Stop the Deobandi-Barelvi, Shia-Sunni, Pushtun-Punjabi conflict in Pakistan. Stop the Saudi-ization of Eid and Ramadan in Pakistan.
Why can’t Muslims in Pakistan use technology to ascertain the visibility of crescent in the country with naked eye or with telescope.
A good example is the UK’s Royal Observatory.
Quibbling over the moon
Since the idea of different parts of the country observing Eid on different days is not an attractive one, and quite understandably so, it is time we agreed on a single principle to determine the lunar calendar.
EVEN four decades after man landed on the moon, this celestial body has not failed to stir controversy in the Muslim world. In Pakistan it acquires an intensity beyond comprehension. With Islamic religious festivals linked to the lunar calendar and no consensus on the criteria to be adopted in determining the start of a new month, confusion reigns supreme on the occasion of Eid and Ramazan.
This year matters have reached new extremes. NWFP’s local and zonal Ruet-i-Hilal committees have decided to strike out on their own to meet on Saturday — a day before the central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee is to convene — to give a ruling on the sighting of the Shawwal moon. A proposal that Pakistan should follow Saudi Arabia so that the entire Muslim world observes Eid on the same day has also received a nod of approval from the provincial government.
Conventionally, the physical visibility of the new moon has been used to chalk out the lunar calendar. But given the growth in technology this is not enough to ensure uniformity of the calendar because many astronomical factors — the age of the moon, its angle and altitude above the horizon as well as weather conditions, the height and location of the place where the ‘moonsighter’ is positioned — determine the crescent’s visibility. Since the idea of different parts of the country observing Eid on different days is not an attractive one, and quite understandably so, it is time we agreed on a single principle to determine the lunar calendar. Some have found a solution by following Saudi Arabia’s lead (as is the case for Haj) to create a sense of unity and brotherhood in the Muslim world. Others have laid down clear guidelines for the sighting of the new moon. Whatever we choose must have the weight of national consensus behind it.
ملک میں دو عیدیں۔ایک نیا فتنہ، اداریہ نوا ئے وقت
گـزشتہ روز غیرسرکاری رویت ہلاک کمیٹی کے اعلان پر صوبہ سرحد کے پشاور سمیت کئی اضلاع میں عیدالفطر منائی گئی جبکہ سوات،ہزارہ، ڈیرہ اسماعیل خاں اور دیگر کئی مقامات پر غیرسرکاری روایت ہلال کمیٹی کے فیصلے کے برعکس لوگوں نے روزہ رکھا۔ وفاقی وزیر ریلوے غلام احمد بلور اور صوبائی وزیر بشیر بلور نے مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے کردار پر تنقید کی ہے اور کہا ہے کہ دنیا کے 70 فیصد ممالک میں عید سعودی عرب کے ساتھ منائی جاتی ہے۔ مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے چیئرمین پنجاب کی کمیٹی کے چیئرمین بن کر رہ گئے ہیں۔
پاکستان کے راسخ العقیدہ مسلمانوں کی دیرینہ خواہش رہی ہے کہ عیدین کے اجتماعات قومی وحدت کا مظہر اور مسلمانوں کی عظمت کے آئینہ دار ہوں۔ ماضی میں عید کے موقع پر مختلف علاقوں میں الگ الگ عیدیں منانے کی وجہ سے جو اختلافات سامنے آئے انہیں مدنظر رکھ کر تمام مذہبی مسالک کے علماء کے مشورے اور ارکان پارلیمنٹ کی سوچ بچار کے بعد مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کا قیام عمل میں آیا جس میں نہ صرف تمام مکاتب فکر کی نمائندگی ہے بلکہ جدید تعلیم یافتہ افراداور ماہرین فلکیات کوبھی کمیٹی کا حصہ بنایاگیا ہے اور رویت ہلال کمیٹی کی تشکیل کے بعد بہت کم مواقع پر اختلاف سامنے آیا ہے لیکن گزشتہ کچھ عرصہ سے صوبہ سرحد کی حکومت سیاسی وجوہات اور بعض علماء کرام مسلکی اختلافات کی بناء پر مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے وجود کو تسلیم کرنے اور اس کی طرف سے چاند نظر آنے کے اعلان کو پورے ملک کیلئے واجب الاتباع قرار دینے پر تیار نہیں اور اس سال تو حکومت سرحد نے غیر سرکاری رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے فیصلے کے مطابق پورے صوبے میں اتوارکے روز عیدالفطرمنانے کا فیصلہ کرکے عملاً باقی تین صوبوں اور صوبہ سرحد کے بعض اضلاع سے الگ عید منانے کی روایت کا آغاز کردیا ہے اور رویت ہلال کی شہادتوں کے بجائے سعودی عرب کی طرف سے اعلان عید کو پورے پاکستان بلکہ پوری دنیا کیلئے قابل تقلید قرار دے کر ملک میں نیا تفرقہ پیدا کردیا ہے۔
پوری قوم کی یہ خواہش ہے کہ عیدین ایک ہی روز منائی جائیں لیکن اس مقصد کیلئے شرعی تقاضوں کو ملحوظ رکھنا بہرحال ضروری ہے محض کسی مخصوص علاقے یا گروپ کی خوشنودی کیلئے مسلمانوں کو روزے جیسی عظیم نعمت سے محروم کرنا زیادتی ہے جبکہ روایت ہلال کے ضمن میں سعودی عرب کی پیروی کرنااس لئے مشکل ہے کہ ایک تو پاکستان اور سعودی عرب کا مطلع مختلف ہے دونوں میں تین گھنٹے کا فرق ہے سعودی عرب میں افطار اور نماز مغرب کے وقت پاکستان میں نماز تراویح بھی پڑھی جا چکی ہوتی ہے جبکہ بلور برادران کی منطق کے مطابق اگر پوری دنیا میں سعودی عرب کے ساتھ عید منانے کی رسم ڈالی جائے تو امریکہ اور یورپ کے کئی ممالک میں نماز عید نماز عشاء کے ساتھ ادا کرنی پڑے گی۔ ملک میں پہلی بار نماز عید اور رویت ہلال کے خالص شرعی معاملے میں صوبائی تعصب کو بھی ہوا دی گئی ہے اور ہزارہ سے تعلق رکھنے والے مولانا مفتی منیب الرحمن کو پنجاب کی کمیٹی کا چیئرمین قرار دیکر اسے کالا باغ ڈیم کی طرح ایک علاقائی، صوبائی اور نسلی مسئلہ بنانے کی کوشش کی گئی ہے جسے نرم سے نرم الفاظ میںانتہائی افسوس ناک قرار دیا جائیگا۔
بلور برادران معلوم نہیں پنجاب سے اتنے الرجک کیوں ہیں کہ ایک خالص شرعی معاملے کو بھی جو بنیادی طور پر علماء کرام اور ماہرین فلکیات کو طے کرنا چاہئے صوبائیت کی عینک سے دیکھنے لگے ہیں حالانکہ نوّے کے عشرے میں وہ میاں نوازشریف کے شردھالو اور ان کی حکومت میں شریک رہے ہیں اب بھی بلور صاحبان کا دور ہ لاہور رائیونڈ حاضری کے بغیر مکمل نہیں ہوتا، پیپلز پارٹی کی سیکرٹری اطلاعات فوزیہ وہاب نے درست کہا ہے کہ رویت ہلال کے مسئلہ پر سیاسی خلفشار پھیلایا جا رہا ہے اور قومی وحدت کو پارہ پارہ کرنے کیلئے عیدالفطر کے مقدس تہوار کو استعمال کیا گیا ہے حیرت انگیز بات یہ ہے کہ پشاور کی غیر سرکاری رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے اعلان کو صوبہ سرحد کے بیشتر اضلاع میں تسلیم نہیں کیا گیا جس کا مطلب ہے کہ وہاں کے عوام اور علماء کرام غیر سرکاری رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے فیصلے اور کردار سے متفق نہیں البتہ گورنر، وزیراعلیٰ، دیگر عمائدین اور سرکاری عہدیداروں نے غیر سرکاری رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے فیصلے کے مطابق نماز عید ادا کرکے اس کمیٹی کو سرکاری درجہ دیدیا۔
یہ صورتحال مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے علاوہ وفاقی حکومت اور پارلیمنٹ کیلئے لمحہ فکریہ ہے یہ ماضی میں رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے بعض فیصلوں کا ردعمل بھی ہے اور اس کے کردار کو سائنسی انداز میں ازسرنو متعین کرنے کی ضرورت کا متقاضی بھی۔ سائنس و ٹیکنالوجی کے موجودہ دور میں جب عشروں بعد سو رج گرہن اور چاند گرہن کی پیش گوئی ممکن ہے اور سعودی عرب کے علاوہ ایران اور کئی دیگر مسلم ممالک میں رویت ہلال پر کبھی تنازعہ کھڑا نہیں ہوا پاکستان میں ہر سال ملک میں دو دو اور بسا اوقات تین روز عید منانے کے واقعات افسوس ناک ہیں اس سے پاکستان دنیا میں مذاق بنتا ہے اور عیدین کے تہوار وحدت ملی کے بجائے انتشار اور افتراق کا سبب بن جاتے ہیں اسی انتشار کی وجہ سے مسلکی اور علاقائی تعصبات کو ہوا ملتی ہے اور دین بیزار عناصر کو اہل مذہب بالخصوص علماء کرام پر طعنہ زنی کا موقع ملتا ہے اس لئے رویت ہلال کمیٹی کی تشکیل نو کرکے اس میں ہر مسلک کے معتبر اور جید علماء کرام کے علاوہ سائنس و تکنیکی علوم بالخصوص فلکیات کے ماہرین کو شامل کیا جائے۔ رویت ہلال کیلئے جدید سائنسی و تکنیکی آلات اور تحقیقات سے استفادہ کیا جائے اور شہادتوں کے حصول کیلئے بھی زیادہ سے زیادہ سہولتیں فراہم کی جائیں تاکہ پاکستانی قوم ایک ہی دن روزہ رکھنے اور عید منانے کے ساتھ ملی وحدت اور قومی شان و شوکت کا اظہار کرسکے۔ یہ عوام کا حق ہے کہ وہ ایک ساتھ روزے رکھیں، عید منائیں اور خوشی کے موقع پر کسی کو بدمزگی پیدا کرنے کا موقع نہ ملے
پاکستان میں ایک بار پھر دو عیدیں
مسجد قاسم علی خان میں صوبائی سینئر وزیر بشیر بلور نے بھی شرکت کی
صوبہ سرحد کی حکومت نے ایک مرتبہ پھر بعض علماء کو مرکز کے ساتھ عید منانے پر مجبور کرنے کی بجائے آسان راستہ اپناتے ہوئے ان ’گنے چنے علما کے سامنے ہتھیار ڈالتے‘ ہوئے ان کے اعلان پر آج اتوار کو عید منا لی ہے۔
’اتحاد بین المسلمین‘ کا نعرہ اس مرتبہ پھر مسجد قاسم علی خان کے کل سنیچر کی رات کے اعلان سے پارہ پارہ ہوگیا۔ مسجد کے مہتمم مفتی شہاب الدین کے اعلان سے واضح ہوگیا کہ وہ اپنی سال ہا سال سے جاری روش تو ترک کرنے پر ہرگز آمادہ نہیں تاہم اس مرتبہ صوبائی حکومت کو بھی ساتھ ملانے میں کامیاب ثابت ہوئے ہیں۔ ان کا پیغام آسان اور صاف تھا: ’کوئی مانے یا نہ مانے ہم تو عید اپنی مرضی سے منائیں گے۔‘
لیکن سنیچر کی رات مسجد قاسم علی خان میں مختلف مکاتب فکر کے علماء کے اجلاس کی سب سے حیران کن بات اس میں صوبائی سینئر وزیر بشیر بلور، وزیر اطلاعات میاں افتخار حسین اور وزیر مذہبی امور نمروز خان کی شرکت تھی۔
خیال تھا کہ صوبائی حکومت کے یہ تین نمائندے مسجد قاسم علی خان کے علماء کو اس بات پر مجبور کرنے کی کوشش کریں گے کہ وہ عید مرکز کے ساتھ ایک دن منائیں لیکن وہ منوانے کی بجائے ان کی مان کر نکل آئے۔ ایک غلطی کو درست کرنے کی بجائے انہوں نے بہتری اسی میں جانی کہ اس غلطی کو ہی گلے لگا لیں۔
صوبائی حکومت کے گھٹنے ٹیکنے کی بڑی وجہ اس کی عوامی حمایت کا ایسے علاقوں میں ہونا ہے جہاں عید حکومتوں کے کہنے پر نہیں بلکہ اپنے علماء کے حکم پر منائی جاتی ہے۔ یہی وجہ ہے کہ وزیر اعلٰی امید حیدر خان ہوتی نے عید مرکزی حکومت کے ساتھ منانے کی بجائے اپنے انتخابی اور آبائی علاقے کے ساتھ منانے میں غنیمت جانی۔
سرحد حکومت کی عید سعودی عرب کے ساتھ منانے کی چند روز قبل سامنے آنے والی تجویز کو مرکز کے علماء نے بھی آڑے ہاتھوں لیتے ہوئے مسترد کر دیا تھا۔ یہ بھی شاید کوئی اعلٰی اور بہتری تجویز نہ ہو لیکن کم از کم دیگر کئی ممالک کی طرح اس کے ذریعے مسلمان ایک سالانہ تنازعے سے چھٹکارا پاسکتے ہیں۔
رمضان اور عید الفطر کے موقع پر ملک میں علماء کے دو واضح گروپس سامنے آچکے ہیں۔ ایک مسجد قاسم علی خان ’فینامینہ‘ اور دوسرا مرکز کے وہ علماء جو سرحد کی رویت کے معاملے پر کسی بھی تجویز کو قبول کرنے کو اپنی شاید ’بےعزتی‘ تصور کرتے ہیں۔ ایسے موقف کے درمیان اس سال بھی عید کا ان جید علماء کے ہاتھوں وہی حشر ہوا جو کئی دہائیوں سے ہوتا آ رہا ہے۔
تاہم مرکزی حکومت کی رٹ کی کمزوری کا یہ عالم کہ وہ ایک صوبے کو اور سرحد حکومت کی رٹ کا یہ عالم کہ سوات اور لوئر دیر کی ضلعی رویت ہلال کمیٹیوں نے ان کا اعلان ماننے سے انکار کر دیا ہے۔ انہوں نے اعلان کیا ہے کہ یہ دو اضلاع مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے اعلان پر ہی عید منائیں گے۔ اس کے علاوہ صوبہ سرحد کے وفاقی حکومت کے ملازمین کے علاوہ ایک اقلیت ایسی بھی ہے جو عید مرکز کے ساتھ ہی مناتی ہے۔
مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے سربراہ مفتی منیب الرحمان نے سرحد حکومت کے اتوار کو عید منانے کے فیصلے کو مسترد کرتے ہوئے کہا ہے کہ اسے دینی معاملات میں مداخلت کے نتائج بھگتنا پڑیں گے۔
مفتی منیب الرحمان نے جو آج مرکزی رویت ہلال کمیٹی کے اجلاس کی صدارت کریں گے کہا کہ وہ اور صوبہ سرحد کے اسی فیصد عوام سرحد حکومت کے غیر شرعی فیصلے کو تسلیم نہیں کرتے۔ ان کا کہنا تھا کہ یہ پہلی صوبائی حکومت ہے جس نے دینی معاملے میں مداخلت کی ہے۔
رویت کے قضیے پر ایک بات پھر واضح طور پر ثابت ہو کر سامنے آئی ہے۔ رمضان کی عبادات کا شکر مل کر اتفاق و اتحاد کا نمونہ بن کر ادا کرنے کی بجائے ’نا کسی کی مانیں گے یا منوائیں گے‘ کے اصول کے تحت منائی جا رہی ہے۔
The reality of moon-sighting in Makkah (By Sardar Ahmed Qadri)
|‘Fasting begins only after moon sighted’
|MAKKAH: The Saudi Council of Senior Scholars has rejected the demand that the beginning and end of lunar months should be determined on the basis of astronomical calculations.
“Shariah does not accept astronomical calculations based on mathematical computing as the basis for the beginning and ending of Ramadan,” said Abdul Aziz Al-Asheikh, grand mufti of Saudi Arabia and chairman of the council.
“If anyone doubts our moon-sighting, fasting and feasting, it betrays his weak faith and defective perception,” the grand mufti, who is head of the Administration of Research in Religious Sciences and Fatwa said. He cited a Hadith of the Prophet (peace be upon him) which says, “You start fasting when you see (the moon) and stop it when you sight (the next moon) and when it is hidden by clouds, complete (30 days of) fasting.”
The grand mufti added that it is obligatory on the Muslims to start fasting when any Muslim known for his honesty and healthy eyesight claims to have sighted the new moon. This is the practice in the Kingdom, he said, dismissing suggestion that Muslims may depend on astronomical calculations to begin fasting in Ramadan and celebrate Eid.
It is the Supreme Judicial Council that announces the sighting of the new moon to mark the beginning of Rajab (seventh month of the Islamic calendar), Shaaban (the month preceding Ramadan), Ramadan, and the three months following it, Al-Madinah newspaper reported.
The senior scholars’ council concluded a series of discussions on the issue and came to the conclusion on Tuesday that sighting of the moon should be the basis of a month’s beginning though three of its members supported the idea of depending on astronomical calculations.
Meanwhile, Saudi astronomer Jabar Al-Doussary said religious scholars and astronomers should settle their dispute on the moon-sighting issue.
“Nothing but the astronomical calculations confirm the sighting of the moon in a convincing manner. The calculations are made not for a day or a month but for thousands of years. Even the viewing through observatories is based on such calculations,” the astronomer said.
Khaled Al-Zuaq, member of the Arab Federation of Space Sciences and Astronomy stressed the need for a meeting of astronomers and religious scholars to bring an end to the row over moon-sighting and avoid errors.
“The present method of confirming moon-sighting has created confusion that can be removed easily by adopting scientific methods,” he said. A 15-member panel from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, the UAE and Bahrain had decided two years ago to launch an Islamic satellite, which would be used for sighting moon. (Arab News)
Moon visibility curves for Friday, November 12, 2004. Definitely no moon in Saudi Arabia..
The moon would have been visibile Saturday, 13 November..
As I child, I used to listen to the grown ups in our family argue endlessly about when the Eid Al Fitr (marking the end of Ramadan fasting) is supposed to start. Being based on a lunar calendar, Islamic months are more difficult to determine than the Gregorian months. These arguments are repeated in EXACTLY the same manner every year. The same clichés, the same points and counterpoints. It’s almost like the Groundhog Day movie (where the guy always wakes up on the same day).
Yesterday night the fiasco repeated itself again. Saudi Arabia declared that Eid was Saturday. My wife an I were walking downtown and went into a shop to buy a soft drink when we heard the Jordanian Mufti on a small black and white TV announcing that Eid in Jordan was Sunday. At home later in the evening, my father in-law called from Germany perplexed. Half of Germany ended up celebrating Eid Saturday and the half will celebrate tomorrow.
Just across the River Jordan, in Palestine Eid was celebrated Saturday. What a mess!
I have always been convinced that this is a matter where science can help. Of course, the religious authorities have a million opinions on utilizing science to determine the appearance of the moon. Waiting until they agree can take another century or so.
So to cut a long story short, I did my own Internet research on the matter. Here are the results (I wont go into the details of all the arguments, because, honestly, the whole thing just gets on my nerves):
1. Jordan’s announcement that Eid is on Sunday was correct. TheJordanian mufti said that the moon did not show up, which is in line withthe calculations. At the very least one can be confident that,scientifically, there is NO WAY someone saw the crescent in Saudi ArabiaFriday night. Go to Moonsighting.com and see for yourself. The site’s publishers use a software package called MoonCalc (programmed byUK-based Dr Monzur Ahmed) The new moon, although “born” Friday night, could not have been seen anywhere on earth (with the exception of a possibility of sighting in some Polynesian Islands!!).
2. Just for your general knowledge, a new moon can indeed be seen in one zone of the earth but not another. Remember we live on a rotating sphere. See the screenshots of MoonCalc and you’ll get a better idea aboutthe science of moonsighting.
OK. Now the interesting dilemma for observing Muslims is the following: Who’s announcement to follow. One side of the argument assumes that the “Muslim Nation” is one nation. And when the moon is sighted anywhere in the world by any Muslim, the whole Muslim nation should break the Ramadan fast. Well, that would be great. That would be the end of the endless arguments every year!
Just one note: no claim of a moonsighting should be accepted if itSCIENTIFACALLY IMPOSSIBLE. OK?
That would be the “ideal situation”. But the reality is that the “Muslim Nation” is, in fact, NOT one nation. On the contrary consists of many, many countries and Muslim communities in non-Islamic countries. If a Muslim in Jordan was to follow the announcement of Saudi Arabia that Eid was today, Saturday 13 November 2004, what was she or he to do? Go to Eid prayers alone? Or perhaps visit relatives expecting to be served Ma’mul? Or maybe go and have Eid lunch? HELLO?
I am sure the religious arguments about this issue can go on forever. The two solutions are clear: Either each country (and Muslim community) announces Eid on its own, or, by some miracle, All Islamic authorities agree on a common date (that at least does not contradict science).
Happy Eid everyone! (Source)
Fatawa on errors in following Saudi moon sighting
lørdag 27. juni 2009 13:53 |
Hazrat Maulana Mufti Rasheed Ahmed Ludhyanwi (RA)
…It is not known that the number of people sighting the moon in Saudia is of satisfactory quantity. The decision of the Saudi government is not only against the established principles of the Hanafi Fiqh, it is also against common sense therefore it is not applicable to Pakistan. The sighing of a large body is a condition within the Hanafi Fiqh when the horizon is clear however the Saudi government often decides Ramadhan on a single witness and Eid and Dhul-Hijjah on a minimum of two witnesses…(Ahsanul-Fatawa, Volume4/Page 417)
Hazrat Maulana Mufti Rasheed Ahmed Ludhyanwi (RA) subsequently wrote a letter to the responsible officials in the Saudi government regarding this matter and was not satisfied with the reply. He (RA) wrote, “I had clearly stated my reasons for claiming that your criteria for moon sighting are against the obvious; however I have not received a reply. The reasons quoted previously are as follows:
1. It is unusual in case of clear horizons for just a few people in the entire country to sight the crescent
2. General sighting is not even observed on the 2nd day of sighting i.e. masses are unable to see the moon even on the 2nd day)
3. Full moon should be observed on the 14th or the 15th, however according to your sighting it is usually viewed on the 16th or the 17th
4. It is impossible to sight the crescent on the day (or even a day after) when the moon is sighted in the east at dawn since the moon sets before the sunset in those days. However the Saudi government announces moon sighting sometimes on the very same day when the moon is sighted in the east at dawn
5. Moon is not sighted elsewhere after the sighing in Saudia even in the west of Saudi Arabia
6. The first day of the moon (birth) is been often declared the first of the Islamic month, which is illogical because it would mean that the moon can be sighted before its birth (Ahsanul-Fatawa, Volume4/Page 418)
Question: You will be well aware of the controversies regarding the sighting of the moon here in the UK. For a period of time our respected scholars and the representatives of the esteemed institute of Deoband followed the authentic sightings of Morrocco considering it as a nearby country, which is in accordance with the Shariah and the Hanafi school of thought.The only setback was that occasionally the news of sighting the moon was delayed to an extent that on one occasion we fasted on not hearing any news about the moon being sighted, only to find out later on that day that it was sighted, therefore the fast was broken and Eid celebrated.
The individuals who were responsible for the research of the moon sighting should have calmed down the situation and rebuilt confidence in the general community, but instead, they went running around to and fro, to Darul Iftaa’s around the globe to get a fatwa issued so that following Saudi’s sightings would be made permissible. They published such fatwa extensively creating an atmosphere that following Saudi’s sighting was the only permissible way and that it was wrong to follow Morocco. When in reality the outcome of these fatwas was to grant some flexibility in times of difficulty. Granting flexibility under temporary circumstances and issuing verdicts for permanent situations are separate matters altogether.
This all lead to a confusion resulting with a group of people trying to instigates Saudi’s observations and contrary to this, some scholars eager to follow the righteous path, who were never satisfied with the Saudi observations. As time passed Saudi sightings were proved wrong on many occasions.
If the Saudi observations had been correct, there would not have been any controversy at all. But time and time again Saudi has proved itself incorrect. The evidence is that on many occasions Saudi announces the sighing of moon, when not a single person sights the moon in any part of Asia or Africa where the horizon is mostly clear as well. What’s more is that there is no sighting of the moon in any part of America, Canada or West Indies where the sun sets eight hours after Saudi; and the crescent has grown much bigger.
For instance, this Shawwal 1423H on Wednesday evening Saudi made an announcement for Eid and a large number of Muslims here in the U.K. celebrated Eid on the following day whereas Muslims were fasting America, Canada, Panama, and Barbados and they celebrated Eid on Friday. This episode repeats itself nearly every year.
The purpose of putting this in writing is so that we ponder over the problems and dilemmas that are arising as a result of these premature Saudi announcements and to rectify the situation (if possible).
The following problems will arise whenever Saudi will make a premature announcement:
1. Keeping a fast of Ramadhan in Sha’ban, which contradicts the Hadeeth as well as misleads people into thinking that it is a fast of Ramadhan when in reality it is not
2. Changing a day or two of Sha’ban into Ramadhan, which contradicts the verse of Qur’an in which the people of the days of ignorance were prohibited from changing the names of the months. They used to change the name of the month according to their likings.
3. Celebrating Eid in Ramadhan
4. Omitting a fast of Ramadhan, when all are equally compulsory
5. Changing Ramdhan into Shawwal, which is forbidden as above
6. Many pious people start the six fasts of Shawwal straight after Eid and under such circumstances they would be fasting on the day of Eid which is in complete contradiction with the Hadeeth
7. It is understood from many books of Fiqh that any form of Ibaadah is not acceptable before the due time, but is accepted if it is performed later than schedule time due to any valid excuse and the responsibility of fulfilling that ibaadah is discharged. For example praying Zuhr Salaah 2 minutes before Zawal will not be accepted under any circumstances at all. But if it was prayed late close to Asar time, it would be accepted and no sin committed if there was a valid excuse. Similarly, Qurbani can be made on the eleventh or twelfth if it is not made on the tenth but under no circumstances can it be made on the ninth of Zil-Hijjah. It is the same command for fasting and Eid. If fast or Eid is celebrated before time it will not be accepted, but if for any reason there is a delay because the sighting of the moon cannot be clarified then this Ibaadah will be accepted and the responsibility discharged
8. How is it possible that when-ever Saudi makes a hasty announcement of the moon sighting, it is not visible in Asia, Africa, or any other western countries even though they have a clear horizon. How can it be possible that the moon is sighted at sunset time in Saudia and 8 hours later it cannot be seen in America, Canada or the West Indies? The problem has occurred many times as well as this year. Therefore, this itself weakens the claims of the Saudi observations
9. It is stated in a Hadeeth from which we can understand that we should stop and start fasting in accordance with the moon sighting complete 30 days of Sha’ban if moon sighting is not possible due to distorted visibility If we look at reality, we have left the practice upon this Hadeeth. What, don’t we have permission to keep complete 30 days of Sha’ban or Ramadhan? Don’t we have the flexibility to wait instead of jumping to conclusions and acting upon Saudi’s hasty sighting where there is a great possibility of our Ibaadah not being accepted because it is done before due time? We should therefore act only upon such verdicts that save us from ruining our Ibaadah.
10. From a Hanafi point of view, a single trustworthy person’s sighting is accepted for fasting, but for the sighting of Eid, it is important for a large group of people to give evidence of the moon being sighted. A number of people upon whom others have confidence and satisfaction. Whereas according to them (the Saudi) one or two persons sighting is accepted for Eid.
11. There has always been an atmosphere of controversy, confusion and argument amongst the Scholars and the general community whenever Saudi has made hasty announcements about the sighting and whenever they complete 30 days there is peace and satisfaction amongst the Muslim community. Our elders have always had doubts and suspicions regarding the Saudi announcements. If their dates were accepted to be accurate then Pakistan, India etc. would be under more obligation to follow them because they are more closer to Saudi than U.K. Hakeemul Ummah Sheikh Thanwi (RA) has stated and which is mentioned in Fatawa Raheemiyah at the end of volume seven, that if the observation of Saudi is proved to be accurate then the Muslims of India should follow Saudi. This was said approximately 60-70 years ago when in reality this has not been acted upon since, when there is only the Arabian Gulf separating the Indian sub-continent from Saudi and there is not much time difference between them as well.
12. If Saudi observation is followed blindly, people will avoid consulting the learned scholars and the responsible authorities. The sources of media are so advanced that people can learn the news of the moon sighting through telephone, T.V. and satellite and many a time they start to spread the news by making their announcements before sunset. In future if this continues, then people will not wait for the announcement to be made from their local Mosques and it will be impossible to act contrary to these hasty announcements.
These are some major problems that have been created by acting upon premature announcements of the moon sighting. What is happening in this country is that scholars of all different schools of thought are constantly trying to figure out a solution for this great crisis, but unfortunately a great majority of our scholars following the Deobandi school of thought are sleeping with a content mind deceptively assured that what was made permissible for certain circumstances under temporary conditions can be made practical in all situations, even though we have understood hasty actions can ruin our Ibaadah whereas delaying does not.
Alhumdolillah, a number of people who take interest in knowledge and research including our up and coming generations of Muslims here in the U.K. who hold great knowledge and are fluent in English, understand the weaknesses of Saudi observations.
At the moment in time, what we need is for the local scholars to sit down and acknowledge the weakness of these premature announcements and the problems that are arising from them. The general public still awaits for the correct announcements to be made. It would prove to be a great step in the right direction even if there is a single scholar in each locality who takes up the responsibility of explaining to the community the reality of these hasty announcements.
The scholars of truth have always had a habit of not being afraid of speaking the truth regardless of any opposition. I have firm and full belief through my knowledge and experience that the general community possesses the capability to accept these changes because they are in view of the problems and weaknesses created by the Saudi premature announcements. If it is done with great wisdom, by pointing out the errors and respective corrections, through lectures or private gatherings, there will be no sign of any uproar or aggression. May Allah grant us all the ability to rectify and correct (Ameen).
Answer: “I have studied your queries very attentively. It has been written from here in the past that announcements should be made for the sighting of the moon, based on information of sightings from your close country. It is incorrect to make announcements of Eid and Ramadhan by following Saudi for the sake of ease. Even if a fatwa has been obtained for this purpose, it is against the principles of Shariah. There is a far greater distance between Britain and Saudi whereas Morocco is a lot closer to Britain. To abandon a close country’s sightings and to accept Saudis sighting, is in contradiction with the principles of Fiqh. Thereafter considering the state of Saudi observations and the difficulties that are arising from them, which you have written and attention towards; no decision should be ever made blindly in accordance with the Saudi observations. You should enforce with full strength the practice of following Morocco sightings. This is the closest to the truth.”
Allah Knows Best.
Mufti Habibur Rahman
Mufti Darul-uloom Deoband
18th of Safar 1424 AH”
The Answer is correct!
Hazrat Maulana Kafeelur-Rahman Nishat
Hazrat Maulana Mufti Zafeeruddin
Hazrat Mufti Muhammed Abdullah
The answer is correct and in accordance with the principles of Shariah. The countries closer in distance should be considered where there isn’t a lot of difference between sunrise and sunset times.”
Mufti Muhammed Tahir Mazahirri
Mufti Mazahirul-uloom Saharunpur
1st of Sha’aban 1424 AH”
Madrasad Islamic Taleemud Deen Dhabail, Gujarat:
“I also fully agree with the answer.”
Mufti Ahmed Khan Puri
Madrasa Islamia Taleemud-Deen Dhabail”
Hazratjee Maulana Inamul Hasan (RA):
Bangla Wali Masjid
15 Shabaan 1407
15 April 1987
Dear Hafiz Patel Sahib and other members of the Shuraa and all the responsible brothers of this work of Dawah.
السلام عليكم ورحمة الله وبركاته
The blessed month is coming close. On this occasion there has been a long controversy in regards with the sighting of the moon. Ramadhan Mubarak and the Eids are the fundamental basis of Islam. We need to be very cautious and fearful in this matter because making right or wrong judgement can lead the whole country in the right or wrong direction.
On these occasions the responsible brothers have a very grave duty upon them, especially when people are relying on them heavily due to the great effort of this work people throughout the country accept their decisions. It is very clear and evident in the Qur’an regarding the cycles of the moon and sun… الشمس والقمر بحسبان الخ It is possible to find errors in the calculations of the humans but there is no flaw in the calculations of the creator.
The English dates that are set by the experts of this field are possible dates of sighting the moon. We do not have to trust them but staying within the bounds of Shariah if there is any sighting of the moon then Ramadhan and Eid will commence or else it will be the following day without doubt. This is no innovated system but this is practiced all over the place and neither does anyone have any objections about it. Wherever the horizon is clear and there is a sighting of the moon on that date it is brought into action and if not then it is without doubt the following day.
Now what is left is that when, claims of moon sighting is made even before there is any slightest possibility of sighing. There is no credit given to this type of claims and it is against the actions of Jamhoor Ulama as well. To be cautious in regards with this matter, we can take calculations from experts in the Astronomical field which will include Muslims and non-Muslims. From our point of view we consider Dr Ilyas of Malaysia as a Muslim expert in this field.
Assistance can be taken from the Nautical Almanac Office of England. If their calculated dates turn out to correct then it will be understood that there was possibility of sighting the moon on that date and if there was no Shar’ee sighting of the moon on that date then the following date will be considered as definite. It is not hidden from you brothers that expert astronomers calculate the dates of solar and lunar eclipses many years beforehand and thousands of people visibly experience these eclipses on these dates where there are clear skies. Similar is the situation of sighting of the moon with more or less a difference of one day.
Therefore on such occasions where their dates are not accepted to be exact, at the same time you cannot completely reject their calculations. Instead, whilst staying within the bounds of Shariah, advantage should be taken of their calculations.
From: Hadharat Jee
Written by: Raheem Dadkhan
Note; Three, four copies of this issue have been sent to different members of the Shuraa. It should be read in front of all members of the Shuraa incase anyone does not get a copy of it
Jamia Islamia Binori Town, Karachi:
Therefore in the following circumstances it is necessary for the Muslims in England to follow Morocco or Algeria whichever is closer to England. It is not permissible to follow Saudia, Pakistan or any other country which is far from England.”
Written by Mufti Abdul-Kareen Deenpuri
21st of Ramadhan 1424”
Jamia Khairul Madaris, Multan
We have learned from very reliable sources that the thirty two years Saudi Calendar has been set according to Greenwich (London) and the announcements for Eid, Ramadhan are made according to it and not according to moon sighting or by following principles laid down in the Islamic Shariah. A basic proof of this fact is the statements made in the forward of Saudi Calendar.
The second proof is that when officials of Waizarat Ad-Difah wal Tairan were asked that on 21st of February 1993 it will be 30th of Sha’ban but is there actually a chance of sighting the moon; both ministries admitted that according to moon sighting calculations there was no chance of sighting yet Ramadhan was announced in Saudia the next day.
The third proof is that in Saudia moon sighting is not common amongst the common population despite clear horizons; no one can be presented in Saudi Arabia who has fasted upon sighting the moon himself even though in case of clear horizon, perpetual sighting is necessary.
The fourth proof is that the moon is generally sighted elsewhere 2-3 days afterwards.
The fifth proof is that the phases of moon are out of synch i.e. full moon is not seen on the fourteenth in Saudi etc and these can be seen by anyone in Saudia.
Based on these evidences it is can be deduced that moon sighing is not practiced in Saudi Arabia. Therefore to make Saudi the basis of these decisions would be wasting your acts o worship and this is also the opinion of Hazrat Mufti Taqi Usmani.
Mufti Muhammad Abdullah
24th of Jamidul-Thani 1424”
Mufti Muhammed Ismael Kachalwi, UK:
Under the circumstances that you have written and described we don’t believe it correct for the Muslims of United Kingdom to follow the moon sighting of Saudi Arabia and it was evident from their announcement of 1st of Muharram 1412 and 1st of Rajab 1412 as the earth has only one sun and moon and there was a solar eclipse in Hawaii at the time of their observance of crescent for Muharram and solar eclipse at in America at their time of crescent observance of Rajab and pictures were taken of this event…It is also written in Ahsan-Fatawa that due to the sighting in Saudia being against the principles of the Hanafi Madhab and established science it is unacceptable for Pakistan therefore it cannot be regarded as acceptable for the Muslims in the United Kingdom either
Source: Taken (with Thanks) from Hazrat Maulana Iqbal Rangooni (Manchester, UK)
Moon Sighting Controversy of 1426H Eid ul Fitr
The attached (pasted below) is a beautiful, convincingly well written article by Jung’s London
correspondent. It is based on well founded arguments. It proves beyond any shadow of
doubt that those who had their Eid Day on Thursday, November 3, 2005 were misled by the
joint Shura Council of ISNA & ICNA. May Allah pardon them and give them Tawfeeq not to
repeat such “blunders” again.
If they would have fasted one day more and completed their 30 days of Ramadan, as
permitted by Shariah, heaven would have not fallen on their heads. Now they stand
committed to a sin having Eid on the day of Obligatory fasting.
All brothers and sisters who had Eid on Thursday [November 3, 2005] have no choice but to
repent to Allah (SWT) and now fast one day as “Qaza” of Ramadan. It would be given
precedence over the six days of Shawwal non-obligatory fasting.
May Allah pardon ourselves and our leadership and give us Tawfeeq not to follow anyone
else but our own moon sighting.
THE QUESTION OF ROOYAT-E-HILAL (Crescent Moonsighting)
Is it essential to follow Saudi Arabia?
By Zahoor Niazi
Mr Zahoor Niazi is Editor, Daily Jang, London. This an English translation of an article written by him in Urdu.
Published in The News International Ramadhan 29, 1426 [November 2, 2005]
In all the European countries Ramadhan started on two different days due to the announcement of Saudi Arabia. There will also be two Eids. In London most people will be celebrating Eid on Thursday November 3 but in other cities of Britain the majority of people will celebrate Eid on Friday November 4. Ordinary people are worried. Young people can’t understand why the Ulema are fighting. Why don’t they agree on one day of Eid?
In Britain, the Islamic Cultural Centre London (ICCL) should rightly hold an authority, as its trustees include ambassadors from all the Muslim countries. The announcement of the beginning of Hijra year from this centre should be acceptable to all Muslims of Britain. But it is not so. Why not? Perhaps it is because the majority of British Muslims feel that ICCL has become a spokesman of Saudi Arabia instead of representing them according to some principles. Regardless of whether or not the New Moon is present on the horizon of Britain, the director general of ICCL makes announcements of Ramadhan and Eid dates by following the announcement of Saudi Arabia.
What is wrong with following Saudi Arabia?
Saudi Arabia is the centre of Islam. Haramain Sherefain are there. We pray five times a days facing Makkah. It is only there that we can perform Haj. Then why not follow Saudi Arabia in the matters of Ramadhan and Eid also. If the ICCL follows Saudi Arabia, so what?
First, if Allah had willed that Muslims all over the world should celebrate Islamic festivals on the same day, then he would have made the day and night at the same time everywhere. But he has made the day and night each for half the world.
Secondly from the experience and observations of many years it is proved that the Saudi claim of Ruait-e-Hilal is often wrong. I have used the word “wrong” instead of a “lie” so as not to offend some peoples’ feelings. Every Muslim’s sentimental attachment with Saudia is not hidden. In the last quarter century, there have been only a few instances, when Saudia announced the beginning of a month actually based on Ruait and not on their Umm-ul-Qurra calendar.
What is the Umm-ul-Qurra Calendar?
When the Bright aroused the Arabs against the Ottoman Empire, and the Saudi family formed a
government, then it was decided to enforce a Hijra calendar instead of the Gregorian solar calendar. The interesting history of the preparation of this calendar is this. Sometime ago, the Saudi rulers assigned the responsibility to prepare a 32-year calendar to some people. Those people got the monthly times of the Birth of New Moon from the British Royal Observatory. Today by the knowledge bestowed on man by Allah, man can prepare such calculations for hundreds of years in advance. The people who prepared the calendar used a self made principle, which said that if the age of the New Moon on the second day at sunset is 12 hours then that day will be first date of new lunar month. Those people have not kept this principle as a secret but have declared it openly. Due to this method a problem occurred that often the Saudi calendar goes against the principle of Ruait. In order to run the affairs of the sate without any confusion, the Umm-ul-Qurra calendar always got precedence over Islamic dates. Only a few times has
Saudia deviated from its calendar to use the correct Ramadhan and Haj dates. This discrepancy is also understood by Saudi Ulema and scholars but their difficulty is that Saudia is a closed society without any freedom of expression. There is no freedom of congregation. No decisions can be challenged there. Over there nobody has the right to ask “Oh, Omar we will not listen to you until you tell us how come you have got two sheets of cloth whereas everybody else has got only one”.
Many journalists have been either imprisoned or lost their jobs on small matters. Such a situation is not only in Saudia. Many other Arab countries are even worse. In London, a Libyan businessman said if someone performs Fajr prayer for four consecutive days, the on the fifth day he will be taken away by secret police to question him about the “revolution he may be planning”. Similar things happen in Syria. Perhaps it is due to such a mental state that only the Muslims of the sub continent refuse to accept the decisions of ICCL blindly but verify them on Islamic principles.
When does a new day begin in Islam?
In the Solar calendar at 12 O’clock at midnight one day finishes and the next day starts. Jews also use a lunar calendar. Before the state of Israel, to start a new month they had more confusion and disagreement than the Muslims have. Then Israel formed a rule that if the New Moon is born before 12 O’clock at midnight, then the next day will be the first date of the new lunar month. Muslims have a different criteria altogether, which is this: If on the 29th day of the current lunar month at the time of sunset, the New Moon is present on the horizon and is visible then the new lunar month will start. Otherwise thirty days are completed in the current lunar month. Unfortunately in the preparation of the Saudi calendar this criteria has been ignored.
According to the past criteria if the New Moon is born even after 12 O’clock at midnight and if the next day at the time of sunset the age of the moon is 12 hours then that will be the first date of the new lunar month. (Note: in the recent years the Saudia criteria has changed to: If the New Moon is before Sunset and it is present on the local horizon after sunset then the next day is the first date of the lunar month. But at times they deviate even from this criteria.)
What is a ‘New Moon’?
The terminology of ‘New Moon’ is in common use, although the moon, the sun and earth are the same which Allah had created at the beginning of the universe and will remain the same till the last day. Like billions of other planets these three are also constantly revolving in their orbits. The moon revolves around the earth. The earth in addition to moving in its own orbit also revolves together with its moon around the sun at the rate of 64 thousand miles per hour. Then the sun together with all its planets is revolving in its galaxy and this galaxy is revolving amongst a cluster of many other galaxies. The term ‘New Moon’ is only used in the sense that when the moon after completing its revolution around the earth in approximately 29.5 days, reaches an astronomical point which is in line with the sun and earth. At that time, the sunlight falling on the moon is not visible from the earth. The moon’s earth facing side is dark, as if there is no moon. But from here the moon starts a new revolution. This phenomenon is known as Conjuction, New
Moon or birth of the moon. However when the New Moon has moved away about 5.8 to 8.8 degrees and its age is about 17 to 23 hours, then it becomes visible. There are many other factors involved in the visibility. But without going into technical details, I will only say that sometimes due to other factors even a 36hours old moon is not visible. Therefore human knowledge so far has not reached the stage to tell us about the moon’s visibility in different countries with an accuracy of minutes and seconds but calculations can be made within a few hours difference.
A formula for Britain.
In 1984, in a meeting of Ulema and Astronomers held in ICCL, a formula was devised. According to the formula if a New Moon is present on the British horizon but cannot be visible due to clouds, and if a Shahada of Ruait is available from a near country e.g. Morocco, then the new lunar month should be started. However after only one year and holding a Birmingham based group for violating this formula, the ICCL threw away the formula in the dustbin and started to follow the Umm-ul-Qurra calendar in the name of Saudi Arabia. There was no central Ruait-e- Hilal committee set up and neither any scholars nor scientists were taken into confidence. The Director General of ICCL appointed himself to declare the dates of Ramadhan and Eid without any research. According to the Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) Sir Iqbal Secrani, once he asked the then Saudi ambassador Ghazi Al Ghusaibi why do you
impose Saudi decisions in this country? To this the ambassador replied that we never ask ICCL to follow Saudi Arabia. They should follow the local conditions of Ruait. But may be some people, dreaming for a bright future, try to be more faithful to the king than the king himself.
Sir Iqbal Sacranie also narrated to me his conversations he had with the present Grand Mufti of Saudia Shaikh Al Shaikh and the Minister of Endowments. The President of East London Mosque, Dr Abdul Bari was also present. The Saudi dignitaries asked them (Iqbal & Bari) why do you follow Saudia? You should fix the dates of festivals according to your own calculations.
What are the reasons of confusion and disarray?
Because of the announcements of ICCL the Muslim community of Europe and Britain is suffering from confusion and disarray. The Arabs in London blindly accept ICCL. Then there are religious leaders in different cities of Britain who get paid by the Royal family for their Haj, Umra, conferences or they receive Royal donations for their Mosques and Madrassahs. According to an estimate, hundreds of people are on the Saudi payroll. Amongst the Saudi followers are even those “non-followers” who have deviated from the clear words of the Prophet’s Hadith. There are also the Deobandi Ulema who want to remain in the good books of the Saudi higher ups. In this group are also included the activists of Tableeghi Jamat (Propogationists). These people have influence in approximately 400 of the estimated 1200 mosques in Britain. There is no accurate database available yet but it is also estimated that about 500 mosques belong
to the Ahl-e-Sunnat Al Jamat (Brelvi Group). The UK Islamic Mission has 45, Shia group 50 and Minhajul Quran half a dozen mosques. All these (about 600) mosques follow the formula of Ruait or Imkan Ruait. In addition to the Deobandi group, Ahle Hadith and Arabs who have a combined total of possibly 100 mosques accept Saudi announcements. Interestingly, the leaders of the Deobandi group in the sub continent do not follow Saudia, even though, in terms of the horizon, the sub-continent is nearer to Saudia than Britain is to Saudia.
These leaders have so far declared the Saudi announcements as wrong and unacceptable. Dar-ul-Aloom Deoband in its Fatwa of 20 April 2003 has stated that in Britain it is not right to announce Ramadhan and Eid according to Saudi Ruait. To act on the Saudi Ruait is also against the principles of Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence). This Fatwa has received support from another big centre, Madrassah Mazahar Al Aloom Saharanpur. A prominent and high ranking Deobandi scholar and judge, Mohammad Taqi Usmani has written in a letter that “the incidences of accepting Shahada before the birth of New Moon are unacceptable in my view. I have also talked with several Saudi scholars and they were also perplexed. Because the matter is handled by Majlis Al Qadha Al Aala (Riyadh), those scholars were helpless”. Whenever a conversation took place with the Imams of Harmain in the Harmain or during their visits to Britain, they choose to stay quiet about the correctness or otherwise of the Saudi decisions.
However to persistent questioners, they asked why do you act on the Saudi decisions and why don’t you start the new month on the basis of the crescent in your country?
Tradition of the Prophet’s (Peace be upon him) Companions.
In the period of the Prophet’s (pbuh) Companions, the Islamic new month was started according to the local Ruait. According to Sunan Abu Daood a man went to Damascus and stayed there for the whole month of Ramadhan. After his return he said we have already seen the new moon (in Damascus). Then Abdullah Bin Abbas said we have been commanded by the holy prophet (pbuh) to act on the local Ruait, even if the Caliph himself has declared Ruait in another land. For the Companions it was not important whether the Eid is held on Thursday or Friday, but they were anxious to follow the commandments of Allah and His Prophet (pbuh).
Unity – against whom?
A large cross section of Muslims earnestly believes that because Saudia is the centre of Islam, we should have Ramadhan and Eid with Saudia as united Muslims. One day, when a colleague in my office put forward this point of view I said to him ‘OK, I accept your view. Even though at present the sun is shining in London but because the sun has set in Makkah and over there it is the time of Maghrib prayer, so let us, for the sake of ‘Muslims Unity’, offer our Maghrib prayer right now.’ He was very surprised with this reply and was speechless. Then I said to him why do you want to follow the centre of Islam only in the matter of Moon. You should also follow it in their prayer times which are set according to the sun. This talk of unity; is this unity against Allah in that unity must be achieved in clear violation of Commandments Allah and His Prophet (pbuh)?
Ulema are Worried but Quiet
Majority of prominent Deobandi Ulema in Britain are worried and unsatisfied with the present situation. In their private gatherings they consider Saudi announcements as incorrect but in public they keep quiet for the sake of so called “unity”. In such circumstances, a small but effective group is able to impose its own preferences over others. The Tableeghi Jamat, is making an effective contribution in bringing people towards prayer and fasting. Their leaders are practical men and not scholars. The scholars from whom they derive guidance from are limited in their knowledge to the level of Daras Nizami. They are neither familiar with the present problems and nor do they have any solutions for them.
Observatory calculations not acceptable!
These people insist on giving preference to Shahada over observatory calculations. They believe this is the view of their leaders. But I think they misunderstand their own leaders. The founder of Dar Al Aloom Haqqania Akhora Khatak, Maulana Abdul Haq writes: “In the Mohammadan Sharia, the rule for Ruait-e-Hilal is that if on the evening of 29th if the horizon is absolutely clear then it is necessary to have Ruait from a ‘big crowd’ of people”. It is however surprising that in Saudia there has never been a situation of ‘big crowd’. It is always one or two old aged people with weak eyesight who provide witness of moon sighting!
Do the millions of Saudi people have no interest in moon sighting and have they given this responsibility to two to four govt. officials?
Islam is a code of ‘established rules’ (Musssalamat). No witness is acceptable against an ‘established rule’. With the progress in science many ‘exemplary rules’ (Mushtahbahdt) have become ‘established rules’. But the poor Mullahs have not yet heard of such changes. The birth of the moon is a similar case. If say two or ten people bear witness to having seen the new moon before its birth, while astronomical science categorically denies this, how can the entire Muslim nation accept such a witness. Imam Abu Hanifa said: “If the sky is clear, the testimony of a ‘big crowd’ is necessary to celebrate Eid”. Present day prominent scholar Shaikh Yousuf Qardhawi says: “If according to the Observatory the new moon is not born yet, then any claim of its sighting must be rejected”. Like this year in Nigeria, three people claimed to have seen the
new moon before its birth and then some people started their fast on Nov 3. Who saw the Ramadhan Moon? On Monday Oct. 3, the Conjunction i.e. the New Moon in London occurred at 11.28 and on that day the sunset as well as the moonset was at 18.33. In other words the new moon which was only 07.06 old was not even present above the horizon. In Makkah the new moon was present on the horizon for 3 minutes, its age was 04:39, altitude 0 degree and distance from the sun was 2.2 degrees. In such a situation, the new moon cannot be seen even with a telescope let alone with the naked eye. The Mullahs have no knowledge of such facts and no desire to learn them. In spite of this they are bent upon misleading the public. It is noteworthy, that Saudia started Ramadhan on Oct. 4 but even on that day none of the Middle Eastern
countries had any moon sighting. With the true moon sighting method the Saudia’s first Ramadhan would have been Oct 6, like Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
When is Eid?
The Shawal moon (2005) will be born in London on 2 Nov. at 01:25. On that day the sunset will be at 04:31 and moonset at 04:20. In other words the moon will go down the horizon some 11 minutes before the sunset. It will be impossible to see it. In spite of this those who wish to celebrate Eid on Nov. 3 and think that the moon does not have the strength to hide from the holy land, although it can hide from the whole world but cannot hide in Saudia, then those people should take pictures of the moon on Nov. 2 in order to beat the scientists and observatory in their expert knowledge! Will Saudia and its followers accept this challenge? For Allah everybody is responsible for his own actions. A person cannot escape by saying that what could I
do, when my local Imam had announced Eid. One day I said to a Deobandi Alim that some people’s necks have become so strong that they are willing to take the load of breaking the fast of millions of people. In Europe, according to the moon calculations, Nov 3 will be the 30th fast day. Now whosoever wants to please Saudis can miss the fast on that but those who want to please Allah should fast on Nov 3 and celebrate Eid on Nov 4. If a person will complete 30 days fast on Nov 2, then he should consider his first day fast i.e. Oct 4 as Nafil and ask Allah to accept it. It is the responsibility of mosque committees to declare Eid day in the light of solid facts and not by following someone blindly.
Future Course of Action
We should try that ICCL, for its central role and in order to restore its confidence, should form a Central Ruait-e-Hilal Committee comprising of Ulema of all Madhaheb and Astronomers to act throughout the year. If ICCL is not ready to perform such a role then the leading organisations such as Muslim Council of Britain and British Muslim Forum should join hands to form a committee to provide guidance to the entire Muslim community. If even these two institutions do not play their roles, then I am afraid the Imam and Mosque Council of the Home Office task force will unite the Muslims!
Future of Islamic Cultural Centre London
A member of the House of Lords intends to file a petition in the high court stating that the British Crown had gifted the land of ICCL when there were only a few Muslims in this country. Now there are nearly two million Muslims, and therefore the ICCL should be handed over to them and that its present administrations should be closed down. From the other angle, the Saudi Govt. and its Embassy should also see whether after spending millions of pounds they are earning respect or a bad name amongst the Muslim community of Britain. Also within the community, there is a movement to include three representatives of the community. The ICCL should be grateful to Saudia for financial support but should not divide the community by its wrong decisions. With reference to this subject I contacted ICCL to know the views of its director general Dr Ahmed Al Dubayan but he could not be reached, nor did I receive any message from him.