Ramadan 2017: First day of fasting expected May 27

 25 May 2017 - 19:25

Ramadan 2017: First day of fasting expected May 27
Saudis buy dates at a shop in Jeddah ahead of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan on May 24, 2017. AFP / Amer Hilabi

Al Jazeera News

The Muslim holy month of Ramadan will begin on the eve of Friday, May 26 or Saturday, May 27 for Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, the UAE, Lebanon and Ghana.

 

Indonesian children taking part in a parade to welcome the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan in Surabaya, Indonesia's second largest city. AFP / Juni Kriswanto

 

Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Turkey, South Africa, Nigeria, Pakistan, India expected Ramadan on the eve of Saturday, May 27 or Sunday, May 28, depending on moon sighting on the evening of Friday, May 26.

 

Egyptians walk near Cairo's Sayeda Zeinab mosque on May 24, 2017.  AFP / Mohamed El-Shahed

 

Muslim lunar months last between 29 and 30 days, depending on sighting of the moon on the 29th night of each month. If the moon is not visible, the month will last 30 days.

 

American muslims buy goods as part of preparations for the Holy Month of Ramadan in Bayridge neighbourhood in Brooklyn borough of New York on May 24, 2017. Mohammed Elshamy / Anadolu Agency

 

Saudi Arabia's Supreme Court has called for moon sighting on Thursday evening, May 25.

 

A Yemeni girl carries bread in a market in the old city of Yemeni capital Sanaa. AFP / Mohammed Huwais

 

In order to declare the beginning of Ramadan, Saudi Arabia and other Muslim-majority countries depend on the testimonies of local moon sighters. The Judicial High Court then makes a decision on when Ramadan begins.

 

An Egyptian woman browses traditional Ramadan lanterns called "fanous" ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt May 24, 2017. Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

 

By the Gregorian solar calendar, Ramadan comes 10 to 12 days earlier each year. Last year, the first day of Ramadan was on June 6, 2016.

 

Syrians shop at a market in the northeastern city of Qamishli on May 25, 2017. AFP / Delil Souleiman

 

In the United States, the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) announced that Ramadan would be observed from May 27, based on astronomical predictions.

 

A Palestinian scholar teaches children to read the Quran inside al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound of al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City, May 17, 2017. Reuters/Ammar Awad

 

Muslim communities in the UK, Europe and Australia will also observe Ramadan starting from May 27.

 

A Palestinian man prays inside al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound of al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City, May 17, 2017. Reuters/Ammar Awad

 

Astronomically the birth of a new moon can be calculated, but the actual visibility of the crescent depends on factors such as atmospheric conditions, cloudiness, and the distance between the sun and the moon on the horizon.
 

A Thai detainee and his mother hug as they say goodbye after he and other detainees were allowed to meet relatives in the yard of the Narathiwat jail in Thailand's restive southern Narathiwat province on May 25, 2017. Thai authorities allowed the visit as a gesture ahead of the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. AFP / Madaree Tohlala

 

Calculation indicates that the moon should be visible from most countries in the evening of May 26, either with the naked eye or a telescope.

 

A Syrian man makes croissants in the old city of Damascus on May 25, 2017, ahead of the start of the Muslim holy fasting month of Ramadan. / AFP / Louai Beshara

 

For Muslims, Ramadan is the month in which the first verses of the Quran, Islam's holy book, were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad more than 1,400 years ago.

 

A butcher prepares meat at a market in the northeastern city of Qamishli on May 25, 2017, ahead of the start of the Muslin holy fasting month of Ramadan. AFP / Delil Souleiman

 

During Ramadan, Muslims abstain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex from dawn to sunset. This fasting is intended to bring the faithful closer to God and to remind them of the suffering of those less fortunate.

 

A Palestinian scholar  gives a lesson about the Quran inside al-Aqsa Mosque, on the compound of al-Haram al-Sharif in Jerusalem's Old City, May 17, 2017. Reuters/Ammar Awad

 

Ramadan fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam, along with the Muslim declaration of faith, daily prayer, charity and performing the Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca.

 

A Palestinian vendor touches Muslim prayer beads displayed on sale at his shop in a market in Jerusalem's Old City, May 10, 2017 . Reuters/Ammar Awad

 

In Muslim-majority countries, offices are required by law to reduce working hours, and many restaurants are closed during daylight hours.

 

Egyptian women carry traditional Ramadan lanterns called "fanous" ahead of the holy fasting month of Ramadan in Cairo, Egypt May 24, 2017. Reuters/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

 

"Ramadan Mubarak" and "Ramadan Kareem" are common greetings exchanged in this period, wishing the recipient a "blessed" and generous Ramadan.  

 

An Omani man chooses a watermelon at the al-Mawalih market in the capital, Muscat on May 24, 2017. AFP / Mohammed Mahjoub

 

Last year, fasting hours across the world ranged between 11 and 22 hours. This year, fasting hours will range between 10 hours in Chile and 21 hours in Greenland.  

 

Men prepare "khajla", a traditional delicacy consumed during the month of Ramadan in Karachi, Pakistan, May 25, 2017. Reuters/Akhtar Soomro

 

At the end of Ramadan, after 29 or 30 days, Muslims celebrate the Eid al-Fitr holiday. Eid al-Fitr in Arabic literally means "festival of breaking the fast".

 

A vendor waters vegetables at a market in the northeastern city of Qamishli on May 25, 2017, ahead of the start of the Muslin holy fasting month of Ramadan. AFP / Delil Souleiman

 

Depending on the actual start date of Ramadan and moon sighting on the 29th night of Ramadan, the Eid al-Fitr this year will fall between Sunday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 27.

 

Craftsman Nasir Mohammad makes a Fanous lamp (Ramadan Lantern) at a market ahead of Muslims' Holy Month of Ramadan at Sayyida Zaynab district of Cairo in Egypt on May 17, 2017. Mohamed El Raai / Anadolu Agency