Muslims around the world will begin fasting on Sunday, June 29, 2014, which has been declared as the start of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan. The start of this month, which is the 9th month in the Islamic calendar, is determined by the sighting of a crescent moon. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) state news agency Wam announced on Friday, June 27, that the moon had not been sighted that night. A story in The National from the UAE said:
Dr Hadef Al Dhaheri, Minister of Justice and Chairman of the Moon Sighting Committee, said after the meeting that discussions with neighbouring states had been conducted and a new moon had not yet been sighted, meaning Saturday is the last day of the month of Sha’aban and Sunday marks the first day of Ramadan for the Hijri year 1435.
Ramadan, for observant Muslims, is a time of fasting, prayer and charitable giving.
Here is a poem about Ramadan, by Rumi, a 13th-century Persian poet and mystic:
O moon-faced Beloved,
the month of Ramadan has arrived
Cover the table
and open the path of praise.
O fickle busybody,
it’s time to change your ways.
Can you see the one who’s selling the halvah
how long will it be the halvah you desire?
Just a glimpse of the halvah-maker
has made you so sweet even honey says,
“I’ll put myself beneath your feet, like soil;
I’ll worship at your shrine.”
Your chick frets within the egg
with all your eating and choking.
Break out of your shell that your wings may grow.
Let yourself fly.
The lips of the Master are parched
from calling the Beloved.
The sound of your call resounds
through the horn of your empty belly.
Let nothing be inside of you.
Be empty: give your lips to the lips of the reed.
When like a reed you fill with His breath,
then you’ll taste sweetness.
Sweetness is hidden in the Breath
that fills the reed.
Be like Mary – by that sweet breath
a child grew within her.
Bottom line: In 2014, Ramadan begins on Sunday, June 29. This Islamic holy month begins with the sighting of a crescent moon.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.