File photo: Muslims try to catch balloons distributed for free after Eid prayer outside al-Seddik mosque in Cairo, Egypt (AP)
In a statement El-Qady said that in Cairo and in all the Islamic and Arab capitals and cities the crescent will not be spotted at sunset on 29 Ramadan – Saturday, 30 April – and hence Monday will be the 30th of Ramadan.
According to Islamic tradition, Eid El-Fitr begins when the new moon can be spotted with the naked eye, indicating the end of the Islamic month of Ramadan, which is either 29 or 30 days long, according to the lunar calendar.
The official announcement is expected to be made by Egypt's Dar El-Iftaa, the main authority responsible for issuing religious edicts, after observing the crescent moon of Shawwal, the 10th month in the Islamic calendar, on 29 Ramadan.
The crescent sighting is a religious ceremony that has been observed by all Muslim countries for centuries. If the crescent is spotted after sunset in any place in the country, this indicates the end of the Holy month.
In recent years, however, many Muslim-majority countries, including Egypt, have been depending on astronomical calculations to define the start of Islamic lunar months, though crescent sighting remains a tradition, especially in Ramadan.
Earlier this week, Egypt's cabinet announced that the period between Saturday 30 April and Thursday 5 May will be a paid holiday, marking both Labour Day, which falls on 1 May, and Eid El-Fitr.
Eid El-Fitr is one of two major religious holidays in Islam, along with Eid El-Adha, which falls on the 10th day of Dhu El-Hijjah, the 12th month in the Islamic calendar.