Muslim lunar calendar no mystery to Bahraini astronomer who predicts exact date for Eid
A Bahraini astronomer said that Eid Al Adha, the Feast of the Sacrifice, the second of two major religious festivals celebrated by Muslims, would be on October 26.
“According to calculations, the new moon for the month of Dhul Hijja will start on October 17, which means that the Eid will be on October 26,” Ali Al Hajari said. Eid is invariably celebrated on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, the 12th month on the lunar calendar adopted by Muslims.
The start and end of the lunar months is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon or by the elapse of 30 days. Scholars have been sharply divided over the merit of using astronomic calculations or naked eye sighting to determine the months. The Islamic calendar is 354 days long and “retreats” each year by 11 days compared with the 365-day Gregorian calendar. Muslims have two major religious celebrations, Eid Al Fitr and Eid Al Adha. Eid Al Fitr is celebrated at the end of Ramadan, the ninth month of the year during which they abstain from eating, drinking and carnal pleasures from sunrise until sunset. Eid Al Adha, called Eid Al Kabeer, the Greater Eid, in some Muslim countries, is marked on the 10th of Dhul Hijja, one day after pilgrims ascend Mount Arafat in the outskirts of Makkah for day-long prayers and supplications.
The Eid honours the willingness of Abraham to sacrifice his son Ismaeel — granted to him by God him after many years of deep prayer — as an act of obedience to God, before God called to the father and son that their intentions had been accepted and that the son would be replaced with a sheep to sacrifice instead.
Public sector employees will be given a three-day holiday for Eid Al Adha, but will in fact have six consecutive days off, one day ahead of Eid and two days in lieu for Friday and Saturday, the official weekend. Private sector employees, not entitled to the day before Eid and to replacement days, will most likely have only two or three days.
By Habib Toumi, Bureau Chief
Do you think there should be a way to predict the exact dates of Muslim holidays? Or are you happy to wait until the night before? Tell us what you think below.