The Zilhaj moon has been sighted and Eidul Azha will be celebrated across the country on August 12 (Monday), Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee Chairman Mufti Muneebur Rehman announced on Friday.
The decision was taken following a meeting of the committee, held in Karachi to sight the crescent.
Similarly, the provincial committees held meetings in Lahore, Peshawar and Quetta to facilitate the central body in Karachi.
Experts had predicted that there were fair chances of Zilhaj moon being sighted tonight and consequently Eidul Azha falling August 12 as predicted in the Ministry of Science and Technology’s lunar calendar.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) and other Gulf states will celebrate the Eid on August 11 (Sunday) after Zilhaj moon was sighted in the region on Thursday night.
The federal government has already announced a four-day holiday on accounts of Eidul Azha and Independence Day.
On Wednesday, the Interior Ministry issued a notification, declaring August 12 to 15 (Monday to Thursday) a public holiday. Saturday, August 17, however, was declared as a working day for the government employees.
With Eid approaching fast, many cattle traders belonging to far-flung areas of the country have started appearing in the urban centres – Karachi, Lahore and Islamabad among others – to attract customers specially kids.
Citizens are seen to be visiting different localities for buying sacrificial animals and the traders have also started roaming in streets with their animals to attract buyers.
Eidul Azha commemorates the Quranic tale of the Prophet Ibrahim’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to Allah, before the Almighty replaced the son with a ram to be sacrificed instead.
It marks the end of an annual Hajj, or pilgrimage to Makkah, which is one of the five pillars of Islam, and should be undertaken by every Muslim who can afford to do so.
Last month, Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry had announced this year’s dates for Eidul Azha and the beginning of the month of Muharram, based on scientific evidence.
In a tweet, he confirmed that Eidul Azha will fall on August 12, a Monday, while the first month of the Islamic calender, Muharram, will begin on September 1, a Sunday.
The minister used the Ministry for Science and Technology’s newly launched lunar calendar to determine the dates. The calendar was launched to end the controversy that often surrounds the moon sighting for important Islamic events.
The calendar can be accessed by the website and can also be downloaded as a mobile phone application.