Muslims in Kenya ask, does Ramadan start on April 2nd or 3rd?

Some clerics advised that Ramadan should start on Saturday, others on Sunday

TOPSHOT -Muslims attend Eid al-Fitr prayers to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on June 4, 2019, at the Jamia Mosque in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo by YASUYOSHI CHIBA/AFP via Getty Images)

For a majority of the world, Saturday April 2 marks the first day of Ramadan - the holy month of fasting, prayer, generosity and charity.

On Friday, April 1 Sheikh Jamaluddin Osman, Imam at Jamia Mosque in Nairobi announced he had sighted the crescent of the new moon while Senior Principal Kadhi Sheikh Twalib Mohamed disagreed saying, the crescent was yet to be sighted in Kenya.

"On behalf of Chief Kadhi Sheikh Ahmed Muhdhar, I would like to inform all Kenyans that the crescent was not sighted in the country, therefore April 2, will be the 30th day of Sha^ban while April 3 will be the first day of Ramadan," said Sheikh Twalib.

Sha^ban is the eighth month on the Islamic calendar and the last lunar month before Ramadan, so Muslims determine in it when the first day of Ramadan fasting should be.

The confusion seems to stem from the orbit of the moon around the earth which can take up to three days for the whole world to actually see the crescent for the first time each month, even after clouds have cleared.

On April 1, telescopes were lined up at observatories to scan the clear blue skies for the first hint of the crescent of the new moon before reports came in that it had been seen in Sudair, Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia's Umm al-Qura Calendar had already predicted Ramadan to start on April 2, 2022. Umm al-Qura is a civil islamic calendrical system used in Saudi Arabia.

The Umm al-Qura Calendar is used by the government for civil purposes, with its dates determined at the Institute of Astronomical & Geophysical Research in Riyadh.

It says the month will finish on May 1, with the next month (Shawwal) starting on May 2 with the three-day festivities of Eid al-Fitr.

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