100 years ago in Saudi Arabia, there were no telephone lines, radio or internet facilities in the city so residents have to wait for the Grand Mufti in the holy city of Mecca to announce the first day of Eid.
Therefore alternatively of radios and telegraphs, camel riders did their best to inform people about Eid’s timings, but sometimes communities get a gap of some hours or even days to celebrate Eid as it was impossible for camel riders to reach all the villages at the same time. Related: Saudis private sector to get 4 days holiday for each Eid
Astronomer Khalid Al-Zaaq reported
“In the past, each village had its own Eid, especially in remote areas during the summer, the difference sometimes exceeded 4 days”
Sometimes when Eid falls around summer season camel riders would find it even more difficult to travel and spread the word that Eid is going to happen on this specific day so eid used to last with 4 to 5 days gap. However, with the passage of time, the process became easy especially after discovering Radio. Read more: History of six doors of Kaaba over 5000 years
“With the radio, the number of days has reduced, although the radio broadcast only reached the main areas and then the Eid announcement was conveyed with camel riders to nearby areas,” explained by the Zaaq.
The contrast between the past and now
- In the old days, the Mutawwa (religious leaders) were the exclusive ones who used to count the days and announced Eid despite the difficulties faced sometimes to see the crescent.
- There are 12 months in the Islamic calendar and during the month of Ramadan, Muslims fast until they see the Eid’s crescent, announcing the coming of the new month of Shawaal when people used to celebrate Eid.
- But Nowadays Muslims can use the telescope to see the Eid’s crescent and spread the news on the telephone and via the internet. presently the process became so simple and clear.
The main reason behind allowing the radio in Saudi Arabia was to share the news of Eid and later on it became one of the most important means of communication between people.