No moon so it’s last day of Ramadaan

Weekend Argus (Sunday Edition) - - NEWS - TANYA PETERSEN

TODAY marks the fi­nal day of Ramadaan as the new cres­cent moon, which sig­nals the end, was not sighted last night at the tra­di­tional Three An­chor Bay ob­ser­va­tion as thou­sands of Mus­lims gath­ered on the Sea Point prom­e­nade for the an­nounce­ment of Eid-ul-fitr.

Fam­i­lies gath­ered on the grass ready to break their fast as the sun set ahead of the po­ten­tial sight­ing.

The Islamic cal­en­der is based on the lu­nar sys­tem and to de­ter­mine the start and end of each month, the Cres­cent Ob­servers So­ci­ety of South Africa gath­ers at dif­fer­ent view­ing ar­eas to make th­ese de­ter­min­ing calls.

As Ramadaan is the holi­est of months in the Mus­lim cal­en­der – marked by 29 or 30 days of fast­ing – in­ter­est in this par­tic­u­lar moon sight­ing is al­ways high.

The sight­ing has to be with the naked eye, as pre­scribed by Islamic prac­tice.

Tra­di­tion­ally, thou­sands turn up at Three An­chor Bay with their prayer mats and pic­nic bas­kets.

The so­ci­ety or maankyk­ers (moon-watch­ers), as they are re­ferred to by lo­cal Mus­lims, also send mem­bers to Oudekraal, Sig­nal Hill, Soet­wa­ter and Stel­len­bosch.

Cru­cial to the sight­ing is the po­si­tion of the sun when it sets. Ob­servers look at the in­vis­i­ble arc be­tween Venus and the sun­set for the moon.

How­ever, the moon was not sighted yes­ter­day, mean­ing today will be the last day of Ramadaan and Eid will be cel­e­brated tomorrow.

Moga­mat Yusuf Pandy, chair­man of the Cres­cent Ob­servers So­ci­ety of South Africa, said they have 41 min­utes af­ter the sun sets to ob­serve the moon, and con- firmed it had not been sighted.

As Mus­lims awaited the an­nounce­ment, chil­dren played and peo­ple chat­ted.

As sun­set ap­proached, the smell of soup and savoury treats was abun­dant.

Mus­lim re­li­gious lead­ers who sat in front of the crowds fac­ing the set­ting sun pre­pared them­selves to break their fast be­fore lead­ing every­body in prayer.

When the sun set fam­i­lies sat to­gether and shared a meal.

A few min­utes later men started mov­ing for­ward with their prayer mats to pray un­der the lead­er­ship of Pandy.

Shaki­rah van der Berg of Mitchells Plain said it was the first time she and her fam­ily

‘It is nice to see every­body com­ing to­gether’

had at­tended the moon sight­ing and was glad she could make it this year.

She said the fam­ily was ready for Eid as they had done all their shop­ping.

“We are go­ing to make bout, sout vleis, tongue, roast and seafood.”

So­raya Adams, who wasthere with her fam­ily of six, said they usu­ally at­tended the moon sight­ing ev­ery year, but hadn’t done so for the past two years.

“It was such a lovely day. The en­vi­ron­ment is nice and the hype around the sight­ing of the moon. It’s nice to see every­body com­ing to­gether. But it’s also a sad time as it means Ramadaan is com­ing to an end.”

She too was ready for Eid, and a meal of leg of lamb, chicken, seafood and tri­fle.

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