Though the official beginning of Ramadan won’t be announced until the sliver of a new moon is physically seen somewhere in the Gulf, astronomers have pegged the first fast to begin either on Tuesday, July 9, or Wednesday, July 10.

Hasan Al Hariri, chief executive of the Dubai Astronomy Group, said he was confident the moon and the sun would set together on July 8, meaning the Ramadan crescent would first be seen on July 9. This triggers the start of Ramadan, he said, in accordance with the Saudi Arabian Umm Al Qura lunar calendar.

“It’s not a matter of reliability – it’s science. It’s mathematics,” Mr Al Hariri said. “And science today has become so beautiful, so simple and so interesting. Anybody with a smartphone can download Google Sky, hold their phones to the moon and see it for themselves.”

The Jeddah-based Association of Astronomers, however, told Saudi newspaper Okaz that “our calculation suggests that Tuesday should be the first day of the fasting month.”

Meanwhile, Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Cabinet Affairs, Ahmed bin Abdullah Al Mahmoud, announced that government offices, including ministries, authorities and other state agencies, will work from 9am until 2pm on weekdays during Ramadan.

source: doha news