Saudi Arabia and several other Arab countries announced Saturday night that the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan would start on Monday, dpa reported.
The Saudi royal court and the higher court decided that Sunday will be the final day of the lunar month of Shaaban and that Monday will be the first day of Ramadan because the crescent moon could not be sighted Saturday night.
Similar announcements were also made by the legal moon sighting panels in Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Syria, Bahrain, Qatar, Yemen and the Palestinian territories.
According to the Islamic teachings, fasting should start upon the sighting of the crescent of Ramadan, as Islamic scholars failed so far to agree on the legality of using astronomical calculations to decide the start and end of the fasting month.
Muslims throughout the world traditionally follow the steps of Saudi Arabia in starting and ending the fasting, while Muslim Shiites usually adhere to Iran's calculations.