The sighting of the new crescent moon that marks the beginning of the holy month of Ramadan is anticipated to occur on May 4, Lebanon’s highest Sunni authority said in a statement Sunday.
Dar al-Fatwa called on anyone who sees the crescent after sunset on May 4 to go to its headquarters in Aisha Bakkar and testify in front of a council headed by Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdel-Latif Derian. If the crescent is indeed seen on May 4, Ramadan fasting will begin the following day.
However, while Dar al-Fatwa and the Higher Shiite Council rely on the new moon sighting to determine the start and end of Ramadan, the office of late Shiite cleric Sayyed Mohammad Hussein Fadlallah relies on astronomical calculations. Th office has set the start of the holy month on May 6.
Ramadan starts roughly 10 days earlier every year, based on the Islamic lunar calendar.
Prime Minister Saad Hariri announced earlier this month reduced working hours for public sector employees for Ramadan.
Employees of public institutions will be scheduled to work from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. from Monday to Thursday, and from 9 a.m. until noon on Friday – the Muslim day of prayer, for the duration of the holy month.