Unlike Christian or Jewish holidays, there isn’t a universally accepted method to be exactly sure which day Ramadan begin. In fact, there is significant debate among Muslims in America about whether calculations or visual confirmation should be used to determine the exact date of Islamic holidays.
One school of thought on the issue follows the dictates of scientific calculations, which tell us that the new crescent moon should be visible tonight, signifying that tomorrow will be the first day of Ramadan. Others feel that an actual sighting of the moon is required to confirm the date, regardless of whether or not calculations predict it will be there. This group of people could start Ramadan tomorrow or the day afterwards.
As I previously mentioned, I am an unapologetic geek, so I abide by the calculations method. This, however, does not take away the significance for me of seeing the hilal (crescent moon) that marks the beginning of Ramadan. So tonight, just after sunset, I will look just above and to the left of where the sun set to see with my own eyes what my heart (and computer) already know to be true: Ramadan has arrived, and fasting begins tomorrow.
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About Hungry for RamadanThe last update to the Hungry for Ramadan blog was in October 2007. We welcome your comments about Ramadan and Islam in general in our Muslim forums.
Shahed Amanullah, a frequent Beliefnet contributor, is one of the country’s foremost Muslim journalists. He has harnessed the power of the Internet to spread a positive view of Islam. Amanullah is the editor of altmuslim.com, a Muslim news website, and founder of Halalfire Media, a network of Muslim-themed websites with more than five million annual visitors. Through his work Amanullah has tapped into a strong force of online activism. He lives in Texas with his wife and two sons, and looks forward to the spiritual rewards of Ramadan every year.
- Ramadan 2009 (on Beliefnet)
- “Hungry for Ramadan” Recap
- These are the Days of Eid
- What a Difference 30 Days Can Make
- The Sweets of Ramadan
- Making Ramadan Festive for Children
- The Solitude of the Suhoor – The Morning Meal
- Sharing the Blessings of Ramadan with the Fast-a-thon
- A Golden Opportunity to Curb Addiction
- The Story of the USPS Eid Stamp