Kuwait’s Shiite scholars to observe Ramadan on Thursday

August 8, 2010

Kuwait’s Shiite scholars have said that Ramadan would start on Thursday, a local daily said.

The announcement was based on the fact that the crescent marking the beginning of the sacred month will not be visible before Wednesday, the scholars said, according to Al Watan newspaper report on Sunday.

The scholars reportedly said that they did not base their decisions on astronomers’ calculations and that they followed the traditional view of seeing the crescent.

Muslims have often differed on the start and end of the month during which they abstain from food, drink and sexual activities from sunrise until sunset.

Last week, the Beirut-based office of Sayyed Mohammad Hussain Fadlallah, a leading Shiite leader who died last month after a long battle with illness, said that Wednesday would be is the first day of the holy fasting month of Ramadan.

The date was determined on the basis of astrological calculations in accordance with Islamic scientific rules, the office said.

The divergence on observing and ending Ramadan has been a contentious issue among Muslims despite repeated calls for unity.

Traditional scholars insist on the sighting of the crescent while some religious leaders say that astronomical calculations could be used to determine the start and end of the month.

Last month, a Kuwaiti astronomer said that the first day of Ramadan would be on Wednesday – August 11- based on arithmetical calculations.

However, Sahel Al Ojairi, said that “since the moon would not be visible in several parts of the world on that day, most countries will start fasting on different days.”

Al Ojairi said that Libya and Lebanon would start observing the fasting month on Wednesday as both nations rely heavily on arithmetical calculations, while Oman would start fasting on Thursday –August 12- since it traditionally relies on the sighting of the moon.

“India and Pakistan will start on Friday – August 12-due to geographical considerations, while other countries, including the Gulf Cooperation Council and North Africa, do not have any specific day to start Ramadan as the moon will not be visible there,” he said, quoted by Kuwaiti daily Arab Times.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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