A friend has a new boyfriend who is Moroccan. A Moroccan who has been observing Ramadan for the last month. He’s been abstaining from everything, even water, until 8pm each evening. And when I say everything I mean sex too – they can’t touch until after 8pm.
My friend has learned a hungry (and sex-starved) Moroccan can be a grouchy Moroccan.
So they have been looking forward eagerly to the Eid al Fitr festival that marks the end of Ramadan. I was at my friend’s house last weekend and we were trying to decide on a date for a dinner this week, and I supposed they would know when the fast ends. But to my surprise, the response was that Muslims don’t know in advance when it will end. How could that be? It is a lunar thing – Ramadan ends the night that the crescent moon rises again. Surely astronomers can predict this easily enough.
But, apparently other factors enter the equation. Cloud cover may be interpreted as extending Ramadan because the new moon will not be visible. Some say that it ends after no more than 30 days regardless of clouds. It’s all discussed in this WSJ blog post.
The Saudi Supreme court held yesterday that in Arabia it ends today (after clouds yesterday) without waiting to see if the new moon rising would be visible. I’ve not seen any “official” pronouncement of when Ramadan ends this year in Queeristan (fog last night but clear tonight) so far. Maybe I’ll give the Dove World Outreach Center a call – they’re experts on all things Quranic these days.