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Nur ar-Ramadan

Azerbaijan to Have First Official Prayers Calendar

By Sa’ad Abdul Majid, IOL Correspondent


The Baku-based Religious Board of Muslims of the Caucasus has endorsed plans to issue an official calendar for prayers for the first time in the history of Azerbaijan.

"This is first time in Azerbaijan’s history to accurately set prayers times during the fasting month of Ramadan and the entire year," the board chairman Sheikh-ul-Islam Allakhshukur Pashazade said statements recently carried by the local newspapers.

He said this will be done in tandem with the country’s metrological authority and after consulting similar prayers times calendars issued by Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iran.

Sources at the metrological organizations also told the local media that 66 people have been installed in different provinces across the country to follow the sunrise and sunset to help accurately determine prayers times.

The new prayers calendar will help astrologers determine the beginning of `Eid Al-Fitr and `Eid Al-Adha in the country, they added.Independence

After long decades under the Soviet communist rule, Azerbaijan won independence in 1991.

The country joined the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) at the end of 1990s.

Under the Soviet rule, mosques were closed down and Muslims were banned from performing prayers in public places or traveling to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj.

However, the Azeri people in rural areas and cities near the Turkish and Iranian borders used to follow the calendar of both countries in defining the beginning of the holy fasting month of Ramadan and other religious occasions.

The same thing continued after independence.

Azerbaijan is a secular state where Muslims make up nearly 93.4 % of the eight million population.