We are aware of the following:-
Nigeria began fasting
Iraq, Yemen, Saudi, UAE, Qatar, Kuwait, Bahrain, Jordan, Palestine, Syria,
Lebanon, Egypt, Sudan, Libya, and Algeria began fasting
The rest of the world (except New Zealand and Pakistan) began fasting.
New Zealand and Pakistan began fasting.
We now ask ourselves, why 4 different days to begin the fast?
The answer, according to my research, lies in the various criteria utilised by
individual countries to mark the beginning of the lunar month. And most of the
criteria used is in direct conflict with Islamic Law.
The Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah explains in simple terms that the sighting of the
Hilaal begins the lunar month. Yet there are only two areas in the whole world
that have official crescent observers (sane, adult, honest, reliable,
experienced, upstanding) who observe on a continuous monthly basis, and only
their sighting reports are accepted as proof to begin each new month. These
areas are Southern Africa and Morocco. A positive sighting will result in a 29
day month and a negative sighting will yield a 30 day month.
When it comes to Eid-ul-Fitr we can expect the same chaotic situation that rears
its ugly face each and every year.
Can this unwanted situation be changed?
Yes it can. The winds of change can only be made by the various Ulama Councils.
They are the cause of the present chaos and as they are the people who make the
announcements, they have to change. They have to decide on whether to be ruled
by Allah’s Law or their individual interpretations of the Law. And if they are
willing to accept medical advice regarding their health, they should accept
astronomical advice regarding the possible appearance or non-appearance of the
young waxing crescent. Each individual also, has to empower himself/herself with
knowledge of the Divine Laws that determine the Islamic time-keeping system.
Islam is a perfect and logical way of life and the Laws governing our everyday
lives should have a single and simple interpretation. Unfortunately we have
created and upheld a priest class devoid of intelligent scholars.
When will the Shawwaal Hilaal be visible?
Astronomers work with models and these models may vary from latitude to
latitude. The model I use encompasses the altitude, duration, elongation, %
illumination, distance, width and celestial longitude/latitude of the moon at
sunset of the sighting evening.
On Wednesday, 02/11/2005 it is impossible to sight the Shawwaal crescent
anywhere east of the Americas.
A % illumination (reflected sunlight) of less than 00.90 %, together with a
width of less than 00o:00':11", and together with an elongation (angular
distance from the sun) of less than 10o:00':00" renders the crescent invisible
to the naked eye.
Let us examine the astronomical data for certain cities (east of the Americas)
at sunset on 02/11/2005:-
[in order of % illumination, width, elongation]
Osaka (Japan) - 00.14 % - 00°:00':03" - 04°:15':28"
Canberra (Australia) - 00.15 % - 00°:00':03" - 04°:28':42"
Beijing (China) - 00.17 % - 00°:00':03" - 04°:44':36"
Phnom Pehn (Cambodia) - 00.22 % - 00°:00':04" - 05°:23':12"
Singapore (Singapore) - 00.23 % - 00°:00':04" - 05°:29':51"
Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur) - 00.24 % - 00°:00':04" - 05°:33':30"
Dhaka (Bangladesh) - 00.25 % - 00°:00':05" - 05°:43':31"
Kabul (Afghanistan) - 00.30 % - 00°:00':06" - 06°:16':27"
Mumbai (India) - 00.31 % - 00°:00':06" - 06°:19':18"
Karachi (Pakistan) - 00.32 % - 00°:00':06" - 06°:26':48"
Teheran (Iran) - 00.36 % - 00°:00':07" - 06°:49':54"
Makkah (Saudia) - 00.42 % - 00°:00':08" - 07°:22':46"
Cairo (Egypt) - 00.43 % - 00°:00':08" - 07°:32':31"
Algiers (Algeria) – 00.54 % - 00°:00':10" - 08°:22':58"
Paris (France) – moonset before sunset
London (England) – moonset before sunset
Given perfect weather conditions, a sighting (difficult) may occur on the west
coasts of North and South America on the evening of 02/11/2005.
Therefore the actual day of Eid in all countries east of the Americas is Friday,
Dr Abdurrazak Ebrahim