party and exchange gifts.

This year, Eid celebrations will be limited to people’s homes, although some Muslim charities plan to help the homeless and key workers – charitable acts are also an important part of both Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr.



For Eid to start the new moon, Shawwal’s arrival on the lunar calendar of Islam must be observed.

Some communities trust the moon to be officially seen in Saudi Arabia, while others are waiting for verified sightings in the UK.

If the moon is not seen on the 29th day of the month, the month continues one more day.

This year, Eid al-Fitr begins at sunset on May 23 or 24.

When will the moon be seen?

The Moon Observation Committee in Saudi Arabia will meet remotely on Friday evening (May 22) to try to spot the new crescent moon.

Her Majesty’s Nautical Almanac Office, the UK agency that collects data for the emergency services and armed forces, predicts that the moon will be observed on Saturday nights (May 23) from parts of West Africa, Central and South America, the Caribbean region, the United States and the eastern half of the Pacific.



A crescent moon must be observed before Ramadan ends after 29 days or it will continue for another 24 hours

There may also be possible sightings of the new crescent moon in Mecca and Rabat, with the moon visible worldwide on Sunday (May 24).

Observational predictions for key locations include:

Mecca, Saudi Arabia

Friday May 22 – Moon not visible

Saturday May 23 – Moon visible if there are excellent viewing conditions

Sunday 24 May – moon clearly visible

Rabat, Morocco

Friday May 22 – Moon not visible

Saturday May 23 – Moon visible if there are excellent viewing conditions

Sunday 24 May – moon clearly visible

London

Friday May 22 – Moon not visible

Saturday, May 23 – Needs optical help to find crescent. Sunset at 8:88 pm, Moonset at 9:52 pm

Sunday 24 May – moon clearly visible. Sunset 8:59 PM, moonset at 10:57 PM

Birmingham

Friday May 22 – Moon not visible

Saturday, May 23 – Needs optical help to find crescent. Sunset at 9:10 pm, Moonset at 10:04 pm

Sunday 24 May – moon clearly visible. Sunset 9:11 pm, Moon sunset 11:10 pm

Leicester

Friday May 22 – Moon not visible

Saturday, May 23 – Needs optical help to find crescent. Sunset at 9:17 PM, moon sunset at 10:01 PM

Sunday 24 May – moon clearly visible. Sunset 9:09 PM, moon sunset 11:08 PM

The moon is not expected to be visible in Northern England or Scotland with a conventional telescope on Saturday.

If the weather is good on Saturdays in the Middle East and North Africa, Ramadan may end and Eid will be celebrated on Sunday (May 24).

Anyone who relies on a British lunar observation will need a telescope on Saturday, and if they don’t see that crescent that night, Ramadan will continue for another 24 hours.

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