July 10 (): Muslims in major parts of Asia, western Africa, North and South America started the traditional month of daytime fasting yesterday (July 9). But, Ramadan begins in the Middle East, Europe, some parts of Asia, eastern Africa, and Oceania on July 10.
All through the Ramadan month, which ends with the Eid holiday, tens of millions across the Muslim world fast from dawn to dusk and make every effort to be more spiritual and charitable. Muslims are required to refrain from eating, smoking, drinking liquids and having sex between dawn and dusk.
Ramadan is the ninth of 12 months in the Islamic calendar. The month honours the angel Gabriel’s revelation of the Quran, the holy book of Islam, to the Prophet Mohammed at a meditation retreat in a cave about 1,400 years ago.
Fasting, charity, daily prayers, the declaration of faith and pilgrimage to Mecca are the five pillars of Islam.
The Ramadan month begins with the sighting of the new moon, which varies from country to country. North America’s Fiqh Council has declared that Ramadan begins on Tuesday. Ramadan has begun in Saudi Arabia today (July 10).
In India also, the monsoon weather shows the fast will likely start only on Thursday.
One of six major new moon sighting committees of Delhi said that Tuesday is the 29th day of the eighth lunar month of Shaban in India, one day behind the other countries, where Ramadan is set to begin on Wednesday.
Syed Tariq Bukhari, Old Delhi’s Jama Masjid’s member of the moon sighting committee, said India goes behind the Middle East because of its geographical position and, this year, because of the monsoon. According to his committee, if the new moon is spotted either by a moon sighting committee, then Ramadan will begin in India on Wednesday.
From Delhi to Bihar to Manipur, the moon was not sighted, a spokesperson for Delhi’s Jama Masjid said. According to custom, Ramadan will now begin on Thursday (July 11) whether or not the moon is sighted, he said.