Scholars settle on end of Ramadan

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The Independent Online
Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting, will end today, according to scholars in Saudi Arabia and Egypt, two of the Muslim world's most important countries.

The crescent moon, which marks both the beginning and end of the lunar month of Ramadan, was not sighted last night, the state televisions in both countries reported. Scholars had expected to see the crescent either yesterday or today. Saudis and Egyptians will therefore continue fasting today and tomorrow will mark the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr, or the feast of the breaking of the fast. Most Muslims will follow the decision of scholars in Saudi Arabia and Egypt.

Last year, Egypt and Saudi Arabia were divided over whether the crescent moon had been sighted, leading Saudis to end their fast one day earlier than Egyptians. During Ramadan, the month in which the Koran, or Muslim holy book, was revealed to the Prophet Mohammed, Muslims abstain from dawn to dusk.