Determining the beginning of Ramadan causes conflicts in the Muslim world very often. Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs applies correct regulations in the way that the Qur’an ordains. As the Qur’an orders making observations about the times of salat, It leaves the calculations about Lunar Calendar to groups of scientists. Allah the Almighty commands:
“The sun and the moon [move] by precise calculation” (Rahman 55:5)
“It is He Who made the sun a ‘dhiya’ and the moon a ‘noor’. He has proportioned it by stages, so that you may know the count of the years and the calculation. Allah created it as an independent being. Allah expounds his signs for a group of people who know.” (Jonah 10:5)
Since there were no scientists to do the calculations during the lifetime of our Prophet (p.b.u.h.), he said as follows, being the only way out:
“We are an illiterate nation. We do not use writing or computation [in our fasting]. A month is so and so and so (and he pointed with his hands three times, folding the thumb on the third time, meaning twenty nine days) or so and so and so (and he pointed with his hands three times, meaning thirty days).” (Bukhari, Fast, 11, 13; Muslim, Fast, 4, 10, 12, 13, 15; Abu Dawood, Fast, 4; Ibn Majah, Fast, 8; Nasai, Fast 17; Ahmad b. Hanbal, 1/184; 2/ 43, 52, 122, 129.)
“Begin fasting when you see the Crescent (of Ramadan), begin the Eid when you see the Crescent (of Shawwal). If it is cloudy, complete the current month to thirty.” (Bukhari, Sawm, 11)
Nowadays, there are enough of scientists to be able to compute the motion and reckoning of the Moon and the Sun. Accurate principles were set at the International Crescent Conference held in 1978 led by Turkish Presidency of Religious Affairs. Since then, lunar calendars have been prepared by the cooperative studies of astronomers and Islamic scholars.
In 2018, the 1st day of Ramadan is the 16th of May.