Muslims across Pakistan marked the beginning of the holy month of Shaban after its moon was sighted on February 21.
Under the chairmanship of Maulana Abdul Khabir Azad, a meeting of the Ruet-e-Hilal committee was held in Islamabad on Tuesday to sight the crescent of the eighth Islamic month.
Following confirmation of Shaban's beginning, calculations predict that the holy month of Ramadan — the ninth Islamic month during which Muslims observe fasting and prayer with an emphasis on good deeds — in Pakistan will begin either from March 23 or 24.
Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, too, the first day of Ramadan is expected to fall on March 23.
According to the report from an Arab media outlet, Dr Abdullah Al-Massand, a former professor of astronomy at Al-Qassim University in Saudi Arabia and deputy chairman of the Meteorological Society, said that the first day of Ramadan is expected to be observed on March 23, (Thursday).
Dr Massand was of the view that the holy month of Shaban will have 30 days because, on the 29th of Shaban, the "crescent will be lightening just before nine minutes after the sunset".
He also told that the convergence of the sun and the moon will be taking place on 29th of Shaban which means on the evening of March 21 at 8:23pm. Therefore, he added, the first day of Ramadan will be observed on March 23.
Prior to this, Ibrahim Al-Jarwan, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Emirates Astronomy Society, had also forecast that the first day of the holy month would likely be observed on March 23 with Eid ul Fitr likely taking place on April 21.
According to the Saudi government, after the sunset of March 21, the sighting of the moon for the holy month will begin.
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