Ramadan fasting in coastal Karnataka from Friday (Ld Correcting Heading)

Mangaluru, April 24 (IANS) With the sighting of the crescent moon in a clear summer sky on Thursday night, a leading local priest declared the month-long Ramadan fasting from Friday in coastal Karnataka.

“As the crescent moon was sighted tonight (Thursday) over the coastal region, Qazi Twaka Ahmed Musliayar declared the start of the holy month of Ramadan, with fasting from Friday in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Kodagu districts across the southern state’s west coast,” an official told IANS quoting the priest.

In view of the extended lockdown in force since April 15 up to May 3, the Qazi advised all the devout Muslims to offer prayers (namaz) and break the fast in the evening at home and not in mosques or darghas (shrines) where congregations have been banned to ensure physical distancing and prevent the virus spread.

In Kerala too, Ramadan begins on Friday. In the rest of Karnataka, Ramadan fasting will begin on Saturday after sighting of the moon on Friday night.

As the sacred ninth month in the Islamic calendar, based on new moon’s sighting, Ramadan begins 11 days early every year and its fasting (roza) is observed from dawn (fajar) to dusk (maghrib) and ends in the evening.

Special night prayers (taraveeh) are also offered during the holy month. On April 16, the state Wakf board also advised all Muslims across the state to offer congregational prayers (salat) and break their fast (iftar) in the evening in their homes due to lockdown extension and ban on religious gatherings.

The Wakf board chief executive has also directed the imams to announce in three languages (Urdu, Hindi and Kannada) four times a day through public address system that devotees should not to visit mosques for Ramadan sahri, fasting iftar and taraveeh prayers till May 3.