Ramadan 2013 off to a confusing start

July 9, 2013

(Flickr/ NASA Goddard Photo and Video)

For Muslims, Ramadan is one of the most important times of the year. It consists of an entire month of fasting and spiritual reflection.

Muslims abstain from food, drink and sexual relations between sunrise and sunset for 29 or 30 days.

The start of Ramadan can be hard to define because Muslims use the birth of a new moon to mark the first day of each month.

Monday night at sunset, some folks sought out the new moon, but didn’t see it because according to reports, it was the thinnest crescent moon ever photographed.

But those who use the Western Lunar Calendar already had their minds made up to start fasting on Tuesday.

Now add in social media and the confusion intensifies.

According to Hind Makki, a Chicago-based interfaith educator, many Muslims were poking fun at themselves for not being able to make a decision.

“One of my friends asked on Facebook ‘Are you team Tuesday or team Wednesday?’ Kind of referencing the whole Twilight “Team Jacob” or “Team Edward.”

Makki said she normally goes by calculations, but changed her mind this year. She decided to stick with what the local mosque in her area was doing so that they could all celebrate together.

There may be more confusion at the end of the month, when Muslims try to determine when Ramadan ends.

Mariam Sobh is the midday and weekend news anchor at WBEZ. Follow her @mariamsobh.