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‘There will be a 50/50 chance,’ says President of Crescent Observers Society on sighting the moon for Ramadhan 1444 AH

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Muslims across South Africa will head to various lookout points across the country this evening (22nd March) to get a glimpse of the hilaal (crescent moon), which will signify the start of Ramadhan 1444 AH.

In the Mother City, the Crescent Observers Society ‘maan kykers’ will congregate at Three Anchor Bay in Sea Point, where they will spend just over 30 minutes trying to locate the hilaal. Following this, brief consultations will take place with ulema (scholars) in other provinces and a live announcement will be made by the President of Muslim Judicial Council (MJC SA) across the airwaves of the Voice of the Cape Radio on whether the first night of taraweeh (night prayers) will commence.

Speaking on VOC’s Breakfast show on Wednesday morning, President of the Crescent Observers Society, Imam Yusuf Panday said it is a 50/50 chance the moon will be sighted considering the age of the hilaal.

“The age of the moon will be 23 hours and 31 minutes. After the waqt (time) of Maghrib we will have exactly 37 minutes to find the crescent. The best time to spot the moon will be at 19h15,” said Panday.

“There will be spotters in Stellenbosch, Signal-Hill and Bakoven,” added Panday.

According to Panday, ‘maan kykers’ will only use their naked eye to spot the moon as per the sunnah (tradition) by the Prophet Muhammad PBUH.

“We won’t use any telescopes, binoculars or any other technological advances. We will stick to the practices of our beloved Prophet SAW,” explained Panday.

If the moon is sighted, Thursday, 23rd March will be the first day of fasting.  However, if it is not sighted then fasting will automatically begin on Friday the 24th March. The lunar month lasts between 29 and 30 days depending on sighting of the moon.

Fasting is one of the Five Pillars of Islam. Muslims are instructed to abstain from food, drink, and (halal) sexual intercourse from dawn until dusk. The auspicious month is a time of self-examination and increased religious devotion. Ramadan will continue for 30 days and culminate in joyous festivities on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.



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