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Tajikistan's Muslims Not Sure When Ramadan Will End

Tajik Muslims pray in the central mosque of Dushanbe
Tajik Muslims pray in the central mosque of Dushanbe
DUSHANBE -- Muslims in Tajikistan are not certain when Ramadan will end, and whether they must fast on August 30, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Most countries -- including Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf states, and Russia -- will celebrate Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of Ramadan, on August 30.

But Tajikistan's Council of Religious Scholars (Shuroi Ulamoi Islomi) has announced that August 30 is the last day of fasting, and Eid al-Fitr should be celebrated August 31.

Saidmukarram Abdulqodirzoda, the head of the council, told RFE/RL on August 29 that according to Tajikistan's Institute for Astrophysics, the new moon will not be visible from Tajik territory on August 30. For that reason, Abdulqodirzoda said, Tajik Muslims should continue fasting on August 30.

Abdulqodirzoda recalled that when the Prophet Muhammad was still alive, he did not object to different communities celebrating Eid al-Fitr on different dates.

But Zubaydullo Roziqov, the head of the Council of Islamic Scholars of Tajikistan's Islamic Renaissance Party, said Abdulqodirzoda's council reached agreement with the authorities in early August on the date when Eid al-Fitr should be celebrated and now does not dare affirm openly that the date should be changed.

Roziqov predicted that some Muslims will not follow the council's instructions and August 29 will be their last day of fasting, because according to Islamic law people should not fast on Eid al-Fitr.

Roziqov said those believers will not fast on August 30, but will still go to celebratory prayers on August 31 as instructed by the Council of Religious Scholars.