By Muhammad Bashir Shuaib

In the Islamic lunar calendar of 1445, the sighting of the Crescent Moon in Saudi Arabia on Monday, March 11, 2024, marks the start of the holy month of Ramadan.
In preparation for the holy month that is observed as a time of piety and sacrifice in the Islamic world, Muslim adherents were earlier tasked with being on notification when they spotted the moon.

Saudi Arabia earlier announced the start of the holy month of Ramadan on Monday, March 11, following the sighting of the crescent by the moon-sighting committee. 
According to the Saudi Supreme Court, the crescent was spotted on Sunday (March 10) evening, which also marks the last day of the Islamic month of Sha’ban. The Islamic months typically span either 29 or 30 days, depending on the sighting of the Moon.

The Hijri calendar month of Sha’ban came to a close after 29 days with the Moon sighting this Sunday evening. As such, March 11 is Ramadan 1 (the start of Ramadan 1445) in the Islamic calendar. Islamic observances include fasting from sunrise to sunset, praying for guidance and peace, giving alms to the community through zakat or charity, and participating in humanitarian endeavours like feeding the hungry and introspecting to enlighten one’s soul. Ramadan, the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, lasts for 720 hours, or four weeks and two days.

However, the fasting date changes yearly because the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar cycle. Hence, its starting and end dates depend on the sighting of the crescent moon.

Meanwhile, the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) President-General and Sultan of Sokoto, His Eminence Saad Abubakar III, has also urged the faithful to keep an eye out for the moon.
Sunday’s lunar sighting marks the beginning of Ramadan, which begins at midnight with Taraweeh prayers following Isha’i prayers.