Ramadan 2019 to start May 6

DAVAO CITY, Philippines – Committees tasked with moon-sighting for the start of the annual fasting among Muslims have failed to spot the new moon, the National Commission on Muslim Filipinos (NCMF) announced Sunday, May 5.

NCMF Secretary Saidamen Pangarungan said in an advisory that because of this, Muslim Filipinos should start fasting at predawn Monday, May 6.

"All Moon-sighting Committees nationwide, including the Bangsamoro Darul Ifta, have all reported of not sighting the New Moon (Hilal). As such, and as declared by the Bangsamoro Darul Ifta, it is hereby officially declared that the 1440 AH Ramadan will start on Monday, May 6, 2019," Pangarungan said.

Moon-sighting activities in the Philippines started on Saturday, May 4.

Members of various Darul Ifta or Houses of Opinion across the country and commissioned Islamic scholars used their bare eyes to determine the lunar position and spot the new moon.

Under the Sunni belief, the spotting of the new moon should be done through the bare eyes, as the Prophet Muhammad did.

Cloudy skies had been prevailing in the country for days now.

As in the Philippines, Saudi Arabia also announced that fasting should begin Monday and that Sunday was the last day of Shabaan under the Hijri calendar.

The United Arab Emirates and other Arab countries also followed the Saudi edict.

Even countries that traditionally do not follow the Sunni school of thought, such as Iran, also announced that Monday would be the start of the month-long fasting, which is one of Islam's 5 pillars.

During Ramadan, able-bodied Muslims abstain from food and liquid intake from predawn, before the Fajr prayer, and until dusk, as the call for prayer for Maghrib or the early evening prayer is being sounded. Smoking, chewing gums, and even brushing of teeth are also among prohibited acts.

Those fasting also abstain from other worldly desires such as sex and should also perform supplementary prayers aside from the daily 5 prayers.

Muslims also try to shun evil things during Ramadan as these can violate the sanctity of the fasting. – Rappler.com