Nigerian leaders confirm moon sighting, mark the start of Ramadan

By Laureen Fagan - 22 March 2023 at 11:02 pm
Nigerian leaders confirm moon sighting, mark the start of Ramadan

Nigerians will begin their observance of Ramadan on Thursday, following an announcement from the Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) and its National Moon Sighting Committee that the crescent moon was observed, marking the start of the holy month of fasting and prayer.

“May Allah make it a blessed month to all of us and also enable us to reap the benefits associated with the month,” said the committee. Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, the spiritual leader of Nigerian Muslims and head of the NSCIA, verified the announcement with Nigerian media outlets on Wednesday night.

Muslims across Africa and around the globe kept their eyes to the sky in order to mark the start of Ramadan. Some countries, including Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, will begin observing Ramadan on Thursday.

Moroccan Muslims will mark the start of Ramadan on Thursday, according to its Ministry of Islamic Affairs, as will Egypt and Ghana.

The sighting of the crescent moon marks the end of Shaban, ushering in the season on the Islamic calendar when Muslims believe the first verses of the Quran were revealed to the Prophet Muhammad.

During Ramadan – which from year to year changes because it’s based on a lunar cycle – Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset as a spiritual discipline to draw them forward in the faith. It continues until the Eid al-Fitr feast in April.

Image: NSCIA/National Moon Sighting Committee

Laureen Fagan

Laureen Fagan

Laureen is the editor of Africa Times

Laureen is a freelance journalist creating high-quality, informed content on international affairs, politics and technology. She has worked both in and out of newsrooms since 2000. She is a former paramedic with significant experience in community resilience and nonprofit community development initiatives, and maintains "a passion for action" on sustainability and climate change. She also is trained in conflict resolution and diversity, and has special interests in science and medical reporting, and culture and religion issues. Laureen received her MSJ from Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism in the United States, and completed additional graduate study in theology at University of Notre Dame. Follow Laureen on Mastodon at

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