Saudi Arabia confirms July 9 as Eid al-Adha date after moon sighting

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The first day of Eid al-Adha will begin on July 9 following the sighting of the crescent moon in Saudi Arabia at the Tamir observatory, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported citing the Kingdom’s Supreme Court.

The five-day Muslim holiday of sacrifice falls during the lunar month of Dhu Al-Hijjah, which begins on June 30, marking the month when the Hajj pilgrimage takes place.

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Hajj will start on July 6 through July 10, with Arafat Day falling on July 8, according to the Supreme Court’s statement.

Muslims mark Eid al-Adha by buying sheep and goats to slaughter then distribute to the needy. This annual ritual stems from the story of the prophet Abraham, commanded by God to slaughter his son Ismaeel as a test of his faith.

Saudi Arabia’s Supreme Court earlier this week called on all Muslims in the Kingdom to sight the Dhu al-Hijjah crescent moon on Wednesday evening.

The Muslim religion follows a lunar calendar which comprises of 12 months in a year of 354 or 355 days. Sighting a crescent moon heralds the start of the fasting month of Ramadan, which falls on the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, and Eid al-Fitr which marks the end of Ramadan.

One of the five pillars of Islam, Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca in Saudi Arabia, which every Muslim must make at least once in their lifetime if they are able to.

A total of 172,562 pilgrims arrived in the Kingdom by June 21 ahead of this year’s Hajj season.

The Kingdom is allowing one million pilgrims from inside and outside the country to participate in this year’s Hajj.

Hajj is usually one of the world’s largest religious gatherings, with about 2.5 million people performing the ritual in 2019.

However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Kingdom had sharply decreased the number of pilgrims allowed to perform the ritual.

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