Important Announcement About Starting Ramadan [Ramazan] 1432 / 2011
In July 2011, the first New Moon was born on the 1st and the next New Moon will be born on the 30th at 18:39, Universal Time (GMT). The local time in Makkah is then 21:39. It is important to note that the hegirian month does not begin at conjunction, i.e. when the New Moon is born. The crescent has actually to be sighted in the evening sky. According to our calendar, this sighting can either be at Makkah itself, or at any point to the West of Makkah, before the Morning Prayer in Makkah (concept of intermediate or limiting horizon). On the evening of 30th July, the New Moon will be born too late to be visible on that very evening, at any part of the world. Thus Ramadan cannot start on 31st July.
On the next day, 31st July, the visibility curve shows the western part of earth covered with a vast expanse of green or blue (easy visibility): The reader can verify this by a simple look at the visibility curve here. The new moon is invisible in Makkah to the naked eye but it is easily visible before fajr in Makkah at coordinates 30° South, 60° West, the horizon that we have used. According to our calendar, sighting can either be at Makkah itself, or at any point to the West of Makkah, before the Morning Prayer in Makkah. This concept is all the more valid since the Islamic day starts at fajr and not at sunset (maghrib). So, according to our calendar, Ramadan will start on August 1, 2011.
Strictly Speaking, The Makkah Calendar is applicable to Makkah. However, we are certain that our calendar is valid for many countries. Our visibility curves represent the condtions at local sunset at each point. The visibility curve for Ramadan shows that – on 31st July 2011 – the New Moon will easily be visibile with the naked eye everywhere in Africa, south of the equator, and everywhere in South and Central America. Thus in all the countries situated in this part of the earth, the 1st of Ramadan will be on 1st August 2011 at the same time as in Makkah.
For countries to the east of Makkah, as well as for some more countries to the west of Makkah, we will publish another announcement before the beginning of Ramadan.