Egypt, Lebanon and Kuwait have announced that Tuesday, April 13, will be the first day of Ramadan as Monday is the last day of Sha’ban.
The three countries confirmed that the crescent moon of the holy month had not been sighted, and accordingly Monday will be the 30th day of Sha’ban and Tuesday will be the first day of Ramadan.
“April 13 will be the first day of Ramadan,” said Egypt’s Dar al-Ifta, the institution that issues religious edicts in the Arab world’s most populous country.
In Lebanon, top Sunni Muslim cleric Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdellatif Deryan also confirmed the holy month would begin on Tuesday.
The start of Ramadan is set by both lunar calculations and physical sightings that determine when one month ends and another begins.
Saudi Arabia, the custodian of Islam’s two holiest sites, said the crescent moon, which is used to establish the beginning of the month, was not visible Sunday and that observation committees would meet again on Monday night.
Ramadan fasting is one of the five pillars of Islam. Observant Muslims refrain from eating and drinking from dawn to dusk and traditionally gather with family and friends to break their fast in the evening.
It is also a time of prayers, during which Muslims typically converge in large numbers at mosques, especially at night.
But due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many Muslim-majority countries have imposed restrictions on worshippers including night-time curfews and called for prayers to be performed at home.