MUSLIMS worldwide will start the fasting month of Ramadan on Thursday, May 17.
“The first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan falls on Thursday corresponding to May 17, 2018,” the Royal Court of Saudi Arabia said in a statement published by state news agency SPA.
The start date is set by both lunar calculations and physical sightings which determine when the last day of one lunar month ends and a new one begins.
Traditionally, many Muslim-majority countries have followed the dates set by Saudi religious authorities, but in recent years many have used their own astronomical calculations.
In the Philippines, the Bangsamoro Dharul Ifta or House of Opinion confirmed the May 17 start.
“As the crescent moon did not appear visible this evening, the first day of fasting this year will be on Thursday...May 17, 2018,” declared Mufti Sheikh Abdulrahman Abu Huraira Udasan, speaking on radio and TV Tuesday evening.
Grand Mufti Al-Sheikh Abdel Jabbar Macarimbor called on Muslims all over the country to be united in preparation for Ramadan.
“Let’s just be united so that the blessings of the Almighty will come to us especially during the fasting season in the month of Ramadan...let’s not do anything Allah dislikes, let’s be careful of our actions, words and way of life,” Macarimbor said.
Ramadan is a holy month for the world’s nearly 1.5-billion Muslims, many of whom practice the ritual of dawn-to-dusk fasting and prayers.
Tradition holds that it was during Ramadan that the Prophet Mohammed started receiving revelations of the Muslim holy book, the Koran.
Ramadan is one of the five “pillars” of Islam.
The others are the profession of faith [“there is no God but God and Mohammed is his messenger”], the obligation to pray five times a day, charity, and the pilgrimage to Mecca.
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