A REJOINDER TO
UNIFIED WORLD ISLAMIC CALENDAR – SHARI’A, SCIENCE AND GLOBALIZATION
(Editor Mohammed Ilyas & Co-editor Syed Kamarulzaman
Kabeer) Published by International Islamic Calendar Program
Rejoinder by M.Ali
Manikfan, Advisor, Hijra committee of India, Published by Hijra Committee
of India, Calicut, Kerala, India.
Edited by Dr. V.K.M.
Zubair and Dr. C. P. Abubacker
ISLAMIC CALENDAR SHARI’A, SCIENCE AND GLOBALIZATION
By Mohammed Ilyas
& S .Kabeer
Comments by Ali
manikfan on “World Conference, International Islamic Calendar, 2001”
Comments by Ali
manikfan on “the opening address by Hon. Tan Sri Dato (Dr.) Musa Mohammed”
He talked about the
Lunar Date lines.
The so called lunar
datelines are marked on earth basing on the Crescent visibility. These
lines will shift from place to place every month, so they will not serve
the purpose of a dateline. Time is calculated with reference to the sun.
The moon does not have any role in defining the days. Dates are the number
of days in a month, which depend on the cycle of the moon around the earth
in comparison with the Sun. Number of days in a month should be 29 or 30
and total number of days in a year should be 354 or 355 days according to the
A date line marks
the place from where the week days begin on the earth. Since there would be
2 days at the place where the days change, it cannot pass through a land
where people could live and it should be fixed permanently. Therefore the
date line which separates the two days must pass through the sea. The
present International Dateline meets all requirements for a date line in
the Islamic Shariah. Shifting lunar date lines do not serve this purpose
and are not suitable according to the Shariah and the commonsense of
people. It would not be practical.
1. Comments by Ali
manikfan on the paper “An Islamic view of time by Shaikh Imran N. Hosein,
Muslim organizations of Greater New York.”
The author explains about the complexity of time etc. This paper
is good and needs no comments.
2. Comments by Ali
manikfan on the paper “Islamic Lunar Calendar as a Civilizational
Imperative by Dr.Taha J. Al-Alwani, School of Islamic Social Sciences,
The author describes the Ummah as the best people who must be
a guide to others and the calendar of the Muslim Ummah as the best. However
the meaning of the Ayah 2:189 given by the author does not convey the idea
contained within. The translation should be: “They ask you about the phases
of the moon. Say: They are dates for the people and the pilgrimage”. The
words of the Prophet (saw) should be rendered in English as: “Begin fasting
depending on its view and break fasting depending on its view and if you are
in doubt estimate it, or complete the period of Shaban as thirty”.
Obviously the author
has not examined the Ayaths of the Quran relating to the lunar months. He
has not studied the scientific methods of calculating the period of the
cycle of the moon, which defines the months. He believes that mere seeing
of the crescent with the naked eye marks the beginning of the months in the
He has never
observed the Hilals or Ahillah as directed by the Prophet (saw). So he does
not know the facts of the Islamic dates and months depending upon the
phases or Ahillah of the moon. The Prophet (saw) ordered the unlettered
people of his time to watch the Ahillah because they did not know the
calculations of lunar cycle and they did not know how the phases of the
moon changed day by day. He ordered them to find out whether the Hilal
appears on the 29th. If it appeared the new month begins on the next day.
If not, the new month begins after completing 30 days without referring the
Hilal again. The author and most of the people believe that the Hilal would
be visible on the 30th. The Hilal that is not visible on the 29th is not visible on the 30th also, in a month of
30 days. Therefore the statement that one should see the crescent to begin
a month is wrong. In fact months begin without seeing it because the hilaal
is seen only on the first day of the month after sun set.
The author, like
others believes that the crescent must be seen before beginning the months.
The author realizes that the Eid should be on one day throughout the world.
But he fails to understand that the dates cannot be predicted if one must
see the crescent to begin a month and prediction becomes impossible because
clouds could cover the crescent any moment. Further more the first
visibility of the crescent would vary from place to place on the earth. The
dates which must be same in all towns in the Islamic Shariah will differ
everywhere! Rendering the calendar impractical
So, visibility of
the Hilal is not the criterion to determine the month.
3. Comments by Ali manikfan on “Sighting of the Hilal,
possibility of sighting and necessity of the calendar in Islamic law by
Maulana Habib Rehan Khan Nadawi Azhari, Darul Uloom, Bhopal”
His article is good.
He speaks of the necessity of the calendar for the Ummah, but he forgets
that a calendar could not be made without certain rules. A calendar cannot
be drawn if one has to wait till one sees the Hilal. According to his
argument the month would not begin if the Hilal could not be seen. So the
dates are liable to change. The author has overlooked the point that the
visibility of the Hilal is not the criterion for fixing the month in the
The cycle of the
moon around the earth in comparison with the sun defines the month
according to the Quran 36:39 and the phases of the moon indicate the dates
of the lunar month (Quran 2: 189). If the dates are liable to change
according to seeing of the crescent, the dates would not tally with the
phases of the moon as demanded in the verse 2:198 of the Quran. Calculation
of past or future dates would be impossible because it would not follow any
logic or rule. The Quran says the Manaazil for the moon were appointed to
enable the calculation of dates of the calendar. (10:5).
4. Comments by Ali manikfan on “Science of new moon’s
visibility, International Islamic Calendar and future research process by
Dr. Md. Ilyas, University of Science, Malaysia”
Dr. Ilyas is not a
scholar in Quran and Hadees. He relies on Ulema for the laws of Shariah
regarding the calendar, who have no knowledge in science. He believes that
seeing the crescent with the naked eye is the criterion to begin the
Islamic months. A calendar cannot be drawn for one year in advance if the
crescent has to be literally seen with the naked eye before beginning a
month. Therefore the criterion to define the months is not the visibility
of the crescent.
The Quran and Hadees
do not say that the new crescent should be visible before beginning a
month. So, the methods of predicting the visibility of the crescent are
unnecessary in the Shariah. Non-Muslim scholars of the past have developed
them. Since the visibility of the crescent varies from place to place and
month to month this should not be used as criterion to define the lunar
months which were already determined in the Day of creation. Quran clearly
states that the manaazil of the moon determine the dates of the lunar
months 10:5 So, the dates and months must be calculated according to the
manaazil of the moon.
Dr. Ilyas talks
about number of complicated factors involved in the visibility of the
crescent. The correct beginning of the months can be easily found out
without resorting to the visibility of the first crescent. Islam is simple
and straightforward. Allah (swt) has not put any hurdles in the matters of
religion. The Prophet (saw) said that he came to relieve people from
bondage of different sorts.
Dr. Ilyas does not
realize that the angles of the sun indicate the time and the phases of the
moon or the angles of the moon and sun viewed from earth indicate the
dates. He believes that sighting the crescent is the criterion and argues
that sighting is not same as seeing the shadow. This is because he does not
derive the rules from Quran and Hadees from which the criterion for fixing
the months must be derived.
Quran and Hadees
demand people to celebrate the Eids on a single day, not on many days. The
Prophet (saw) said “He who fasts and suffers hunger on the feasting day of
the Ummah (Eid day) is not among us”. Fasting on the Day of Eid is Haraam
in the Shariah. If people on Earth were to celebrate the Eid on two days
(Friday and Saturday) the order of the Prophet (saw) will be disobeyed.
Celebrating Eid on a
single day is the essence of the Eid and this is the most important issue,
which needs clarification before going into other details of the subject.
We must know whether Riyadh and Makkah should celebrate Eid on the same
Dr. Ilyas has
developed his lunar dateline theory basing on the data collected by
non-Muslim workers like Schmidt and others. The shifting date lines of Dr.
Ilyas would not serve the purpose of a Dateline. The so called lunar
datelines marked on earth according to the crescent visibility would pass
through houses creating a partition between the inmates of a house! A date
line must pass through sea and should be within a time zone. Places on
either side of it should be separated at least by a distance, which allows
lessening of canonical prayers in the Shariah. Thus the lunar date lines
are meaningless and non Islamic. Dr. Ilyas ignores that Islam advocates a
time system depending upon the sun and a date system depending on the moon.
The date must change with the weekdays on a suitable fixed Dateline and the
dates of the month would vary between 29 and 30 depending on the phases of
the Moon. The simple fact that date or day is one and the same is
overlooked. Days / dates should change at a particular place and time every
day in the Islamic Shariah. So a date line that shifts from place to place
is impractical. The idea of lunar date lines is meaningless.
Dr. Ilyas believes
that days begin at the sunset. Islam ordained five time prayers for a day
and the first prayer as taught by the Prophet (saw) is the Fajre. So the
days begin before Fajre in the Shariah.
The reason behind
the change of Gregorian date at midnight has not been explored and
The research being
carried out to find out the visibility of the crescent are futile and mere
waste of time and money. Non-Muslim astronomers initiated this. Such futile
exercises should be stopped in order to avoid confusion. First we must
understand the Shariah according to the Quran and Sunnah. Only then can the
scientists say what the Islamic calendar is and how it could be drawn well
5. Comments by Ali
manikfan on “Sighting of the moon: the duration by Ibn Rushd, Jurist (6th century Hijra)”
The Arabic months
were known as Islamic months after Hajjadthul Wida and they should not be
called Arabic months. The rules of Arabic calendar and Islamic calendar are
different. It is strange to note that even the people of 6th century AH believed that the months began after seeing the
crescent! The words of the Prophet (saw) ‘Soomoo liru’uyathihi wa afthiroo
liru’uyathihi” means “fast depending on its view and celebrate Eidul fitre
depending on its view”. Since this applies to every month it is the general
instruction to begin the months with the cycle of the moon around the
earth. The people, who interpreted the sayings of the Prophet (saw) without
knowing the astronomical facts about the movement of the moon, were unable
to give a proper meaning to the words of the Prophet (saw). There are two
different wordings for the Hadees “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi wa afthiroo li
ru’uyathihi fa in gubbiya
and gumma alaikum fakmiloo
iddatha Sha’ban thalaseen”. When we examine the details of the lunar
mechanics we see that the moon appears on the western horizon after the
sunset some times after twenty-nine days and sometimes after 30 days. When
the month is of 30 days the moon does not appear on the 29th evening. So
the Prophet (saw) ordered to begin the next month after completing 30 days.
The Hadees is very clear and there is no ambiguity at all. The two Ahadees
have different meanings and people who did not know about the moon’s
movement believed that both have the same meaning. They thought the
visibility of the crescent is meant. When we have more knowledge we must
rely upon knowledge and not upon the views of the people of the past.
The size of the
crescent is different and not alike always. The crescents of the months of
29 are fat while the crescents of the months of 30 are thin. It is easy to
distinguish the months of 29 and 30 days.
“If you sight the
moon during the day before the declining of the sun, break your fast, but
if you see it after the declining of the sun do not break it”. Such reports
confirm that the sky in those days was very clear and they could see the
first crescent at noon even on the last day of the month. Now we do not see
it because the atmosphere is polluted thanks to our activities. Now we see
the crescent at noon only after 2nd or 3rd. The waxing crescent cannot be seen on the last day of the
The statement of
Qadi (Ibn Rushd) made in the 6th century AH that
“There is no difference here whether it is before declining of the sun or
after it and the thing to be considered is the disappearance of the sun” is
not correct. The moon could be seen about 2 hours before or after declining
of the sun but it cannot be seen when the sun is going to set. The Qadi
would not have done proper observation.
The Qadi needs the
testimony of reliable witnesses because he has to take the responsibility.
Fasting is ordained only in Ramadan. When the Qadi himself does not know
how to find out the fixed days of Ramadan, he has to rely on the witnesses
who know the month. He has no alternative. When one has knowledge of
Ramadan witnesses are not necessary. Qadi himself can decide Ramadan with
his knowledge. The Quran clearly says that “He has appointed Manazil for
the moon so that you may know the number of its ages and the calculations”
(Quran 10:5) Ramadan is the 9th month of the Islamic calendar. Allah
has already fixed the number of days of the months as 29 or 30 on the Day
he created the heavens and the earth. So if Ramadan of 1426 has 30 days
from Tuesday to Wednesday and the first of Shawwal 1426 falls on Thursday,
this cannot change on people’s seeing or not seeing the crescent. So the
Qadi should learn the art of finding out the dates of the Islamic calendar
rather than misleading the people by making them fast on the days of Eid on
which fasting is forbidden in the Shariah.
The saying of the
Prophet (saw) “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi wa afthiroo liru’uyathihi” only means
that the dates of the month must tally with the Manazil of the moon. The dates
should not change at the whims of the people. The fasting of Ramadan should
not be in Sha’ban or Shawwal. It must be strictly in Ramadan only.
When we know how to
calculate the lunar phases that represent the dates of the month, the
witnesses are not required. Witnessing is required in the absence of
knowledge. Fasting is ordained in the month of Ramadan. Ramadan is a fixed
period 29 or 30 days as the case may be depending on the moon’s cycle. So
this period cannot vary from region to region on earth. If a Ramadan is 29
days from Friday to Friday then all people on earth should observe
according to it and not other wise. But if the people do not know
calculations or do not have means of communication then they may decide
according to their knowledge. But this will not be applicable to us endowed
with all knowledge and means of communication.
“They agreed that
this is not taken into account for lands distant from each other like Al
Andalus and Al Hijaz”. The author’s view that the date can differ is wrong.
Date and day for all people in the world must be one and the same in
Islamic Shariah. There are many Hadeeses corroborating this view. “Fasting
is on the day when the people fast”. This means that all people must fast
on the same day. They should celebrate Eid on the same day. They should
perform Hajj on the same day just as they observe Jumu’a on the same day.
The Hadees of Kuraib does not prove that the date of Sham and Medina was
different. The Hadees records that Kuraib believed that the people at Sham
looked for the Hilal of Ramadan on Thursday evening. But the people of
Medina looked for the Hilal of Ramadan on Friday evening, because that was
the 29th of Sha’ban according to their observations.
Sham and Medina have Jumu’a on the same day. So, one of them must have made
a mistake in their dates of Sha’ban. Now who is wrong in calculating
Sha’ban, the people of Medina or the people of Sham? Both of them cannot be
Ibn Abbas ® and the
people of Medina who knew for certain that Sha’ban began on Friday could
not believe Kuraib when he said that they saw the Hilal at Sham on Thursday
evening. Thursday evening completes only 28 days for Sha’ban. How could
they see the Hilal on 28th?So he questioned Kuraib once again, “Did you
see the Hilal on Thursday evening?” to which Kuraib’s reply was not to the
point. He said: “Yes, the people saw it and they fasted and Muawiya too
fasted.” To this Ibn Abbas ® who saw something wrong in Kuraib’s statement
replied, “no, we will continue fasting till 30 or we see (refer) the Hilal.
This is what the Prophet (saw) commanded us”.
ru’uyathihi wa afthiroo liru’uyathihi fa’in gumma alaikum faqduru lahu”.
This does not mean that the dates of Medina and Sham should be different.
Distant lands and nearby lands must have same date according to the Islamic
Shariah which is perfect. Disparity of dates is not allowed in the Shariah
6. Comments by Ali
manikfan on “Legal discussion about the sighting of the new moon of Ramadan
by Dr. Abdul Jalil Sajid, Brighton Muslim Community Centre”
The author too
believes that the crescent should be seen to begin a month. This view is
not in accordance with the Quran and Hadees. The Prophet (saw) said “Soomoo
li ru’uyathihi wa afthiroo li ru’uyathihi fa in gubbiya alaikum fakmiloo
iddatha salaseen”. The months are 29 or 30. When a month is 29 the Hilal
appears on the western horizon on the 29th day. We cannot see
it with the naked eye but we can know it by observing the Ahillah or by
calculation. When the month is of 30 days the Hilal does not appear on the
29th of the month. The next month begins after
completing 30 but without seeing the Hilal. So seeing the Hilal is not the criterion for
beginning the months accoding to the Shariah. Once the people start observing the Ahillah
of the moon as directed in the Quran and according to the Sunnah of the
Prophet (saw), all doubts and ignorance about the Hilals or Ahillah would
vanish like darkness in the presence of light.
7. Comments by Ali
manikfan on “Sighting of the Crescent or presence of Moon: Perspective from
Quran, Hadith and Fiqh by Moulana Yaqub Qasmi, Islamic Research Institute
Author says, “There
is no explicit verse in the Quran concerning the start and the end of
The Author has not
delved deep in to the meanings of Ayaths of the Quran. The verse 2:189
explains everything. The meaning of this Ayath is “they ask you about
Ahillah (phases). Tell them they are dates for the people and the Hajj”.
Those who know about waxing and waning phases of the Moon understand what
is explained in this miraculous verse of the Quran.
given to the Quaranic verse 2:187 also is not correct. The word “shahida”
means witnessing and not seeing or sighting Hilaal. Similarly the word
“shahra” means month and not crescent moon. Actually the verse means that
one who witnesses the month should fast in it. That is if one is present at
home in that month should fast provided he is not sick or on travel. The
other meaning would be one who knows the month should fast in it if he is
not sick or on travel and he should bear witness for the month. He should
not hide the Shahadah.
The view that naked
eye sighting of the crescent is a must to begin the fast or break it is not
correct because many Ramadans and Shawwals begin without seeing the
crescent. For example when Sha’ban has 30 days we begin Ramadan without
seeing the crescent with naked eye. In fact more months begin that way.
They begin after observing and not after seeing the crescent. So, seeing
the crescent with naked eye is not the criterion to begin the Islamic
The author has not
seen the Hilal himself but he quotes others without understanding the true
meaning. It is true that the Prophet (saw) instructed the people “not to
leave the assured month of Sha’ban except with the assured Yaqeen of
Ramadan either by an authentic observation of the Ahillah or by completion
of 30 days”. This does not mean that one should see the crescent with naked
eye to have the Yaqeen. Besides simply looking for the crescent on some day
is not enough but one must look for it systematically on the real 29th. In the Hadees “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi” the word “ru’uya” has
two meanings: seeing with eyes or with mind. The correct meaning of the
Hadees would be “do not start fasting without observing the Ahillah”.
It is wrong to
assume that the Hadees quoted above means that one should not begin fasting
or end it without seeing the crescent with naked eye. The author has
misunderstood the fact because he does not know about the movements of the
Moon. The Quran throws light on this in the verses 36:39 and 55:5. The
calculations mentioned in verse 10:5 are carelessly ignored. If Ramadan
begins only after seeing the crescent the dates will not tally with the
“Manazil” of the Moon mentioned in the verses 2:189, 10:5 and 36:39 of the
interpretation of the Hadith “la thasoomoo hatha tharawhu” as do not fast
without literally sighting the crescent moon and keep on fasting until you
sight the crescent again and if there are clouds then complete thirty days is not proper. The
assumption that a month will complete 30 days whenever clouds obstruct the
sighting is wrong, as it would allow 30 days to the months of 29 days and
the calendar will be inaccurate. Some people would fast for 29 days while
the others fasted for 30 days. This discrepancy cannot be permitted in
matters of obligatory duties and this will violate Halal and Haram of Allah
The Prophet (saw)
had given instructions to find out the months by observing the Hilals or
Ahillah. When observation becomes impossible or doubtful we are asked to
complete 30 in order that we may not do things without proper conviction.
When one knows how to calculate the dates and months one must rely on this
knowledge rather than gifting one more day to a month of 29. This is the
authentic view of all Imams and scholars. The Holy Quran exhorts us to
follow the knowledge. It says, “Do not stand on what you do not know”
(17:36). And “Ask those who know if you do not know” (16:43)
“faqdiroo lahu”: could mean calculate it and “fakmiloo iddatha salaseen”
could mean to complete the count of 30. We know that the Moon completes one
cycle in 29.53 days. This gives us 29 or 30 days according to the movement
of the Moon. Thus we can easily discern the months of 29 and 30 days. When
we know that a particular month has 29 days only, we cannot give 30 days to
it just because the Hilal is obscured due to clouds or some other reason.
Of course in the absence of knowledge one could do so.
The statement quoted
from Allama Subki “in my opinion there is consensus of Ummah that the Moon
must separate from the Sun sufficiently so as not to make it’s sighting
impossible due to its closeness to the Sun. This condition may result at
before or even after the sunset and is not a basis for any commands of
Shariah,” reveals that Subki had no knowledge of Modern Astronomy. The Sun and
the Moon are far away and are never close to each other. The Moon is
thousands of miles away from the Earth while the Sun is millions of miles
away. So when viewed from the Earth a portion of the lighted part of moon
will be visible always to some part of the Earth. In fact a narrow crescent
becomes visible to the Earth 9 hours before the conjunction. Even if Subki
knew Astronomy he has not studied the situation caused by parallax. The
Moon’s first crescent becomes visible only when the separation is more than
12 degree or 48 minutes. This will take 24 hours or more after the
conjunction and we would commence the month on the second day of it if we
waited to see the crescent. In a situation where two months of 29 days come
consecutively (this happens often) if we have accorded the first month
30days due to lack of visibility, the crescent would appear on 28th day itself of the 2nd month. Since a month
cannot have 28 days we must add one extra day to make it 29 and this is
forbidden by the Quaranic verse 9:37.
attributed to Shaikh is not correct. Obviously his knowledge in astronomy
and lunar sciences is not profound. He said “I say that in respect of a
basis for the start of fasting there is no validity in Shariah for
astronomical calculations that only take the immediate time after
conjunction in to account. Some astronomers use these calculations and
thereby start the month 1 or 2 days in advance of the month based on actual
sighting. The use of this method would be an innovation in Islam and something
that is not ordained by the Almighty Allah”.
Certainly Shaikh is
not an astronomer. He has made a wrong statement. He does not know the
calculations pertaining to the Sun and the Moon. He does not know how to
find out the months by observing the Ahillah of the moon. He may not even
understand about the globular shape of the Earth due to which days and
nights alternate. He has not studied the statement of Imam Shafi that a
solar eclipse and I’dul fitre should coincide. The statement attributed to
Subuki is misleading. May Allah forgive him! No one should make statements
without profound knowledge.
The statement of
Doctor Yusuf Al Qaradawi also is misleading. He said “the most favored
opinion is that the crescent Moon should remain in the horizon after sunset
long enough (as considered by the opinions of the experts?) for it to be
sighted by the naked eye. Doctor Qaradawi is not an astronomer and his
statement without proper study is not valid. He has not studied the subject
thoroughly. He quotes from people who are not experts in the subject. His
statement given above is wrong. He does not give the place of observation.
Since the Earth is a
globe vision from different parts of the Earth would vary. For example the
Moon which sets 1 minute before the sunset in Wellington, New Zealand would
set in Central America about 35 minutes after sunset there. He has not
verified the time lag between the Moon and the Sun required for the
crescent to be visible to the naked eye. If one waited to begin the month
till he sees the crescent the date would begin on the second day. This will
contradict the statement of the Quran. Doctor Qaradawi had issued a fatwa,
which stated that I’d-ul-fitr of 2000 AD on Friday in Saudi Arabia was
wrong. This shows that he has no knowledge in Astronomy and that he is not
qualified to speak anything on this subject. He does not know the art of
calculating the dates of the Islamic Calendar referred to in Quran 10:5.
The 30th of Ramadan 1420 AH was Thursday and there was no need to look
for the Hilal on that day. The Prophet (saw) said, “Complete 30 days in
case the crescent did not appear on 29th.” The crescent did
not appear on Wednesday and they completed 30 days by fasting on Thursday.
There was no need to look for the Hilal on 30th. Friday was
certainly the day of I’d-ul-fitr. Doctor Qaradawi issued a fatwa and
attached a fatwa of Shaikh Uthaimeen (RA) that if a solar eclipse occurs
and it is night for you then the next day is not the first day for you.
This contradicts the Quran and Sunnah. It also contradicts the statement of
Imam Shafi (RA) that solar eclipse and Eid should coincide. People who have
no knowledge in Astronomy are unable to understand the verses of the Quran,
the Hadees and the statement of Imam Shafi ® in the right perspective.
Zaheely author of Alfiqh-ul-Islami also is in the same group. Their
arguments without considering astronomical facts and calculations are
baseless. The Quran mentions about the calculations and no one can deny it.
Allama Quraifi’s statements
are also unfounded. He speaks of matters of which he has no knowledge. He
gives us an example of time of sunset and sunrise for 20th January 1994 at a particular place. He further states that
these times will remain constant on that particular date at that particular
place. On the other hand calculations with regard to visibility of the Moon
he feels is at best conjectural. But the fact is that with the current
scientific knowledge at our disposal the Moon’s phase for any date at any
year can be calculated accurately.
The Sun follows
certain rules and the Moon too follows certain rules laid down by Allah
(swt). They never change until the last day and the Quran has referred to
it in verse 55:5. Experience has shown that the Moon too moves precisely
just as the Sun, but most of the people do not understand this. Our Ulemas
believe that the Islamic months are determined only by seeing the crescent
with the naked eye. But the fact is that the observation of Ahillah of the
Moon and the calculations only will lead us to the true beginning of the
Allama Quraifi should clarify whether the Islamic Shariah
could allow different dates for two cities. He says that seeing the
crescent with naked eye is the only way to determine Islamic months. If it
is so, there cannot be a calendar for Muslims who must be contented with
Gregorian calendar. This is not permissible to Muslims as the directive for
them is “What Prophet (saw) brought must be accepted and what he forbade
should be avoided.” (59:7) Is not Islam a perfect way to mankind till the
last day? Allama should be kind enough to reply to following questions:
1) What is the lunar
month referred to in the Quran?
2) How are the
months calculated according to Quran?
3) When does a day
begin according to Shariah?
4) Which is the
place where days change in the world?
5) If the crescent
is present at one place on the Earth is it not sufficient for all people of
6) Can there be many
versions of Islamic calendar in the world?
7) What is the
average period of a month? How is it calculated?
8) If a month begins
one day late what will happen to the next month?
9) Does Shariah
permit one day of Ramadan to go in to Sha’ban and one day of Shawwal to go
in to Ramadan?
10) Have you observed
the Hilal for 12 months consecutively? Does the Hilal appear after 29Th of every month?
12) Please explain
conjunction, Manazil and Ahillah of the Moon?
13) Can the Hilal
appear anytime of the day or night? When the Hilal appears in America what
time is in Arabia?
14) How do we
calculate the duration of the average month? How do we get the duration as
29days 12hours and 44minutes?
15) What is the
average number of days in a month according to Shariah?
16) Could the month
begin after one or two days of the true lunar month according to Shariah?
17) Can we prove
from the Quran that the Earth is spherical?
points out the defects in “the presence of the Moon above the horizon”
theory. His unfounded statements would mislead others. Knowledge in the art
of calculating dates and months and understanding terms like average etc.
are essential in this subject. The moon which sets before the Sun at one
place will set after it at another place. The author is totally ignorant
about such details of the Moon and its well-ordained movements. Allama
gives an example of Zilhijja 1414H. The conjunction was on 10th May 1994. As per astronomical calculation May 11th should be the first of Zilhijja. But according to him 10th May was Zil Qaida 28 and if new month begins next day Zil
Qaida will have only 28 days and Zilhijja will have 31 days. It is wrong.
He argues that adopting this formula based on conjunction is absurd,
impractical and defective. Unfortunately he does not have knowledge in
Astronomy. Actually Zul Qaida began on April 12th Tuesday and it completed 29 days by May 10thTuesday 1994. Zil Hijja began on May 11th Wednesday 1994. This can be verified astronomically even
today. Allama has given a wrong statement without studying the topic
thoroughly. (Incidentally Hajj was postponed by one day under the pretext
that the Hilal was not seen).This may be due to pressure by eminent Ulema
like the Allama.
Allama believes that
“Soomoo li ru’uyathihi” means that one should begin fasting only after
seeing the crescent with the naked eye. When Allah (swt) created the
heavens and the earth he created the date system for mankind so that man
may calculate his dates accurately. He did not want people to meddle with
it and change the dates at their whims. Then how could mere seeing of the
people who change the limits of Allah (swt) be the criterion for fixing the
month in the Shariah? Allama seems to be unaware of the fact that the
crescent invisible at one place could be visible at another place on earth.
His statement that
“in Islam neither every agreement can be praised nor is every disagreement
to be looked down upon” is not correct. The fundamentals of Islam are from
the Quran and the Sunnah. The Quran is from Allah (swt) and the Sunnah is
from the Prophet (saw). Everything in Islam must be praiseworthy and
congruent. There is nothing in Islam that disagrees with commonsense. All
disagreements are Baathil and all agreements are Haqq.
Ramadan and Sha’ban
are two different months clearly defined by marking stones of hilaals.. Man
has no authority to change these limits, which are predestined by Allah
(swt). If one is ignorant of these signs he is unlucky because he has never
used the faculties bestowed on him by Allah (swt). When he is called to
Quran he turns back saying that I should follow the path of forefathers. He
dubs the truth as innovation in Islam. For him Islam is the path of
forefathers. The priests are not the authorities to decide Ramadan and
Shawwal. It is the Moon’s Manazil and Ahillah, which decide it. We should
observe the sky and learn from the signs of Allah (swt) as commanded by the
Prophet (saw), “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi”? Asking people to look for the Hilal
on wrong days and changing the limits set by Allah (swt) would make a
mockery of Quran and the words of the Messenger of Allah (swt).
The author says “in
fact the theory of presence of moon on the horizon has come about due to
the unconfirmed and false claims of sightings of the crescent. If the start
and the end of the Islamic months were based on confirmed sightings of the
crescent then it is quite possible that in a large part of the world Eid
and Ramadan will correctly take place on the same days, as has been shown
by experience several times over the last few years.” The Moon and its
phases. Show our dates.The crescent that appears on the western horizon on
the last day of the month is seldom visible in our times where atmosphere
is polluted viciously. If we waited till the crescent becomes visible, one
or two days would already have elapsed. Then in the succeeding month the
Hilal would be visible on 28th day somewhere on the Earth and adjustment
becomes necessary. This is not permissible in Shariah (9:37).
The topic should be
thoroughly studied before making statements.
8. Comments by Ali
manikfan on “Sighting the crescent for the purpose of ascertaining the
month by Doctor Yoosuf al Qaradawi, Al-Qaboos University”
Yoosuf al Qaradawi
agrees that calculations can be used for deciding Islamic months. He is not
a scholar in Astronomy. Hence whatever he has said on the subject is not
his own. He has not verified the statements either by his observation or by
study. So his views on this topic cannot be considered scholarly or
authentic. Doctor Qaradawi agrees that calculations are accurate and hence
acceptable. But he does not know what to calculate- visibility of the
crescent or the presence of the crescent- at a particular place or anywhere
in the world. He has made a mistake in his fatwa regarding I’d-ul-fitr of 1420AH
(2000AD) because he relied on the astronomers who do not know the Shariah.
He said that Friday
7/1/2000 was a day of Ramadan and the celebration of Eid on that day in
Saudi Arabia was wrong. Doctor Qaradawi had not observed previous months
and had gone wrong in Sha’ban. He began Ramadan one day later, on Thursday
whereas Ramadan had begun on Wednesday as per observation of Ahillah and
calculation of lunar dates. The Hilal did not appear on Wednesday 29th of Ramadan and 30 days were completed on Thursday 6-1-2000AD.
Friday was the first of Shawwal the day of Eid. The fatwa of Dr.Qaradawi
created confusion among the scholars. He had no time to study this topic
thoroughly and did not respond when clarification about his fatwa was
9. Comments by Ali manikfan
on “Shariah aspects on the utility of the Imkane-Ru’yah based calendar by
Moulana Muhamed Burhanudeen Alsanbahly, Nadwathul Uloom University”
The statement “these
can have negative effects on our life with respect to Islamic law” while
referring to advances in science is not correct. Islamic law is nothing but
Quran and Sunnah. But the “laws” derived may contain many things contrary
to Islam and that indeed will have negative effect if they are not
corrected according to human knowledge.
knowledge will not suffice. Practical experience is necessary to understand
“Soomoo li ru’uyathihi”. The command of the Prophet (saw) “Soomoo li
ru’uyathihi” has not been practiced in the proper way. We have never looked
in to the sky and tried to find out the Islamic dates by observing the
Hilals or the Ahillah. All the studies carried out to this day are for a
single Hilal, not for the Ahillah mentioned in the Quran. All these studies
are in vain as they are not based on the Quran and Sunnah. They do not help
us find out the criterion for fixing the dates according to Quran and
Sunnah. We simply follow what is written in books with out verifying it by
observation as commanded by the Prophet (saw). We believe that mere seeing
of the crescent is the criterion for beginning the months. There are 12
months and “Soomoo li ru’uyatihi” applies to all months. Do we agree with
Islam is natural,
simple, right and straightforward. It is neither crooked nor difficult.
Islamic calendar too must be perfect and easy to calculate. It must be
applicable to the entire world for all time. How can a calendar be drawn in
advance if one has to wait till he sees the crescent? A cloud may come in
the way and the Hilal may not be visible. In this case the month gets 30
days! It would appear that Allah (swt) has not fixed the Manazil for the
Moon. This contradicts the Quaranic verse 36:39. Now we have different
types of lunar calendars, all based on visbility. So different towns have
different dates for the same day and this makes the Muslims celebrate the
Eids on different days!
twilight and darkness are not parameters of time. But they are only means
to know passage of time. There are places in the world where these
phenomena are not appreciated. What would people do there? Have not prayers
to be observed there? Is not fasting compulsory for people living there?
The Quran gives clear instructions for finding times of the day. “Establish
worship to the declines of the Sun till it goes to the darkness of night” (17:78)
and the Prophet (saw) explained five different angles for prayer times.
To understand the
Ayah 10:5 one must have sufficient knowledge pertaining to heavenly bodies.
Without this one cannot grasp its proper meaning. The Quran is an
everlasting treasure of knowledge for those who try to understand and pray
earnestly “Rabbi zidnee ilman”.
As far as the Hadees
“Soomoo li ru’uyathihi” is concerned the interpretation given to Ahadees of
Bukhari and Muslim are misleading. The word “ru’ya” does not mean ‘sighting’.
It should be translated as “fast depending on its view and break the fast
depending on its view and when it is not seen count the month as thirty”.
The real meaning is not understood and people are led to believe that
months of 29 and 30 are interchangeable. This has been happening for a very
long time because of the wrong interpretation given to the word “ru’ya”.
The confusion would vanish if one tries the method of the Prophet (saw) for
himself without relying on the sightings of the people. Most often people
see a Hilal that is not present in the Horizon. It happens due to illusion.
The author says
further “it is worth noting here that Rassoolullah (saw) based the
beginning of the month on sighting the Hilal with the naked eyes, not on
the Hilal actually being above the horizon nor on the logical possibility
of sighting it. When he says, “if you could not”, this will include the
situations where the Hilal is actually above the horizon but it cannot be
sighted because of barriers like cloud or dust”. This interpretation
negates the Ayaths in Quran regarding the months and the calculation of
their dates. We should at least accept the views of Imams that the month
confirmed at one place on earth by observation must be applicable to all
people in the world. The Prophet (saw) has seen the full moon, half moon
etc but we do not have any record that the Prophet (saw) saw the Hilal. Can
any one produce a Hadith to this effect?
interpretation of the Hadith: “Do not fast until you see it (the Hilal),
and then fast until you see it. If a cloud covers it continue counting to
thirty (days)”. The actual Hadith is “la thasoomoo hatha tharawul Hilala wa
la thufthiroo hatha tharawhu fa in gumma alaikum fakmiloo iddatha salaseen”
it means, “do not fast without observing the Hilal and do not break fast
without observing it. If it becomes dubious, count 30 days.” Rassoolullah
said this because month may be 29 also. Since they did not know
calculations, observation alone could help them gauge the months correctly.
The calendar then in vogue was artificial lunar calendar, which had months
with fixed duration repeating every year. It was not permissible because
dates of this calendar did not tally with the phases and Manazil of the
Moon. The whole thing is misunderstood because the Hadees is wrongly
interpreted without understanding the subject. It is better for us to study
Astronomy and the related subjects before interpreting the verses of the
Quran and Ahadees concerning it. It is not proper for us to talk about the
Islamic calendar revealed in the Book of Allah (swt) without understanding
the verses relating to it. It would be wrong to think that Rassoolullah
(saw) too did not look at the sky and did not know about the Sun and the
Moon. Every one of us know the fact that a calendar cannot be drawn a year
in advance without calculations. If we do not have a calendar we will be
compelled to use the Christian solar calendar or the artificial Jewish
Lunar Calendar for our daily affairs.
continues: “to clarify this we say: The Moon in her astronomical movement
reaches a point where she coincides exactly (in celestial longitude) with
the Sun. This continues for 2 to 3 minutes, then she moves away from the
Sun and the distance between them increases. The Moon will be separate but
can only be seen from the Earth approximately 13 hours from separation.
Obviously during the period between separations to the time it is sighted
by naked eye, no Islamic rules involving law can be based on it at all.”
It is not an opinion
of his own but he is simply repeating the views of those who have no
knowledge in the subject. He has not understood the topic properly and that
could be more dangerous than having no knowledge at all.
In fact the Sun is far
away from the Earth while the Moon is near to it. When the Sun and the Moon
are in the same line the lighted side of the Moon is invisible only to a
particular place on the Earth. A small portion of the lighted side is
always visible from other parts of the world. This happens because of
parallax. The Moonset lags behind Sunset at some places about 9 hours
before conjunction. The author without knowledge of Astronomy gives wrong
ideas about lunar months. He fails to understand that a month is the time taken
by the moon to go round the Earth calculated with reference to the Sun
around which the Earth is rotating. The crescent becomes visible to naked
eye only 24 hours after conjunction. If the months begin after seeing the
crescent, dates will go out of phase with the Manazil of the Moon. and
Quran 2:189, 10:5 do not allow this.
The author ignores
that a year has often more months of 30 days and in all these cases the
months begin before one could see the crescent with the naked eye. The
argument that every Islamic month as per Shariah should begin after seeing
the crescent with the naked eye is baseless.
Even if all the blind people in the world unanimously call a
day night it cannot be true. Similarly if all the Ulemas say something
about heavenly bodies on which they have no knowledge it cannot be
accepted. Any body can acquire knowledge. Why should we fail to understand
the truth? If Al Hafiz Ebn Hijr Al Asqalani said something incongruent with
Quran and Sunnah we should not accept it.
If “Ru’uyah” means
seeing with naked eye, then his method is not practical on the Earth. Some
people will see the crescent after 1 day and some others after 2 days. This
results in more than one date for a single day in the world. This is not
permissible in Islam. The Prophet (saw) said “fasting is on the day when
the people fast” meaning that all should commence fasting on the same day.
No scientist would
give the exact time of the Hilal visibility because none can predict the
weather conditions, which change every moment on the Earth. People see the
Hilal even when it is not present. This sort of seeing of the Hilal cannot
mark the end or beginning of the month in the Shariah.
and experiments Author continues: “These leave us more sure about what the
Prophet (saw) said: “we are illiterate nation, we do not write nor do we
compute. A month is this and this, one time 29 and another time 30”.
(Bukhari and Muslim)”
“Islamic nation must
remain in the illiterate condition forever” does not go with the teachings of
Prophet (saw) who said acquire knowledge even from China. Not only people
of Arabia but also the people of entire world were illiterate then. Only a
few people knew how to read and write. Paper was not invented. Writing
material was meager. If the Muslim nation were to remain in that condition
forever the first verse of the Quran would not have been “Read in the name
of thy Lord who created, created man from Alaque. Read by your Lord most
generous who taught by the pen, taught man what he did not know.”
Ibn Hijr’s statement
was also misinterpreted to give a wrong idea. In those days astronomy had
not developed. People thought that the Earth was flat, that the Earth was
stationary and that the Sun and the stars revolved around the Earth! Few
people had some knowledge about the apparent movement of the stars and the
planets and they attributed certain powers to them. They believed that some
of them were gods that brought sickness and bad fortune for them. The
Prophet (saw) condemned all these conjectures. But he never condemned the
science of astronomy. Their months had fixed days regularly alternating
between 29 and 30. The Prophet (saw) instructed that Ahillah of the Moon
indicated the dates and sometimes months would be 29 and sometimes 30
according to Ahillah of the Moon. They did not know their laws and
calculations. Hence observation of Ahillah was necessary to discern the
month of 29 and 30. It is true that they were illiterate. But Islam made it
compulsory for men and women to acquire knowledge. How can the illiterate
Ummah guide other people? The Prophet (saw) never meant that if a cloud
obstructed the view one could convert a month of 29 to 30 when one knew
about it. For example, people of a locality could not observe the Ahillah
of the Moon for 3 or 4 months consecutively. Then, 4th of 5th month could not have 30 days. This indicates
that it is not mere seeing but the systematic observation of the Ahillah
that the Prophet (saw) meant by the Hadith- “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi wa
afthiroo liru’uyathihi”. But the painfully strange interpretation of this
Hadith that whenever a cloud came in the way a month could get 30 is
maintained as correct.
As long as people
did not have watches they relied upon their eyesight to know the time of
Salaat. But when they got reliable instruments they no longer looked at the
Sun to gauge time. Similarly as long as people did not know how to
calculate they looked at the Ahillah of the Moon to estimate their dates.
Now when we have the correct method to calculate dates we can adopt it as
well because Allah (swt) has said in His Book “the Sun and the Moon are
with calculations” (55:5). If we accept calculations of the Sun but not
that of the Moon we accept one and deny the other.
The Prophet’s (saw)
order “Soomoo li ru’uyathihi” is not practiced in the proper way. This is
not only for Ramadan but for entire months as well. If we followed the
command of the Prophet (saw) we would have understood the proper meaning of
this saying. Despite having knowledge we do not obey the Prophet (saw) and
we are misled in the process. Actually the crescent becomes visible only on
the first day of the month and not on the last day as imagined by the
people. Then, how could the Hadith mean ‘seeing with naked eye’? Of course
all the observations are made by naked eye. The Prophet (saw) said “Allah
has made Ahillah as indicators of dates for mankind; so (you) fast at its
view and celebrate the Eid at its view. If it becomes dubious due to clouds
or other conditions then complete 30 days for Sha’ban”.
Arabian months had fixed dates of either 29 or 30 just as we have 31 days
always for January in the Christian Calendar. Their Sha’ban had 29 days and
Ramadan 30 days always. The Prophet (saw) refuting this, ordered his
followers to observe Ahillah of the Moon and judge their dates accordingly.
By observing Ahillah wise people devised methods to compute the Manazil of
the Moon on which depend Ahillah. Those who have never looked at the sky do
not understand the signs that Allah (swt) set for computing the calendar.
The method of the Prophet (saw) is practicable in all ages for the learned
and the illiterate alike.
The dates computed
by calculation can be verified by observation of Ahillah. But people are
not aware of the Moon’s Ahillah though Allah (swt) has clearly said that it
was made for people to compute dates (Quran: 10:5). The Ummah will never
agree upon a falsehood and that is why they have been quarrelling over the
Hilal and celebrating Eid on different days even though it happens due to their
Astronomy was not
developed till recent times. Only Astrology prevailed in the days of Imam
Subki ® and others. They were not aware of Astronomical calculations and
laws of the heavenly bodies. Modern Astronomy took off only after the path
breaking observation by Galileo when he found with the aid of telescope
that moons of Jupiter perambulated Jupiter. Then the theory of gravitation
was developed by Isaac Newton and discoveries followed. How could we say
then that people of Subki’s time knew Astronomy when Astronomy itself was
not developed? On the other hand the Prophet (saw) and the Ulema condemned
Astrology. Learning Astrology is haram in Shariah while learning Astronomy
is Fard kifaya. The option “then complete counting to thirty days” arises
only when people are confused not being able to judge whether month is 29
or 30. Here thirty days are completed not because it is a month of 30 but
because of one’s inability to judge whether it is 29 or 30. No one has
authority to change a month of 29 to one of 30. If one were to base the
beginning of the month on the sighting of Hilal then Muslims cannot make
the calendar. Are the Muslims allowed to borrow the Gregorian calendar? Is
this allowed in Islam? What has happened to the calendar of Islam?
It is worth
recalling the statement attributed to Al Shatby that “every meaning that
contradicts with Islamic fundamentals or logical rules is unreliable”. The
view that the beginning of the month should be based upon seeing the
crescent contradicts not only the fundamentals of Islam but also the
The statement of Al
Suyooti that “if you see a Hadith contradicting logic then know it is
false”. According to this statement if the Hadith “Soomoo liru’uyathihi” is
translated as “fast when you see the crescent” it will contradict the logic
for when the crescent comes to our sight one or two days of the month would
have already passed and the dates would be out of phase with the moon’s
Manazil and when two months of 29 repeat, the crescent would appear one day
in advance, that is on 28th. Most of the people do not have experience
or knowledge about this. Quran condemns making statements without
Astronomy is based
on the verified facts by the eye observation and not on mere conjectures
and the facts of Astronomy cannot be ignored. Finally we would request
humbly that all of us should be prepared to obey the orders of Rassoolullah
(saw) that we should observe the Hilals (Ahillah) every month as required
in “Soomoo liru’uyathihi”. If we do this we would realize that the months
of 29 and months of 30 should not be interchanged because Allah (swt) has
not permitted this. The Prophet (saw) has not made anything lawful without
the permission of Allah (swt).
ru’uyatihi” does not in any way mean that the Imkane ru’uya is the basis
for the Islamic calendar.
10. Comments by Ali
manikfan on “Unification of Islamic calendar and the problem of
Ikhthilaf-E-matale by Dr. Muhammed Jufail, International Islamic
The author agrees
that Muslim Ummah has a calendar of their own and Quran and Hadees give the
rules for this calendar. He too like others argues that the seeing of the
crescent with the naked eye is the only criterion that defines the months.
“Soomoo li ru’uyathihi wa afthiroo li ru’uyathihi” means we should observe
the Hilal every month on 29th and decide the months accordingly. If this
is done all doubts and ambiguities that prevail in the Islamic world
regarding the so-called moon sighting will vanish. We would understand that
seeing the crescent is not the criterion. Writers of these articles are not
astronomers and they are not competent to make any comments on the
astronomical points. The author has not pondered over the words of Allah
(swt) in the verse 10:5. He translates ‘number of years’ instead of ‘number
of ages’ and calculations. As he is not an astronomer he fails to
understand the meaning conveyed by that Ayath. He has not made experiments
and tried to find out the months by practicing “Soomoo li ru’uyatihi”.
He too like others
interprets Ru’uyah as seeing just as his contemporary ulema. The
‘Ru’uyah’ should be rendered as ‘observation’ in English. “La
thasoomoo hatha tharawhu” would mean, “do not fast until you observe the
hilal”. The meaning is that the months should not begin before or after the
exact day fixed for it. Advancing or delaying by one or two days is not
allowed. The author considers the Mathalia for visibility of the crescent
whereas all the Imams and eminent scholars have said that in the case of
the moon the difference of Matla should not be considered. All should begin
the month on the same day and celebrate the Eid on the same day everywhere
in the world irrespective of the differences in the Mathalia of the moon.
Two days of Eid i.e. Eid on Friday and Saturday is not allowed. If it is
allowed the order of the Prophet (saw) not to fast on Eid day will have no
meaning. Some people would be compelled to fast on Eid day while is not
allowed in the Shariah. This important point is somehow overlooked. As a
result there are regional Hijra calendars whereas Allah orders the Ummah to
follow one calendar based on the phases of the moon.
11. Comments by Ali manikfan on “The controversy in regard to
the religious requirement of physical sighting of the new moon in South
Africa. Professor Dr.Syed Habil ul Haqq, University of Dublin-Westville.”
The author too has
the same wrong views about the Hilal. He has not conducted any practical
experiments with the Hilal observation. He depends on the reports of common
people seeing the Hilal and their decisions of Ramadan and Eid basing on
this imaginary sighting of the Hilal.
Most often the 29th of Sha’ban is wrong. They look for the Hilal one day late and
when they do not see it, they add one more day thereby delaying Ramadan by
one or two days. When they get information from other places, they do not
accept believing it is false seeing. They say that Ibn Abbas ® rejected the
report of Kuraib and so they will also reject the reports. They do not
realize that he rejected the report because it was unreliable, not because
it was from a far off place. When they do not believe each other they
cannot be called ‘believers’.
Imam Abu Hanifa,
Imam Malik, Imam Shafi and Imam Ahmad bin Hambal ® all have the same
opinion that the month fixed at one place on the basis of observation of
the Hilals must be acceptable to all those who get this information
provided it is authentic. But the Ulema of today (1423AH) say that it
should not be accepted.
A date stands for a
particular day of the week, which has a name. So, two dates cannot be used to denote one
according to them different cities will have different dates while all
cities have the same day. Thus Islamic calendar is rendered baseless,
impractical and ridiculous. We therefore, request the Ulema who say that
the “Ru’uya” means “seeing the Hilal with naked eye only” to observe the
Hilals or Ahillah every month and then take their decision instead of
writing irrelevant things and causing disharmony and confusion in the
12. Comments by Ali
manikfan on “Anomalies in the Ruet-I-Hilal by Professor Dr. A.F.N Abdul
Rahman, University of Dacca.”
believes that the days start at sunset. It starts at daybreak. The Prophet
(saw) taught that a day is comprised of five prayers and the first prayer
is Fajre. Islam is the natural religion. Night is the resting time and day
is for work. (78:10, 11) The new day begins after the people get up from
sleep at dawn.
It is true that
people who did not know the date calculations of the lunar calendar
confirmed the beginning of the month after observing the Hilal in the
evening when the observation of the Hilal is finalized. The day or date
does not start at the time. It starts before the rising of the sun next
Observation of the
Hilal systematically for 12 months from Muharam to Muharam will make it
clear that Ru’uyate Hilal does not mean just seeing of the crescent and
starting the month at the time of seeing it. It means observation of the
Hilal to confirm the presence of the moon in the western horizon somewhere
in the world. The Hilal is seldom visible. The date begins with the day
It is true that
there are Hilal committees everywhere. But the members of these committees
do not know anything about the movements of the heavenly bodies. They do
not know from where the moon rises. Most of them say it rises from the
west! They fix the 29th of Sha’ban as they like without proper
observation of the Hilal for three previous months and ask the people to
see whether the Hilal is seen on that day evening. Rajab is one of the
sacred months and its dates must be correct. For this they should observe
the Hilal from Muharam itself which too is one of the sacred months. Most
often these months have wrong dates in the printed calendars. People see a
Hilal of their own imagination and the month is fixed on this basis. How
can a sensible man say that this is the method, which the Prophet (saw)
taught the people?
The author gives an
example of the anomalies stating “This is exactly what happened during the
last Hajj and Idul Adha of Hijra 1411. Announcement for Hajj was made from
Saudi Arabia to fall on Friday, 21st June 1991, which
according to Islamic calendar was 9th of Zul Hijja.
According to the data prepared by Dr. Ilyas, the 9th of Zilhijja also falls on Friday, 21st June 1991. This data compilation is applied to the
Asia-Pacific region. Hence it should have applied to the region in which
his country Bangladesh is situated. But the Ru’uyat-e- Hilal Committee
announced that 1st Zul Hajj falls on 15th June and as a result Idul Adha was observed on 24thJune 1991, which gave a glaring difference of two days between
the observances of the same festival in the same part of the globe. But
astronomically speaking there can be at the most a difference of only one
day between the observances of the same festival in any part of the Muslim
world. Who is to blame for these anomalies in the sighting of the crescent
moon? Obviously, the Ru’uyath-e-Hilal Committee. The Ru’uyath-e-Hilal
Committee is generally composed of the Ulema of the country who advise the
relevant government organization to announce the sighting of the new moon”.
The author just as
the ulemas and the Muslim astronomers does not know the criterion of fixing
the lunar months in Islam. The astronomers who do not understand the Quran
and Sunna cannot know the correct criterion. The Ulema who do not
understand astronomy cannot derive the astronomical rules from the Quran
and Sunna. It is like the blind leading the blind. The author of this
article too does not know the facts. He does not know the correct criterion
for finding out the Islamic lunar months. He too like others believes that
seeing the Hilal with the naked eye is the criterion. He does not know that
Hilal is seldom visible. He has stated many astronomical matters without
understanding the meaning.
The correct date of
Hajj of 1411 AH falls on the 9th of Zul Hijja 1411 corresponding Friday the
21st of June 1991. The statement that Dr.Ilyas
also gives the same date is not correct. Dr. Ilyas calculates the dates
basing on Imkane Ru’uya of the Hilal that is possibility of visibility of
the crescent to the naked eye. The Ummul Qura calendar is based on the
scientific calculations. Then how could Dr. Ilyas’ date of Hajj coincide
with that of Makkah? The Ulema are so ignorant that they did not accept the
correct lunar date of Makkah and they rejected the views of all Imams that
those who receive the information must do accordingly. It is only the
arrogance and ignorance of the Ulema that mislead the people from the true
path of Allah.
statements of the author given below are not correct.
1. “The moon must be
past the actual position of conjunction and should lag behind the sun at 25
minutes so that it sets in the western horizon some time later than the
sun”. 25 minutes difference is not enough for the crescent to be visible to
the naked eye. A minimum of 48 minutes is required.(Please note that this
visibility is not the criterion to determine the months in the shariah)
2. “The moon should
be sufficiently high up in the crescent state of its birth in the western
sky at the time of sunset (generally at an altitude of 50 to 70 from the western horizon) so that it does
not get lost in the red glow of the twilight”. 50 to 70 degrees of separation is not enough to make
the seeing of the crescent possible to the naked eye. 50 to 70 will give the time lag of 20 to 28 minutes
only. The separation should be more than 120 equaling 48 minutes
lag to make it possible to see the crescent.
3. “The age of the
moon at sunset should be at least 12 hours to 20 hours so that it may grow
sufficiently in size to reflect necessary light for its visibility with the
naked eye”. This is same as what is said above. The age of the moon should
be more than 24 hours to make it visible to the naked eye in a very clear
atmosphere. The author has not made any experiments with the moon sighting.
He has simply copied what others have said.
The author like Dr.
Ilyas believes that the criterion for defining the months in the Shariah is
seeing the crescent with the naked eye. If the month already got 30 days
the next month begins irrespective of the crescent without seeing it. In
such cases seeing or knowing the position of the moon is not necessary in
the Shariah. The following statement of the author “Hence the beginning of
the month of Zul hijja this year (1411.H) on 13th of June 1991 was possibly one day ahead of its correct
beginning. We in Bangladesh, were equally wrong to say that the Zul Hijja
moon was not sighted on 13th June evening” is also wrong. He does not
know astronomy and he does not know how to observe the Ahillah of the moon.
He has not made his own observations and attempts to find out the months.
He simply relies on what others say. His statements are confusing.
The Zul Qaida of
1411H had only 29 days according to the Manazil of the moon. The new moon
took place on 12.06.1991 Wednesday at 12 hours 06 m UT. So 13.06.1991
Thursday should be the first of Zul hijja 1411AH at all costs. If one
wanted to see the crescent it will be difficult to see it even on the 13th due to many reasons. The author has not carried out
experiments to find out the truth. He has gone wrong in his unfounded
He is right in
saying that “Instead of expanding the horizon of astronomy, we have shrunk
to zero except for a few amateur astronomical societies of some adolescent young
enthusiasts having no formal astronomical background. Now our science
students look vacantly when the space age exploits are flashed in
newspapers and they come across terms like satellites, meridian transit,
conjunction, zenith, constellation, parallax etc”. The author agrees that
something is wrong in our present method of fixing our Islamic dates. He
feels that the Ulema and the scientists should sit together and learn from
each other and solve the longstanding problem.
We request the authors who published their papers to sit
together and search the truth for the Ummah. It is their duty and if they
do not do this they will certainly be held responsible for chaos created in
the Muslim Ummah during their Eids. “Certainly the grip of your Lord is very
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