From the news desk

Cold, wet conditions expected for Eid moon sighting

The Crescent Observer’s Society (COS), known as ‘die Maankykers’ will brave Cape Town’s blistery cold weather on Tuesday evening, for the annual Eid moon-sighting at Three Anchor Bay. The sighting of the moon will mark the end of the sacred month of Ramadan, and the beginning of Shawwal. VOC will conduct a live outside broadcast from 4pm.

While weather forecasters, predict heavy rain and partly cloudy conditions later this afternoon, this will not deter the Observers from carrying out the age old Cape Town tradition. In preserving the spirit of this cultural event, hundreds of Capetonians are expected to witness the moon-sighting, breaking their fast with their families on the Sea Point Promenade.

Right now, the jury is still out on whether the moon will be sighted or not. Speaking to VOC on Tuesday morning, COS chairperson Imam Yusuf Pandy said the crescent will be 28 hours and 49 minutes of age. The duration for sighting is one hour and 19 minutes.

“Once the mu-atheen makes the athaan, then we will break out fast. When we complete Maghrib salah, then we will look for the moon. It depends on high the moon is sitting and of course its weather dependent, because sometimes the glow also plays a part,” said Pandy.

If the moon is sighted in South Africa, Muslims will celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on Wednesday.

“When it’s clear, we will see it. If we don’t, we will call our people in Johannesburg, Durban and PE, as they see the moon before us.”

The moon must be sighed with the naked eye. Other deciding factors include crescent age, width, visibility and illumination.

The COS is usually stationed at three other vantage points, including Signal Hill and Stellenbosch. The final decision on whether to bring an end to the month of fasting, will also be influenced by information from other parts of South Africa, including Durban, Johannesburg, Pretoria, and even as far north as Beitbridge, near the border with Zimbabwe.

Moon sightings elsewhere

In Saudi Arabia, the Supreme Court announced the crescent for the month of Shawwal was not sighted on Monday evening, so Tuesday will be the 30th of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr will be on Wednesday.
Earlier, local media in UAE and Qatar were reporting that Eid al Fitr in the two oil rich countries will be celebrated on Wednesday.

Elsewhere in the world, Majlis Ugama Islam Singapore on Monday announced that Muslims in Singapore will celebrate Eid al Fitr on Wednesday. The announcement is made after no confirmed report of moon sighting received from any part of the country.

Singapore, Japan, New Zealand and Australia are among the first countries where sun sets earlier than other places in the world. Though no formal announcement of Eid al Fitr 2016 celebrations has been made by moon committees in Australia, Japan and New Zeland so far, it is most likely that the Muslim festival will be celebrated here on Wednesday.

According to an Al-Jazeera report, British Muslims will celebrate Eid on Wednesday as well. The Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) of the United States has issued a statement saying: “The first day of Ramadan will be Monday, 6 June, 2016 and Eid al-Fitr on Wednesday, 6 July, 2016.” VOC

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