The frequent unpleasant, unfortunate and avoidable controversy of Moon Sighting

It is in the domain of  the religious scholars to decide what procedure and process is to be adopted to make sure that moon indicating the arrival of Eid-ul-Fitr is sighted or not.

I’m an ordinary Muslim and I find myself at my wit’s end when once in few years we encounter the same controversy, same confusion and same inconsistency of the decision maker. We find our Ulemas measuring swords against each other about a simple physical appearance. We fast and pray the whole month and I’m sure none of us wants to shorten the period of 30 days fast to 29 dys. We have had enough of food festivals in the holy month.

Our refrigerators were filled with Seher and Iftar essentials. We have had ensured the finest of Eid dresses that were ready on time, and we had occasionally thought of our poor relatives also arranging Iftars in mosques, social and political gatherings so that people must realize and accept our status in society. Allah has showered His bounties upon us and we are thankful to Allah Almighty for that. We think of poor sometimes in this month.

But one suspense that fails the imaginations of Ibne Safi, James Hadley Chase and Agatha Christi hangs like Domocle’s sword – Tomorrow there would be Eid or not?

For many of us the celebration of Eid al-Fitr should be tied to the sighting of the moon in each country and should not be linked with the celebration of Eid al-Fitr in Saudi Arabia. It is Moon Sightingone issue where there is emphasis upon the disunity as the time difference is vital. But there should be unity in every country until and unless is too large like a continent. Between the cities and town situated in the neighboring provinces there should be no differences.

What does the Muslim unity mean? It means that all Muslims should treat each other with brotherly sympathy and affection and should not spread disorder and dissention among them. Nor should they invent new ideas foreign to the teachings of Quran and the Sunnah which may lead to division and conflict among Muslims.

We have evolved the idea of Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee (the official body for moon sighting and the authority which declares the official start of Islamic months) or some Moulana from Lucknow with their bloated egos but we always juggle with their ability or inability to see the moon. We blame the poor weather, the absence of evidence and some strange undecipherable politics of Moulanas and Ruet-i-Hilal Committee. It is pathetic that in modern times when the other races are conquering the journey of Moon we’re fighting about the sight of moon.

We, the Muslims, in all of our communities and sects are blessed with Scientific Scholars who can help us to reach upon a reasonable conclusion about the sighting of moon. Isn’t possible for our Ulemas to sit together with the scientific gentry and understand this moon business?? There are plenty of modern scientific tools that can help us resolve this issue.

If we shed our ego and meet with open mind and honest approach then it is not an issue at all. Science has no prejudice. It is based on proven facts. A section of Islamic scholars believe that seeing the moon with the naked eye should be the criterion for declaring the start of a new month. A smaller section advocates that we can rely solely on the calculations, and there is no need to visually see the moon. The official and unofficial moon sighting committees ask people to testify if they have seen the moon.

Today, astronomy can accurately establish the time of birth of the new moon with the accuracy of seconds, and its likelihood of being visible. So, what is the harm in using this astronomical basis to reject a claimed sighting which could not possibly be correct? Can’t we sit together – our Shia and Sunni Ulema with the Muslim’s Scientific Community before the final declaration of moon sight in evey specific region at least, and save ourselves from becoming the but of jokes before other advance people?

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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Eid Mubarak

Eid-ul-Fitr is a festival that marks the end of the Holy month of Ramazan. This joyous day is celebrated to give thanks for the blessings of Ramadhan. Muslims attend the congregational Eid prayer service which is held in the morning. They wear new clothing, cook delicious food and invite friends and neighbors to celebrate with them. Fasting during Ramazan inspires sympathy for the hungry and needy, and encourages Muslims to donate generously to the poor. It is also an occasion for prayers when the Muslims stand shoulder to shoulder, to demonstrate the equality and equity which is the inherent feature of Islamic society all over the world.

It is the most important festival in the Islamic calendar (Muslim Holiday). It is interesting to know that this day does not mark any historical event or episode. It is just a thrilling joyous day that provides the Muslims an occasion to offer thanks to Allah for having given them the strength and the will to observe fast during the holy month of Ramadan.  The greatest significance of this day of rejoicing lies in the fact that on this day every Muslim is enjoined to give the needy food at the rate of the prescribed weight per every member of his household, including servants and guests who were sheltered under his roof the preceding evening. It is called FITRA. Based on this deed, the day is called Eid-ul-Fitr. In nutshell we can say – It is the day for the haves to share a portion of what they have with the have-nots.

This day also offers an opportunity of spiritual stock-taking. We ponder over the strength of our will or the weakness of our character. For those who disobeyed the commands of Allah in past, this is the finest chance to confess the pangs of their conscience, inner struggle and continuous realization of the feebleness of their character. We fast the 30 days of Ramazan and avail and enjoy the spiritual, social, scientific and medical benefits from fasting. We are supposed to obey Allah, unquestioningly, without complaint, without regret, in humility and in charity.
We ask this day to Allah to forgive our sins and we believe that Merciful and Beneficent God confers His favors with a promise,”Oh My subjects, it is now for thee to ask for Me to give.”

It is the day to show, to express and demonstrate the measure of a man’s love for his Creator is his unquestioned obedience to the commands of the Creator.
On this day, we pray for the good of our neighbors irrespective of their caste, creed and religion; we pray for the bright future of our Mother Land and for the eternal happiness, prosperity, good will and unity in diversity of whole mankind.
Here I’m quoting the messages of few world leaders on this auspicious holy day:

Ayatullah Rouhani of Iran –The message reads, “I congratulate all Muslim governments and nations on Eid al-Adha which is manifestation of sincerity and faith in God Almighty. I hope that we will witness restoration of peace in the international community and friendship among the nations and the Muslim Ummah in particular, by taking advantage of teachings of divine prophets.” In the messages, he wished success, good health for his counterparts and dignity and happiness for the Muslim nations and governments.

In his Eid Greetings President Obama says: “Michelle and I extend our warmest wishes to Muslim communities in the United States and around the world as they celebrate Eid-al-Fitr. For Muslims, Ramadan has been a time of fasting, prayer and spiritual renewal. These past four weeks have also been a time to serve the less fortunate — a reminder of the obligations that people of all faiths have to each other. In the United States, Eid-al-Fitr speaks to the truth that communities of faith — including Muslim Americans — enrich our national life, strengthen our democracy and uphold our freedoms, including the freedom of religion. That is why we stand with people of all faiths, in the United States and around the world, in protecting and advancing this universal human right. On behalf of the American people, we congratulate Muslim Americans and Muslims around the world on this joyous day. Eid Mubarak.

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has released a message wishing Muslims “a very happy and peaceful Eid ul Fitr” – the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan:

“I want to send all Muslim families in the United Kingdom and around the world my best wishes for this very special time of Eid. The ending of the Holy month of Ramadan is a joyous time as families and friends join to together in celebration. This year many of you will come together to contemplate the appalling scenes we have witnessed on our streets and how our communities have been affected. Community spirit however remains strong in this country. I was particularly moved by the scenes of a united community coming together in Birmingham, not only to mourn the deaths of three young friends, but also to issue a strong message of unity and cohesion with people of other faiths. Peace, forgiveness and unity are the spirit of Eid. They are important messages now and will remain so long into the future. I wish you all a very happy and peaceful Eid ul Fitr. Eid Mubarak.”

Naim Naqvi

Naim Naqvi

Did his graduation in Science discipline from AMU in 1972-73. He was Secretary of University Ali Society in 1970 and M.M. Hall Literary Society in early 70 's and member of Tayyabji Literary Society. Did his Diploma in Bakery Administration from HTT College Oxford Street London in 1987. Worked with National Herald - Delhi, Blitz - Bombay as Trainee Journalist and in Production Department with 'Naya Sansar Pictures' of Khwaja Ahmed Abbas at Bombay in early 70's. Traveled for study and training purposes to Germany, U.K., Switzerland, France, Dubai, Oman, AbuDhabi, Bahrain and Philepines.

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