The Central Moon Sighting Committees in Saudi Arabia, UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, and other Muslim-majority nations could NOT sight the Ramadan crescent moon on Tuesday (March 21). Hence, fasts are to begin on Thursday in these countries.
The month of Ramadan is one of the most significant times of the year for the Muslim community worldwide. It is a time for reflection, prayer, and fasting during daylight hours.
The start of Ramadan changes every year based on the Islamic calendar, which consists of 12 lunar months totaling either 354 or 355 days. This causes the fasting month to move up to 10 days earlier each year in the Gregorian calendar.
This year, it falls on March 23 until April 21. However, dates may vary based on the sighting of the new crescent moon that indicates the month of Shawwal’s arrival, or after the 30th day of Ramadan.
Read more: 12 health tips for Ramadan
Reduced working hours
Saudi Arabia’s Central Bank (SAMA) announced reduced working hours for the month of Ramadan and the holiday dates for Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.
The bank declared that branches and offices operate from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM during the month of Ramadan.
The offices of banks and their seasonal branches at Hajj terminals of airports and sea ports, as well as in Makkah and Madinah, and border crossings will remain open to serve Hajj and Umrah pilgrims and visitors during the holidays.
As for other businesses, it is expected that their working hours will be reduced to five, with work starting at 10:00 AM to 3:00 PM, as per the Ministry of Human Resources announcement last year.
Money transfer centers will operate from 9.30 AM to 5.30 PM.
In the UAE, working times are reduced during Ramadan to 6 hours for all employees irrespective of whether they are Muslim or not.
According to UAE labor law, private sector workers are usually required to work eight hours a day with an hour for lunch.
The official working hours for ministries and federal authorities during Ramadan will be from 9:00 AM to 2:30 PM from Monday to Thursday, and from 9:00 AM to 12:00 PM on Fridays.
During Ramadan, private school timings will be reduced to five hours, according to the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA).
Bahrain has also announced official Ramadan working hours.
According to a circular, the official work hours of the country’s ministries, authorities, and public institutions will be from 8 am to 2 pm throughout the holy month.
Moreover, Qatar announced the official working hours for Ramadan 2023.
The circular advised that working hours should start at 9 am and run until 2 pm.
The Ministry also said employees may be permitted late attendance up to 10 am at the latest, provided that they fulfill work requirements and complete the official five working hours.
In addition to the working hours during Ramadan, SAMA also announced the dates for the Eid Al-Fitr and Eid Al-Adha holidays.
The Eid Al-Fitr holiday will begin at the end of the working day on Monday, April 17, and work will resume on Tuesday, April 25.
The Eid Al-Adha holiday will start at the end of the working day on Monday, June 22, and work will resume on Tuesday, July 2.
In the UAE, Eid Al Fitr is expected to fall on Friday, April 21, and the Eid holidays will be from Ramadan 29 until Shawwal 3, based on the Islamic calendar.
If Eid-Al Fitr falls on April 20, then the UAE will have a four-day weekend on April 20, 21, 22, and 23.
In Qatar, with Eid al-Fitr will likely fall on 21 April, residents can expect a three-day holiday from 23 – 25 April 2023.
On Sunday, the local newspaper Al-Madina quoted market dealers as confirming a significant increase in livestock prices, ranging between 100 riyals ($26.62) and 200 riyals ($53.24) per head, due to increased demand, the approaching season, and high barley and fodder prices.
In the UAE, the Ministry of Economy agreed to raise egg and poultry prices by no more than 13%.
The ministry stated that the decision is part of its efforts to ensure a balanced relationship between merchant and consumer, as well as to maintain food security across all of the country’s markets.
For more on Ramadan, click here.