New moon will not be visible, Ramadan to begin on May 6

Officials from Ministry of Islamic Affairs engage in determining the beginning of Ramadan. (File Photo/Sun)

This Saturday, May 4, is the 29th of Shauban, 1440. According to astronomers, the month of Shauban will end and the new moon marking the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan will appear at 3:45 am – local time, on Sunday, May 5.

Maldives determines the beginning of Ramadan as the day after the new moon is sighted in Maldives or any other Islamic country on a date astronomers forecast the moon will be above water in Maldives at sunset.

According to astronomy, the moon will set 20 minutes before the sunsets in Male’ City this Saturday.

Saudi Arabia, which houses the sacred Kaaba, relies more on the sighting of the new moon. However, the country does not engage in sighting of the new moon on nights’ astronomers forecast the new moon will not be visible to the naked eye.

Saudi Arabia also has a policy to determine the beginning of Ramadan via astronomy, which is that the new lunar month begins if the sun sets before the moon.

The sun and the moon will align marking the beginning of Ramadan at 3:45 am on Sunday, May 5 – local time – and at 1:45 am this Saturday, May 4, - Mecca time. Since this takes place after sunset, it erases the possibility that Sunday, May 5, will be the 1st of Ramadan – as per the official policy of Saudi Arabia.

Science says the new moon will not be visible to any Islamic country this Saturday night.

Therefore, as per the policy used by majority of the Islamic countries, Sunday, May 5, is the 30th of Shauban, 1440; and Monday, May 6, is the 1st of Ramadan, 1440.