Eid, the moon-sighting dispute in Pakistan and Europe, a self created problem!

Masood Ashar’s column in Jang 7 October 2008



Why is there a difference in sighting the moon crescent?

Muslim and non Muslim astronomers and Muslim scholars have discussed in detail the problems associated in sighting the crescent and numerous conferences have taken place in the UK, U.S.A and certain Muslim countries regarding this issue. A number of formulae or policies have been adopted of which nine are at present being acted upon by the majority of the Muslim population in the UK.

These are described below :-

(1) If any authentic news of the crescent sighting is received from UK or any Muslim country, then it will be acceptable for the next day to be the 1st of the next Islamic month. (This statement is not based on observatory information, due to disbelief in observatory, but the crescent is only seen with the naked eye — stated by Maulana Muhummed Yaqub Miftahi, Central Moon Sighting Committee of Great Britain, London (formaly lived in Blackburn), U.K) To read more and full article please visit www.aslam21c.com.

Note :- A number of Mosques in the UK are applying this formula. It is based on an argument that the prophet (messenger) S.W.W. asked us not to use “Hisab” (calculation) for checking the authenticity of claims. Taking into consideration another saying of Prophet S.W.W. some Muslim scholars have solved the problem by stating that if authentic news of crescent sighting from one place reaches the people of another place then it will be compulsory for them to act on it. Similarly, If the crescent is sighted in the east then it will become compulsory in the west to act upon it and vice versa.

This also favours the policy of having a World Moon Sighting Committee with the head-quarter in Makkah, Saudi Arabia (based on a saying by the messenger(s.w.w) that he(s) loved Makkah and the moon looked beautiful in that part of the world). On the other hand, if the World Moon Sighting Committee decides to choose a different head-quarter it might be acceptable.

(2) On the 29th of each Islamic month, after sunset, if the moon is sighted or any authentic news of the moon is received from any part of the world, then the next day will be the 1st day of the next Islamic month in the whole world. (See leaflet on ‘Unification of the day of fasting and the day of Eid for all Muslims world-wide’ by Omar Bakri Mohummed of Hizb Ut-Tahrir , Khilafah Committee, U.K)

Note :- This policy does not take in to consideration the time zones created by the rotation of the Earth around the Sun, while policy number 1 is based on the condition that the moon sighted or authentic news is received from only Sunset to dawn in any particular country.

(3) On the birth of the moon, after sunset, if the moon is on the horizon according to the UK Royal observatory (Duration of moon after sunset 1 minute or more) then the next day will be the 1st of the next Islamic month.

Note :- Every Mosque in Birmingham and some mosques in other towns and cities are using this policy. According to this policy the actual sighting crescent of the moon is not necessary. (Confederation of Sunni Mosques Midlands, Birmingham, U.K)

(4) UK Ruyiate Hilal Committee (Meeting held on 11 December 1997 at 8:15pm at Tooting Islamic Centre, London).

The Committee decided to follow the formula recommended by the International Islamic Conference of 1984, such as:

i. The determine the 1st of lunar calendar the new moon after its birth should remain on the local horizon even for a short time after the sunset, on the 29th of current month.

ii. If it is not sighted locally, we have to find out whether it was sighted in any Muslim country.

iii. If no such news are received, we have to complete 30 days of the current month.

(Reported by Dr. Mahbub Ahmad, Secretary on 17 December 1997)

(5) On the birth of the moon, after sunset, if the moon is on the horizon according to the UK Royal observatory and information about sighting of crescent is received from UK or nearest Muslim countries, then it will be acceptable for the next day to be the 1st of the next Islamic month.

Note :- Some of the Muslim population in the UK is applying this formula.

(6) On the birth of the moon, after sunset, if the moon is on the horizon according to the UK Royal observatory and any authentic news of the crescent sighting is received on the last day of the Islamic month from the U.K or any Muslim country, then the next day will be accepted as the 1st of the next Islamic month.

Note :- In 1984 ambassadors of all Muslim countries and religious parties signed an agreement to use this formula. The majority of the Muslim population in the UK (we believe) is still applying it. The agreement was broken by certain groups after only two years. The reason for this was that, it was found that the information received from Saudi Arabia and some other states about the crescent sighting was being given even before the birth of the moon according to the Saudi Arabian Royal observatory and UK Royal observatory. The crescent sighting information received from Pakistan and some other countries was sometimes reported 2 or 3 days later. So some religious leaders regarded the news of crescent sighting from Saudi Arabia as being incorrect. But one religious group who wholly believe in whatever Saudi Arabia announces therefore entirely disagreed with the UK Royal observatory information. This caused the unity to break down after only two years.

On the birth of the moon (before sunset) if the moon stays on the horizon for at least 12 minutes after sunset according to the UK Royal observatory and any authentic news of the crescent sighting is received on the last day of the Islamic month from the U.K or any Muslim country, then the next day will be accepted as the 1st of the next Islamic month. (Stated by Chaudhary Abdur-Rahim, U.K Islamic Mission).

Note :- This policy is used by U.K Islamic Mission in preparing an Islamic calendar and also acting on it in many parts of Great Britain.

(8) According to the Royal observatory, On the birth of the moon after sunset, if sighting of crescent is possible with the naked eye then the next day will be the 1st day of the next Islamic month. (Alama Zafar Mehmood Frashwi, Vice President of Ahl-e-Sunnat Wal Jammat, U.K)

Note :- According to this formula sighting of crescent is only possible after 16 hours have elapsed, this is based on the moon being 8 degrees away from the conjunction, a straight line drawn from Earth to the Sun. In other words where conjunction means, an alignment of two celestial bodies in the solar system, usually the sun and a planet, in our case the moon, that occurs when the angular distance between them as seen from Earth (i.e. the angle Moon – Earth – Sun) becomes zero. Also it had been calculated that the Moon travels 1 degree in approximately 1.98 hours anti-clockwise. With the moon being 8 degrees away from the conjunction, it is acceptable that it can be seen with the naked eye. Some religious leaders believe this is in line with the Qur’an and Hadith.

This formula is adopted by majority of the mosques in Rochdale, three major mosques in Manchester and by some mosques in other towns and cities in England and Scotland.

(9) According to the Royal observatory, On the birth of the moon after sunset, if sighting of crescent is possible with the naked eye and If any authentic news of the crescent sighting is received from UK or nearest Muslim countries, then the next day will be the 1st day of the next Islamic month. (Maulana Samir-ud-din of Burnley,U.K)



Uniting Muslims on Eid

Asif Naqshbandi

Trying to solve the moom-sighting controversy in the UK and parts of Europe
As most of us are aware the Muslim Ummah is split into many groups and it is a great tragedy that Muslims are unable to get together even on the occasion of Eid. In the UK we have seen the most confusion
where in the last few years we have seen Ramadhan and Eid being celebrated by different Mosques on different days. So which Mosques and Ulamaa (scholars) are guiding the Muslims correctly and what is the solution?

There are three main groups and opinions;

1.Those who ‘blindly’ follow Saudi Arabia,

2.Those who follow the concept of the birth of the new moon and 3.Those who follow the concept of the sighting/visibility of the new moon.

The correct method is by sighting the moon/crescent i.e. the visible new moon and this is practiced by the mass majority of Muslims all over the world and has been since 1400 years, from when The Prophet (Peace be upon him and his Family) himself established the new month in this way. The reason being is that Allah Ta’la commands the law to us in the Holy Qur’an:
“So he who from amongst you should witness the month should fast it” (Surah al-Baqarah, 185).The term witnessed is used meaning we must sight the moon.
The Islamic Law states if one person (two for Eid) sees the new moon then begin the new month. This is the Sunnah The Prophet left for us and we should not ignorantly jump to other methods.

Blindly following Saudi Arabia

In the UK we have seen that some people follow the Saudi ‘Royal’ family and announce the beginning of Ramadhan and Eid according to them. Islamically this is incorrect for the most important reason that all the evidences clearly state we begin Ramadhan and Eid according to the sighting and visibility of the new moon, not Saudi Arabia. There is not one piece of evidence in the Qur’an or the Hadith or any Islamic book to say we must follow Saudi Arabia, not even in any book published or approved by The Saudi Government. If there is, where is it written?

This problem only exists in the UK and some other countries in Europe. All other Muslim countries do not follow Saudi Arabia but have their own independent moon sighting committees’ who announce Ramadhan and Eid. Are the rest of the World’s Ulamaa wrong and don’t they know how to start the month? Most of the confusion here is caused by those Ulamaa and Mosques who blindly follow Saudi Arabia for political and financial reasons such as Regent’s Park Mosque who some people regard as a central Mosque. There are also other small Mosques who follow Saudi Arabia no matter what the status of the moon, disregarding The Qur’an and The Hadith

We also ask such groups that say not even 1000 years, not even a 100 years, but say 50 years ago how did people all over the world know that Saudi Arabia have announced Eid, What have Muslims all over the world been doing since and have they been wrong for 1400 years?

There can be no greater humiliation for those Ulamaa than the Saudi scholars actually saying themselves not to follow them. When the Permanent Committee for Fataawa were asked that should we begin Ramadhan and Eid when Saudia Arabia do? They stated in their public fatwa (legal verdict) that we should not follow Saudi Arabia and that everyone should begin the new month by sighting the new moon in their country. (Fatawah Islamia, Vol. 2, p113). In the same fatwa they included a reference of their Shaykh-ul-Islam ‘Ibn Thaymiyyah’ stating we should do Eid according to our own country. You should ask those groups why do they follow the Saudi ‘monarchy’. What is the reason?

The Sky is not clear so it is not possible to see the moon with the naked eye.

Particularly in the UK, it is not usually possible to see the moon with the naked eye. The objective and the intention is to start the new month and have the most accurate Islamic calendar possible and the Ulamaa have decided that it is beneficial to use astronomical calculations from The Observatory. It is logic and common sense that Islam allows us to use science and Allah Ta’la says “The Sun and moon follow course exactly”; He also said, “So that you may know the count of years and calculations”. It may be difficult to comprehend today but it was a Muslim scientist named al-Beruni who actually found and started the first observatory. It is not just recently that Ulamaa have acknowledged the Observatory, but leading scholars from the older times such as Imam Sha’fi, Imam As-Subki, Imam Ibn-e-Daqeeq Al’eed and others acknowledged astronomical calculations on this matter. Another important note is that the Ulamaa have personally gone to the observatory’s themselves before making use of them and it is also confirmed that since in use their information has been correct. All Mosques across the UK rely on the observatory for prayer times so for anyone who objects we ask why do they use such calculations for their prayer times? As Muslims we must not remain blind from the knowledge and existence of science, mathematics and other uloom which Allah has given us. Instead we should be using this to prove the truth of our Religion and for the benefit of Muslims to establish the truth and justice, in the way Allah and His Rasool please.

In an authentic Hadith The Prophet (Pbuh) said that the month has either 29 or 30 days and told us this 1400 years ago without the use of any astronomical information or observatory and this is also a challenge to the world’s scientist or anyone who denies The Prophet (Pbuh) had such knowledge to prove even 28 or 31 days in an Islamic month. The Holy Prophet (Pbuh) said:

“And if you see it then fast, and if you see it then break your fast. And if the clouds block then complete the count of 30 days of Sha’baan” (Bukhari Shareef, Muslim Shareef and others)

Islam is a clear and simple religion and a simple method is just to complete 30 days without all the complications. There are those who baselessly argue that at least if the moon cannot be sighted we should follow Saudi Arabia. Why? and even the Saudi Ulemaa said the same in their fatwa; to complete 30 days and they included the same Hadith. (Fataawa Ramadhan – Volume 1, page 56.) Again there is no mention of following Saudi Arabia.

Following the Birth of the New Moon

Another misconception that is important to discuss is the difference between the new moon being born and the new moon being visible. When using astronomical data from the observatory we have seen some groups particularly in Birmingham follow the birth of the new moon, and they have linked with groups who follow Saudi Arabia who find this baseless argument go in their favour as their Eid is usually 1 day earlier. The birth and visibility are two very different factors because the new moon is not visible until its age is at least 20 hours and in many cases even 50 hours after birth (usually when the angle between moon-earth-sun is 12 degrees). When following the observatory we must follow the ‘possibility of visibility’, not the birth.

It is said in The Holy Qur’an “They ask you about the crescent, say these are signs to mark fixed periods of time for mankind and for the pilgrimage (Surah al-Baqarah, 189) In the verse it does not say ‘Mahaaq’ (new born moon), but it says ‘Hilaal’ meaning that new moon which is visible. According to the Quran and the Hadith The Mosques should announce Ramadhan and Eid according to the possibility of visibility of the new moon. In the time of the Sihaba (RA), it is obvious they followed the moon which was visible and not that which was invisible for the basic reason it can not be seen and its initial birth is only told by observatories.

This year Eid-ul-Fitr should be celebrated on Friday 6th December, Insh’Allah. This is because The moon will not be visible anywhere in the world on Wednesday 4th December, the first moment the moon will be become visible is on Thursday 5th December. Also The Hadith based on completing 30 days, further proves Eid to be on Friday. All evidences show Eid to be on Friday and not on any other day. If the Saudi Government and its followers in The UK announce Eid to be celebrated on Thursday, this is totally unIslamic and is against the teachings of the Qur’an and the Hadith; according to the visibility of the moon and also the completing of 30 days, they have only completed 29 days. We ask such Ulamaa not to sell their Imaan to the Saudi’s and have some fear of Allah. They are supposed to follow the Shariah law and teach it, yet they are speaking totally against it. The Muslim community in the UK is requested to follow the right path, to save and protect their worship, and reject all non-Islamic formulas and decisions. When you ask why do those Ulamaa do all this when they know the law, all we can say is that one day they have to answer to Allah Ta’la.


The Crescent Sighting for Ramadhan and Eid – A Self Created Problem by the Muslims for the Muslims

By: Syed Soharwardy

Islamic Supreme Council of Canada (ISCC)

The crescent sighting for Ramadhan and Eid(s) has been a point of dispute among Muslims for a long time. As the Muslims have spread in all parts of the globe including non-Muslim countries this problem has grown many folds. Every time when Eid and Ramadhan come, instead of good wishes and warm feelings among Muslims, a bitter and heated discussions take away the joy of celebration. In one city various Muslim groups start and end Ramadhan on different days. Some times Eid is celebrated in one city on three different days. Why is this happening? Why is it worsening? Can this be solved? Let’s discuss this problem in detail.

Situation in Muslim Countries

Let’s discuss the situation in Muslim countries first. Keeping this problem in mind, we can divide Muslim countries into two categories. Just to avoid any misunderstanding among Muslim brothers and sisters, I will not mention the names of these countries.

First category of Muslim countries include the countries where the form of government is dictatorship (although, the governments of these countries claim that they have democracy in their countries but that claim is false based upon the Islamic principles of government as well as the modern principles of democracy). The government in each country has established a committee. The members of this committee observe the crescent and/or receive the witnesses from the public who might have seen the crescent. After sighting or non-sighting of the crescent, the committee decides the dates for Ramadhan, Eid, Hajj, etc.. and sends the decision to the government, possibly the head of state. The head of state approves the decision and issues a decree OR announcement for Ramadhan or Eid. Everyone in the country accepts the announcement. NO ONE DARE TO DISPUTE THE DECISION. Everyone in the country starts and ends Ramadhan on the same day. Eid-ul-Fitre and Eid-ul-Adhha is celebrated on the same day all over the country. No questions of “firqas” (sects) and “Fiqqas” (jurisprudence) asked.

The second category of Muslim countries are those where restricted democracy prevails. These countries may not be as democratic as Islam requires, but still these countries do not have dictatorships as well. In these countries the governments have more or less the same setup for crescent sighting as in the category 1 but everyone has the right to inquire about the decision and every Imam Masjid can dispute the decision. If the Imam of Mosque or Imams of several Mosques think that the announcement from the government is not correct, they make their own announcement and declare Ramadhan and Eid on different days. This causes differences among Muslims. Some celebrate on government’s announced day. Some celebrate on the day announced by Moulvees (Imams of Mosques). Most often the division gets so deep that the people of one part of the country or people belonging to a specific “FIRQAH” (sect) celebrate on one day and the rest of the people celebrate on the other day. Some time Eid is celebrated on three different days in various parts of the country while the country is not even half the size of State of Texas.

Non-Muslim Countries

Lets discuss the situation in non-Muslim countries and continents, North America, Europe, South and Latin America, Australia etc… In these countries either individual Muslim organizations OR Imams of Mosques make the decision on crescent sighting. We can divide the Muslim organizations OR Imams in non-Muslim countries into five categories.

The first category includes the Muslim organizations or Imams of Mosques those strictly follow the rule of crescent sighting defined by the Messenger of Allah, Muhammad (peace be upon him). The rule is very simple. “When you see the crescent for Ramadhan, you start Ramadhan and when you see crescent for Shawwal you end fasting. If it is cloudy and people are unable to see it, complete thirty days of fasting and then celebrate Eid”.

The second category of Muslim organizations and Imams of Mosques in non-Muslim countries are those follow the scientific / astronomical calculations. They decide Ramadhan and Eid based upon the expected crescent sighting dates. They establish calendar for the entire year and follow their calendar. The Ramadhan and Eid days of their calendar may or may not coincide with the category one group.

The third category is the largest of all groups. In this category organizations and Imams try to combine principles of category one and two as mentioned above. But this causes a problem. Some organizations or individuals give more weight to the sighting of the crescent and less weight to the astronomical calculations, while some organizations and individuals do the opposite. Therefore, no unanimous decision can be made. Various Imams and organizations make their own decisions.

The fourth category of Muslim organizations and Imams ignores the above mentioned both principles and follow the dates for Ramadhan and Eid either of their native countries OR Saudi Arabia. If the crescent has been sighted either in their own country of origin OR in Saudi Arabia, they will accept this crescent sighting for their area of residence and observe Ramadhan OR Eid. They completely ignore the long distances (could be hundreds or thousands of miles) of their native country OR Saudi Arabia from their present place of residence in North America or Europe or Australia etc…

The fifth category of Imams and organizations is that who would take the crescent sighting dates from the nearest Muslim country OR a Muslim country with which they share a portion of night and day. For example Morocco and Spain has little difference in their night and day timings. This decision making is common in Europe. For example, if the crescent has been sighted in Morocco or Algeria the people in France or Spain would also consider this crescent for their area of residence and observe Ramadhan or Eid.

Why this division?

There is no doubt that all these individuals, organizations and Imams have good intentions in their hearts and thoughts. They all know that one-day they will be standing in front of their Lord, Almighty Allah and answering about their decisions. They will be accountable for those decisions. All of them want to unite Muslims not to divide them. But the reality of the matter is that the Muslims are getting more and more divided on this issue.

With all due respect, the root cause of this entire problem / division of Muslims is the false ego and pride of Muslim organizations, Imams of Mosques and religious scholars not ordinary Muslim. Allah says in Qur’an,

” And they became divided only after knowledge reached them – through selfish envy as between themselves” (Surah Al Shura, 42:14)

” And We granted them clear signs in affairs (of religion): it was only after knowledge had been granted to them that they fell into schisms, through insolent envy among themselves. Verily thy Lord will judge between them on the Day of Judgment as to those matters in which they setup differences.” (Surah Al Jathiyah, 45:17)

Some facts

Once a companion of Prophet (Peace be upon him) came in Madinah from a distant village during the period of Muhammad (peace be upon him). When he arrived the Muslims of Madinah were fasting. He told them that he was not fasting because last night, the crescent had been sighted in his village and the people of his village would be celebrating Eid today. Although, he himself was not fasting but he waited till the next day and celebrated Eid with the people of Madinah. This proves the permissibility that far distant cities or villages can have different days of Eid and Ramadhan depending upon the decision made by the authorities of that location.

Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) OR the companions of Muhammad (peace be upon him) never asked that the entire Muslim population of the world should start Ramadhan same day or end same day Or celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr same day. During the Khilfat of Sayyidna Omar Farooq (May Allah be pleased with him) Islam reached far and wide. Did he ever give any instructions to his regional governors to make sure that all the people of their region must celebrate on one day OR they should celebrate when people of Madinah celebrate? No, he never asked.

Don’t we know that Muhammad (peace be upon him) has already given us the principle for starting and ending Ramadhan and Eids? Don’t we think that by deviating from the principle defined by Muhammad (peace be upon him) we are not only creating distortion (Bid’a) in Islam but we are also doing some thing knowingly against the instruction of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him).

The Sources of Dispute

There could be several sources of dispute among Muslims. Some of them are as follows.

Sectarian Differences: The jealousy and sectarian differences of Muslim organizations and Imams are one of the major sources of division among Muslims. We divide Muslims in the name of Islam and Allah in order to protect our control and monopoly over a mosque or a geographical area.

The Information Flow: We know that during the period of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) OR during the period of Companions of the Prophet (May Allah’s blessings upon them) the information flow was extremely slow compare to present days. We now have telephones, TV, Radio, Satellites and above all Internet. We can find out in USA what is happening in Saudi Arabia in real time. These facilities were not available during Prophet’s (peace be upon him) or his companions time. Therefore,, why can’t we use these fast communication systems and follow Saudi Arabia’s crescent in Canada or US? This way the Muslims around the world would be able to celebrate Ramadhan and Eid on same days. Hence expressing Muslim unity.

This intention may be good one but it has not worked. It has divided more Muslims than uniting them. Did we ever think that this is an innovation (Bid’a) too?

Did Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) sent his companions from Madinah to the near by villages or towns informing them that in Madinah crescent has been sighted, you people should also follow us? Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) could have sent his companions within a few hours of horse ride to inform people about the sighting of crescent in Madinah. Certainly, Prophet (peace be upon him) never did this neither his companions. It proves that the information flow from Madinah (now part of Saudi Arabia) to other parts of the world regarding Ramadhan and Eid dates is not required neither desired in Islam. Forcing people in North America, Europe, South America or Australia to observe Ramadhan and Eid on the day when Saudis observe them is an INNOVATION (BID’A) in Islam. It is not a valid Ijtihad. In Canada or USA, do we offer our five prayers based upon the prayer timings of Saudi Arabia. We see the five prayers offered in Makkah or Madinah in real time through satellite in North America but we never follow those timings.

Astronomical Calculations: What about deciding the dates of Ramadhan and Eid by using astronomical calculations? Yes, we may take advantage of these scientific methods but relying completely on these methods alone is not correct. These tools and methods can help us in making decisions.

Influence on Muslims from Non-Muslim Celebrations: We, specially the Muslims living in North America, South America, Europe and Australia have seen the celebrations of non-Muslims. Christmas is celebrated all over the world on the same date. Honneka is celebrated everywhere on the same date. Diwalee date is never disputed. Chinese New Year date……., no problems. Why Muslims have problems with the dates of Ramadhan and Eid celebrations? This is a very good and right question?

When Muslims see Christmas or New Year or New Millennium is celebrated everywhere on the same day, it looks good and it provides a sense of unity among Christians. When Chines celebrate their New Year on the same day it provides sense of unity in their community etc.. etc…

Celebrating Eid on the same day by all the Muslims all over the world will not bring unity among Muslims. It is a wrong, unrealistic and un-Islamic approach. It has divided Muslims than uniting them. Muslims came to this world to impress and influence other cultures and religions NOT to get influenced by them.

What Unites Muslim Ummah?

The love for Allah and His Prophet (Peace be upon him) and constant struggle in the path of Allah. The respect for fellow Muslim’s life, his/her property and his/her rights.

Jokes with Islamic Shari’a

During 1999, in one of the Western Canadian cities, the Imam of a Mosque announced Eid-ul-Fitr on 29th Ramadhan in Jum’a prayer (1:30 PM) because in Saudi Arabia the crescent was sighted and Eid was announced. In year 2000, the same Imam did not follow Saudi Arabia and relied on local crescent sighting, and celebrated Eid on the next day after Saudi Arabia. In 2001, again local crescent sighting was not even considered and the start of Ramadhan was announced at Zohar time. What kind of “FIQAH” (Jurisprudence) is this? Is it a matter of convenience? OR do our Imams make decisions based upon “pressure groups”?

In year (2000), the Imams of Mosques in another Western Canadian city announced for the Eid prayer on 29th Ramadhan at about noon time (no wait for sunset) that the Eid will be tomorrow because Saudi Arabia has announced for Eid on Friday. At the same time these Imams were asking the people to see the crescent in the evening and let them know if they see the crescent. No one saw the crescent (at least to my knowledge) but Eid was celebrated as announced. Is this not a joke with Islam? Why these Moulvees were asking people to see crescent in the evening while they had already made the decision? There are several other horrible jokes which some of our Imams are making with the Shari’a. They do not care to fulfill the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) of crescent sighting? Why bother to look for crescent? May Allah give us refuge from Satan.

A Forgotten Aspect of Crescent Sighting

The predetermination of Ramadhan and Eid dates or following Saudi Arabian or other Muslim country dates has taken away a very important component of Ramadhan and Eid celebrations. That component is Crescent Sighting. Crescent sighting is a part of celebrations. Our new generation born in North America, Europe, Australia etc. does not even know what crescent sighting is? Why is it important?

In Muslim countries on the evening of 29 Sha’ban or 29 Ramadhan all playgrounds, open fields and tall buildings used to get filled with hundreds of adults and children to see the crescent for Ramadhan. OR Shawwal. The jubilant children and adults with anxious eyes, excited and happy used to look for crescent at Maghrib (sunset) time. Each person asking the other have you seen crescent? Have you seen the crescent? If someone would have seen the crescent he used to get very excited, as he is the luckiest and important person among that crowd. People would gather around him and he would point his finger in the direction of the crescent to show the other people where the crescent was? After observing the crescent Muslims used to make du’a. After Maghrib, the children used to rush towards their homes and say Salam to their parents, specially mothers , sisters and grand mothers and tell them their achievement of crescent sighting with pride. The entire family used to celebrate the eve of Ramadhan and Eid(s).

Do we know why have we taken away this Joy and FUN from ourselves and from our children? Imagine the Muslim community in all cities of North America getting-together on the eve of 29th Sha’ban, 29th Ramadhan and 29th Dhulqa’dah in large playgrounds or open fields and celebrating the evenings of these months and looking for crescent. This will be a joyful eve for the entire family and community. It will also expose Islamic traditions to the non-Muslims and above all a fulfillment of our beloved Prophet’s (peace be upon him) Sunnah.

What is the best way for deciding the dates for Ramadhan and Eid?

The best rule for deciding the dates for Ramadhan and Eid is ONLY ONE rule. That is the rule defined by Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him).

Rule: When you see the crescent for Ramadhan, you start Ramadhan and when you see crescent for Shawwal you end fasting. If it is cloudy or people are unable to see the crescent, complete thirty days of fasting and then celebrate Eid.

This crescent sighting must take place in each city, village and town. In non-Muslim countries a committee comprising of Imams of all the mosques with all school of thoughts and other pious Muslim residents should decide the start and end dates of Ramadhan. The entire Muslim community of each city, village and town should participate in crescent sighting exercise. If at least two-trust worthy Muslims of a city or town are able to see the crescent they should testify in front of the committee and committee should decide the dates. If no one from the city or town is able to see the crescent, everyone in the city or town complete thirty days of fasting and then celebrate Eid.

Why the Muslims of North America, Europe, South America, Australia, etc.. can not decide for themselves based upon the local crescent sighting? Allah has already given us Hajj days to be physically, mentally and spiritually in Saudi Arabia. Other than this we should be able to make our decisions based upon the Sunnah of Muhammad (peace be upon him).


Brothers and Sisters, we must go back to the way of Rasool-ullah (sallallaho alaih-e-wasallam). Lets don’t take away the Eibadah (worshipping) and joy of Crescent Sighting from Muslim Ummah. We should make decisions based upon local crescent sighting. May Allah give us the correct understanding of Islam. May Allah help us to be able to recognize and practice the will of Allah and his Prophet (peace be upon him). May Allah make us humble not only in front of Him but also in front of people. May Allah bless us with unity and love for Muslim Ummah. Ameen.

(I have told you what I understood. The right knowledge is with Allah).


Some Comments

c hussain Says:
September 30th, 2008


Why is that in some parts of UK Eid is today while in other parts Eid is tomorrow.

When I was in UK i had noticed that Arabs usually had Eid the first day but Pakistanis ( I dont know why) would tend to celebrate Eid next day.

Why dont we at least unite on one Eid at least.

Adonis Says:
September 30th, 2008

Arabs (mostly salafi arabs) tend to celebrate eid with Saudi Arabia where eid day is determined by the royal court and not by the actual moon sighting.

Pakistanis are overwhelmingly hanafis and according to Fiqh Hanafiya celebrate eid only after moon sighting.

I think that this difference of opinion between different sects is not ideal but still every one has a right to follow the interpretations of their own fiqh. So e should learn to live with different eid days and respect each other.

c hussain Says:


Every year we Muslims become a butt of jokes when the occasion comes regarding moonsighting for Ramadhan and Eid. It usually happens in Pakistan but this year believe it or not we experienced it in Ireland also.

On Thursday at 2 pm a text message was send from Central Mosque in Dublin Ireland to everyone at 2 pm in afternoon that because Ramadhan moon has been sighted therefore the next day meaning Friday was Ist of Ramadhan in Ireland. I am talking about Republic of Ireland or Southern Ireland. In UK and in Northern Ireland which is part of the same island as Southern Ireland the 1st Ramadhan was on Saturday – one day after it was in Republic of Ireland. In Pakistan it was on Sunday. Now can anyone explain to me this one situation that can it happen that the world can experience three different days of a lunar month in three different parts of the world. Yes it is possible two different days but this was totally ludicrous that a small island as Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland should have two different days of Ramadhan and two different days of Eid. This was because a maulvi in Central Mosque Dublin decided to follow a calculation done by an organization in Germany which advised that according to their calculations Ramadhan should be on Friday.

Previously we used to just follow Rejent Mosque in London which is the biggest mosque in UK and it was as simple as that. But now we have made 1 1/2 brick mosque of ourselves.

But I am amazed why cannot we just follow astronomical calcuations because if we go back 1500 years in the days of Holy Prophet peace be upon him – yes at that time the Prophet did prescribe a way and procedure how to announce the start of Ramadhan and Eid. Everyone was to look for moon in evening and if they could see it then the next month would start next day – otherwise the current month would be of 30 days. But if you look at closely why it was done that way – because there were no communication between different places – even those places which were 10 or twenty miles apart could not communicate swiftly and effectly to announce such things. So it was made local. Now we have excellent means of communication and our astronomy has developed beyond any immagination and we can exactly calculate the sightings of the moon for the next 50 years and even more. So why do we have to depend on maulvis insisting on seeing the moon through conventional means especially when we look in the context of the reason why our beloved Prophet had instructed this way.

Even in UK and USA there are two Eids – because there is difference in Muslims all over the world. Why cannot we simply decide to divide the world in two main zones where there is difference of one day but this two day difference cannot happen – as its not possible astronomically. Can you imagine what reason they gave us in Ireland this time when we said how can you announce Ramadhan at 2 pm at noon – they say it has been sighted in Peru. I mean a moon sighted in Peru is important than one sighted in UK.

The maulvis turn everyone crazy because they themselves are crazy. They have made a mess with our religion.



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