Night of doubt 2024: date and explanations of Muslim tradition

When is the “Night of Doubt” this year? The Grand Mosque of Paris has set the date, Ramadan is coming soon.

Night of doubt 2024: date and explanations of Muslim tradition

When is the “Night of Doubt” this year? The Grand Mosque of Paris has set the date, Ramadan is coming soon.

The Night of Doubt must bring together Muslim federations at the Grand Mosque of Paris on Sunday March 10, 2024. Objective: confirm the date of the start of Ramadan, which must begin either Monday March 11 or Tuesday March 12.

The Grand Mosque of Paris has given Muslims an appointment at 6 p.m. for its verdict: observation of the sky will confirm or not the presence of the crescent moon, a sign of the start of the month of Ramadan.

Concretely, the Night of Doubt aims to verify, in addition to astronomical calculations, when the entry into a new lunar month occurs. This therefore applies to the start of Ramadan as well as the end of the “blessed” month.

During Ramadan, one of the pillars of Islam, believers are invited to abstain from drinking, eating, smoking and having sexual relations, from dawn until sunset. Muslims are also invited to pay alms of seven euros per person for the poor, “zakât el-Fitr”.

The Night of Doubt, organized at the Grand Mosque of Paris, is on the 29th day of the current lunar month in the Hijri calendar, and helps determine the beginning and end of a month. The events that are the start of the Night of Doubt and the end of Ramadan for believers in Islam are generally broadcast via the official website of the Grand Mosque of Paris.

The tradition of the Night of Doubt refers to the “hadith,” an oral statement by the Prophet in which he notes: “Fast only when you see the crescent moon, and break your fast when you see it too.” In the Muslim calendar, the "night of doubt" marks the end of a lunar month, and the beginning of the following lunar month. It therefore plays a role both in formalizing the start date of the Ramadan fast, but also in confirming the end date of this "holy month".

This night has deep spiritual importance for practicing Muslims, because it basically marks the beginning of this blessed month. Its name derives from the fact that it determines the official start of Ramadan, the month of fasting and devotion for Muslims around the world. This night is so named because it is the time when religious authorities observe the moon to determine if the lunar crescent, symbol of the start of Ramadan, is visible.

According to Islamic tradition, the Muslim calendar is lunar, based on the phases of the moon. Therefore, observing the new moon is crucial to mark the start of every Islamic month, including Ramadan. The Night of Doubt is therefore dedicated to this observation, where religious scholars scan the sky for the thin crescent moon that will signal the start of the holy month.

The practice of observing the moon during the Night of Doubt has been rooted in Islamic tradition since the earliest times of Islam. Religious scholars and relevant authorities gather at mosques and community centers to monitor the sky after sunset. They scan the horizon for the thin lunar crescent, the appearance of which will determine the official start of Ramadan.

If the crescent moon is seen, it means that Ramadan will begin the next day, and Muslims will begin their month of fasting and prayer. In case the moon is not visible due to weather conditions or other factors, the Night of Doubt continues until the following evening, and Ramadan will begin the following day.

The Night of Doubt has considerable spiritual and communal significance for Muslims. For believers, it embodies the beginning of a sacred month of devotion, reflection and purification of the soul. For many believers, it is a time of anticipation and preparation to begin fasting and devote themselves to more intense religious practice.

The Night of Doubt also strengthens community bonds, as Muslims gather at mosques and Islamic centers to participate in moon sighting together. It is an opportunity for the community to come together, pray together and strengthen their spiritual connection in anticipation of Ramadan.