The United Arab Emirates, UAE, launched a unified Hijri calendar ahead of the new Islamic year, the Ministry of Presidential Affairs announced on Monday.
Ahmed Juma Al Za'abi, Deputy Minister for Presidential Affairs, and Chairman of chairman of the Board of trustees of the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Centre, told a press conference today that the unified Hijri calendar was based on Sharia and astronomical principles.
''The project is a result of three years of comparative field studies and review of industry best practices by a group of UAE, Arab and Islamic scholars, and specialists in physics, space and astronomy, specialised committees and work groups,'' he said.
''The project will cover all emirates, taking into consideration sharia conditions and scientific results that affect calculation of prayer timings,'' he stated, while unveiling the Hijri calendar of 1439 at the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
Al Za'abi stressed the importance of the calendar in light of the sea changes whether technological in area of highly accurate astronomical calculations or the increase in the natural, artificial and urban dust and light pollution that led to expansion in both areas and buildings.
''We witness today joint national sharia, astronomical, administrative and coordinating efforts that have produced this achievement in the Hijri calendar calculation field,'' he added.
Dr. Mohammed Matar Al Kaabi, Chairman of the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowments, said the Hijri calendar is important for every Muslim as it sets the time for two of the key pillars of Islam: prayer and fasting of Ramadan.
Chancellor of the University of Sharjah Prof. Hamid Al-Naimiy and Chairman of Arab Astronomical Association, said the calendar, which features timings for prayers and beginnings of Hijri months, had been prepared according to perfect astronomical and physical calculations, taking into consideration physical, aerial, environmental and geographical factors.
''These calculations cover all areas and cities in line with latitude and longitude coordinates and daily sunrise and sunset,'' he explained.