CAIRO - The majority of Muslims worldwide will celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr, which crowns the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan, on Sunday, August 19.
Religious authorities in Saudi Arabia announced that the new moon of Shawwal, the 10th month of Islamic calendar, could not be sighted on Friday, August 17.
Therefore, Saturday, August 18, will be the final day of Ramadan and Sunday, August 19, will be the first day of Shawwal.
Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta (House of Fatwa) also announced that Sunday, August 19, will be the start of `Eid Al-Fitr.
`Eid Al-Fitr will also start Sunday, August 19, in Qatar, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, Oman and Bahrain.
Jordan, Yemen, Sudan, Libya and Palestine will also celebrate the start of the Muslim feast on Sunday, August 19.
Sunni Muslims in Lebanon will also celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19.
`Eid Al-Fitr is one the two main Islamic religious festivals along with `Eid Al-Adha.
During `Eid days, families and friends exchange visits to express well wishes and children, wearing new clothes bought especially for `Eid, enjoy going out in parks and open fields.
Muslim minorities in the West will also celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19.
Muslims in North America will celebrate the feast on Sunday, according to a statement by the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and Islamic Society of North America (ISNA).
The European Council on Fatwa and Research has also announced that `Eid Al-Fitr will start on Sunday, August 19.
Muslims in Turkey will also celebrate the festival on Sunday.
Muslims in Kosovo, Macedonia, Romania, Bosnia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Albania and Slovenia will also celebrate `Eid Al-Fitr on Sunday, August 19.
Muslims in Bangladesh will celebrate the `Eid-Al-Fitr on Monday as the Shawal moon was not sighted on Saturday.
`Eid Al Fitr in Pakistan and India will also be celebrated on Monday.
Chinese Muslims in northwest China's Qinghai Province started `Eid celebrations on Saturday.
Other Muslim-populated regions, including Xinjiang and Ningxia, will celebrate the festival on Sunday.
Moon sighting have always been a controversial issue among Muslim countries, and even scholars seem at odds over the issue.
While one group of scholars sees that Muslims in other regions and countries are to follow the same moon sighting as long as these countries share one part of the night, another states that Muslims everywhere should abide by the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.
A third, however, disputes both views, arguing that the authority in charge of ascertaining the sighting of the moon in a given country announces the sighting of the new moon, then Muslims in the country should all abide by this.This usually causes confusion among Muslims, particularly in the West, on observing the dawn-to-dusk fasting and celebrating the `Eid Al-Fitr, which marks the end of fasting.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net