Saudi confirms sighting of moon, Ramadan starts April 24
Majority of Muslims around the world will start fasting on April 24 which is the first day of the holy month of Ramadan. Various news agencies dedicated to the activities of the two Holy Mosques in Saudi Arabia confirmed the sighting of the hilal (new moon).
This year’s Ramadan comes at a time when majority of Muslims around the world are impacted with restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic. The two holiest sites in Islam are also impacted as are optional visits to Makkah for Umrah – lesser pilgrimage.
Some modification of activities in the two holy sites – Kabah in Makkah and Mosque of the Prophet in Madinah are as follows:
1- Taraweeh (highly recomended prayers after last prayer of the day) will be held behind closed doors and number of rakats (prayer units) have been reduced to 10 instead of 20 in years gone by.
2 -Iftar (fast breaking feast) services cancelled in both Harams, instead iftar baskets will be distributed around the cities of Makkah and Madinah.
3- Umrah (lesser pilgrimage) will remain suspended until further notice.
4 – I’tikaf (religious seclusion in the mosques) are also suspended.