KARACHI: The Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee on Thursday announced that the holy month of Ramazan would begin from Saturday (tomorrow) as the moon had not been sighted in the country.
“No acceptable and Shariah-compliant testimonies were received from any part of the country,” Mufti Muneebur Rehman, the chairman of the committee, said after a meeting of the body held at the Met Office in Karachi to sight the moon. “Therefore, the first Ramazan will be on Saturday, April 25.”
The crescent for the holy month has been sighted in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain, Singapore, Indonesia, Malaysia and the Indian state of Karnataka and fasting will begin there from Friday (today).
The holy month will start from Saturday in Oman, according to a statement released by its official news agency.
This time, Dr Tariq Masood, the joint secretary of the science and technology ministry, was appointed as a technical expert of the committee, which dominated by religious experts.
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The Pakistan Meteorological Department had already predicted on April 11 that the Ramazan moon would be sighted across the country on Friday and Saturday would be the first day of fasting.
It had rejected the possibility of the moon being sighted on Thursday.
On February 27, Federal Science and Technology Minister Fawad Chaudhry had also claimed in a tweet that the first Ramazan would fall on April 25.
He had also maintained that that the country’s official the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee had erred while announcing the Islamic months of Ziqad and Rajab.
Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai of the Qasim Ali Khan Mosque in Peshawar, as if often the case, has created a controversy again this year by announcing that he and his committee had received testimonies of moon sighting and Ramazan would begin from Friday (today) – meaning there would be two Eids in the country.
Separately, US President Donald Trump wished Muslims across the nation and the world “Ramazan Mubarak,” or a blessed Ramazan, saying he prayed for those observing the holy month.
“Over the past months, we have seen how important the power of prayer can be during challenging times. Today, as the holy month of Ramazan commences, I pray that those who are observing this sacred time find comfort and reassurance in their faith,” he said in a message.
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UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres in his Ramazan message to Muslims around the world said the Islamic tradition of hospitality and generosity was a remarkable lesson at a time when people in conflict zones and vulnerable populations faced dire consequences.
“This will, of course, be a very different Ramazan. Many community activities will naturally be affected by measures to combat the Covid-19 pandemic," he added.
“Many people in conflict zones will once again be tragically marking this month with war and insecurity all around. I recently called for an immediate global ceasefire to focus on our common enemy - the virus. I repeat that appeal today, recalling the words of the Holy Quran 'if they incline to peace, then incline to it'.”
(With input from our correspondent in Peshawar and agencies)
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