When is Eid? Will solar eclipse impact ending of Ramadan and moon sighting?

Read all about the eid dates and impact solar eclipse will have on the moon sighting.

A moon seen at the Jama Masjid Mosque on the first day of the holy month of Ramadan, in New Delhi, India, on Tuesday, March 12, 2024.

As Ramadan concludes, Muslims worldwide are looking forward to celebrating Eid al-Fitr. The confirmation of the beginning and end of Ramadan is traditionally determined by the sighting of the moon. The ideal moment occurs when the moon is positioned between Earth and the sun, revealing the far side of the moon illuminated.

Ramadan, the sacred month of fasting from sunrise to sunset in the Islamic Hijri calendar, is marked by the appearance of the new moon. Given that Ramadan began on March 11 this year, many are wondering if it will conclude—and the joyous festival of Eid al-Fitr will commence—during the total solar eclipse on April 8.

A total solar eclipse is the only occasion when the new moon becomes visible. Typically, the new moon is obscured by the sun’s glare and remains invisible. However, this month presents a unique opportunity for moon sighting in North America.

How does Crescent Moon Impact timing of Ramadan and Eid?

Ramadan is the month-long period of fasting practiced by Muslims around the world, abstaining from food and drink from sunrise to sunset. Notably, this year, Ramadan will not end (and Eid will not commence) with the sighting of the new moon. Although eclipse glasses will allow individuals in North America to see the outline of the new moon on Monday, April 8, viewing the full eclipse without aids is only possible within a 115-mile-wide path of totality.

In the Islamic Hijri calendar, the beginning of each new month, including Ramadan, is determined by the sighting of the first crescent moon after the new moon. Eid al-Fitr marks the end of Ramadan and the start of the month of Shawwal.

Here’s what you need to know about Eid al-Fitr and its observance this year:

When is Eid al-Fitr?

The Islamic calendar follows lunar cycles, causing the dates for Ramadan, Eid al-Fitr, and Eid al-Adha to shift each year.

This year, Ramadan commenced at sundown on Sunday, March 10. Traditionally, Eid al-Fitr is celebrated during the first three days of Shawwal, the 10th month of the Islamic calendar, following the sighting of the new moon.

How Will the Solar Eclipse Affect Moon Sighting?

The total solar eclipse on Monday, April 8, will impact the visibility of the Shawwal crescent moon this year. As per The National, the crescent moon will not be visible until April 9, which is the 30th day of Ramadan.

Initially, astronomers anticipated that Eid al-Fitr would begin on April 9. However, due to the solar eclipse, the new moon will not be visible at the western horizon after sunset on April 8.

Consequently, the crescent moon is predicted to become visible after sunset on April 9 in most Islamic countries. Thus, April 10 is likely to be the first day of Shawwal and Eid al-Fitr, as reported by Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

While the official confirmation of Eid al-Fitr’s arrival is anticipated on Monday night, marking April 10 on your calendar appears to be a prudent choice.

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