Egypt’s Dar Al-Iftaa announced on Monday evening that Eid Al-Fitr will commence on Wednesday 5 June, with Tuesday 4 June being the last day of Ramadan.
“The [new Moon] was not visible across the country. Tuesday will be the last day of Ramadan,” announced Egypt’s Grand Mufti Shawki Allam in a statement on Monday.
The announcement has resulted in confusion across the Muslim world, with countries declaring different dates as the first day of Eid Al-Fitr.
Australia, which was the first, said that Eid Al-Fitr will fall on Wednesday 5 June. Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan, Thailand and Malaysia joined Egypt and Australia in similarly declaring Wednesday 5 June as Eid Al-Fitr.
However, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Qatar and other Gulf nations announced on Monday evening that Tuesday 4 June would be the first day of Eid Al-Fitr per observations by their respective Moon-sighting committees. Nigeria and a number of other countries also announced Tuesday 4 June as the first day of Eid Al-Fitr.
The different dates caused confusion on social media, with some questioning why and how religious figures would announce different dates.
Eid Al-Fitr, marking conclusion of either 29 or 30 days of fasting during Ramadan, is determined by a moon sighting. Eid Al-Ftir marks the first day of the 10th Islamic month Shawwal.
Some Muslims follow a set lunar calendar to determine the date of Eid Al-Fitr and other important Islamic holidays. Others, however, rely on an official sighting of the new Moon.
In this year’s case, scholars in Egypt and Saudi Arabia reported different sightings, with those in Egypt reporting no sighting of the new Moon across the country while those in Saudi Arabia reporting a sighting.
As Ramadan can only last for either 29 or 30 days, this means that in Egypt’s case, Wednesday 5 June is the last possible day of Ramadan as it would mark 30 days of fasting.