Moonsighting: When Will 29 Pre-Ramadan Days Start?
Muslims all over the world will be looking, on April 5, for the new moon of the holy month of Sha`ban.
The astronomical new moon (conjunction) of the new Hijri month of Sha`ban will occur on Friday, the 5th of April, at 8:50 UTC.
However, it is possible, but difficult, to see the moon in the Americas; while the only possibility of easy sighting is in Hawaii and Polynesian Islands.
The rest of the globe, including all the Muslim countries, won’t be able to see the new crescent on Yawm Al-Ro’yah (observing Day) which takes place on Friday the 5th of April because the crescent won’t appear before sunset on that day.
On the other hand, on Saturday the 6th of April, the moon can be seen easily in almost the whole world except in Japan, New Zealand and Australia. As a result, the first day of Sha`ban shall be Sunday the 7th of April 2019.
Sha`ban is the eighth month of the Islamic calendar. This is the month of “separation”, so called because the pagan Arabs used to disperse in search of water.
The Hijri calendar is a lunar calendar, and months begin when the first crescent of a new moon is sighted. Since the Hijri lunar calendar year is 11 to 12 days shorter than the solar year, Shaaban migrates throughout the seasons.
The month is very special for Muslims as it’s a prelude to Ramadan, the 9th Hijri month; “O Allah, make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadan (i.e. prolong our life up to Ramadan, so that we may benefit from its merits and blessings).”
A new Hijri month starts when the First Crescent appears before sunset by a time gap of a few minutes at minimum.
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