View of part of the Fujairah Corniche and the Hajar Mountains in the Background

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Determining the Beginning of Ramadan in the UAE

Start of Ramadan
The holy month of Ramadan follows the Muslim lunar calendar, starting and ending with the sighting of the new moon.

The decision is based on a combination of sightings of the moon and astronomical calculations.

UAE Authority
The official determination and announcement of the start of Ramadan is done officially at the government level.

On 17 August 2009 the UAE news agency WAM reported:

“H.E. Dr. Hadef Jowan Al Dhahiri, Minister of Justice, issued today a resolution formulating the Ramadan moon sighting committee for the Hijri year 1430 (2009).”

“The committee is chaired by the minister himself and its membership includes representatives from the Ministry of Justice, General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments (GAIAE), Abu Dhabi Judicial Department (ADJD), the Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department in Dubai (IACAD), Emirates Astronomical Society (EAS) and UAE Amateur Astronomers Association.”

Look Out for the Crescent
“The resolution called on Sharia Courts across the country to look out for the Ramadan moon crescent and report the evidence to the committee so as to determine the beginning of the fasting month.”

Meeting Thursday
“The Committee will convene on Thursday, 29th of Shaban 1430 (20th August 2009) after sunset (Maghreb) prayer at the Abu Dhabi Judicial Department.”

In some countries the announcement is made with the beating of a drum or sounded from the loudspeakers from each mosque.

Cloudy Skies?
What if the sky above Abu Dhabi is thick with smoke, smog or cloud? That’s a challenge. It just makes the job of the sighting of the moon a little tougher.

Ramadan Moon Sighting Committee to Meet Next Thursday, WAM, 17 August 2009.

On Related Sites
Fujairah the Scene of a Fantastique Spy Escape, Fujairah in Focus, 18 August 2009.

Putting Culture into 33rd America’s Cup by Racing in Arab Dhows, America’s Cup in the UAE, 17 August 2009.

Dr Geoff Pound

Geoff can be contacted by email at geoffpound(at) on Facebook and Twitter.

Ask him for details about advertizing and links on his sites.

Image: An officer of Brunei's Islamic authority looks through a telescope as he performs "rukyah", the sighting of the new moon for Ramadan, over the skies of Bukit Agok outside Bandar Seri Begawan August 31, 2008. Muslims scan the sky at dusk at the end of their lunar calendar's eighth month in search of the new moon to proclaim the beginning of Ramadan. (Photo courtesy of Boston’s The Big Picture ‘Observing Ramadan, 2008 and REUTERS/Ahim Rani).