Recently we are again having this controversy between Fawad Chaudry and Mufti Muneeb regarding the Sighting of the moon. The idea behind writing on this issue is to clarify misconceptions revolving around this topic as this new trend of putting everything in the context of Religion vs Science is creating illogical debates, that will never lead to any conclusions. The problem with many such people (mostly liberal friends) is that they neither understand science nor religion. They are just good at selling their world view in the name of “Enlightenment”. I will discuss the flaws in this idea of Pre-determination both in terms of science and religion (Islam).
First, before driving any ruling the person must be fully aware of the foundations of Islamic jurisprudence. You cannot just give rulings based on your own understanding of the concepts especially when it comes to religious practices.
So, what is the Islamic principle regarding the determination of the start or end of Month?
صوموا لرؤيته وأفطروا لرؤيته فإن غم عليكم فأكملوا العدة ثلاثين
“Fast when you see it (the new moon), and break the fast when you see it; and if it clouded over (so you can’t see the moon) then complete the month to 30 days.”
This means it’s not about the existence (as in case of Prayer timing that is why you use Clock (science) ), it is about actual Physical sighting- if it was about existence in that case calculating the new moon would be acceptable as Lunar and other calendars existed even during the Time of Prophet P.B.U.H. So, in whatever case, this Pre-determining the month based on the calculation of the astronomical new moon is against the essence of Islam. Moreover “If clouded” clearly rules that out. If still people want liberalization of Islam why just stick to this case? Why not let SPARCO send Fawad Chaudry to Moon so that he can give Live feed on every 29th of Ramadan and once for all settle this dispute? In that case, we can sight moon even during Rain, eventually ending the 30th. #Say_No_to_30th.
“Khud Badalte Nahin, Quran Ko Badal Dete Hain
Huwe Kis Darja Faqeehan-e-Haram Be-Toufeeq! Iqbal R.A
The Scientific Flaws
Apart from the religious reasons even the methods for which “Enlightened” Fawad Chaudry is advocating for are inaccurate and scientifically unreliable. These sighting charts which are based on the danjon limit are no longer an authentic way for determination of the Sighting of the Moon. According to Research at the University of Durham “Danjon’s 7° limit should actually be revised to 7.5°”. Apart from that according to another research Danjon limit is no longer valid. (Reference Given)
Moreover, These scientific predictions can’t be taken in account in order to decide the fate of sighting of the moon on a particular day because these models fail to take in account many variables which can influence the Moon Sighting by any human being: including Wind direction, Humidity, the scattering of light in the atmosphere, etc.
But having said that in terms of Science we can use calculations and modern simulations for knowing where and when to look for the moon, how high it will be in the sky, and what are the chances of its visibility. Guess what this is exactly how the Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee filters out testimonies. But if Media tells you that who will listen to that Astronaut driving Pakistan to Moon.
“Second day Moon”
(Yeh to Dosra Din ka Chand hay)
Another problem is many people majority from KPK often share pictures of Moon on the Second day, calling it moon of the second day and the majority have missed a day. Again, the problem is about the sighting and existence of the Moon. For instance, if on the first day, the age of the moon was 13 hours it will set without becoming visible to the naked eye. On the very next day at the same time, it is age will be 13+24= 27 which means bigger and more visible. Thus, age is not the primary factor for the moon’s visibility. And all of you would be bashing Mufti Muneeb and Moon sighting committee for missing two days without even bothering to understand the basics of Science and Religion. That is why I request to all my fellow Pakistan do not show your ignorance by commenting on subjects you are not aware of.”Har banda Mufti hay Har banda Scientist hay.”
Apart from that when talking about the rituals the real objective lies in its spirit and everyone can understand that. Mostly, which are not apparent isn’t it the curiosity of Sighting of Moon, which makes it more interesting, Entertaining and beautiful chaand kab hai?” Pata nhi kal Eid ho gae ya nhi? That happiness when you hear the news is the real moment. Why give up on your own rituals, culture, and civilization Just because of a dude living in DHA thinks your religion is outdated. The wave of Western civilization conquest of Islamic civilization is another topic but is interrelated but let us leave it for some other time.
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Author: Talha Ahmad (Editor in Chief PSF)
About Author: Talha Ahmad is a Freelance Journalist. He is an independent Geo-Political Analyst, commentator, and keen observer of International relations. Talha Ahmad opinions have been featured in different News-websites like Daily times, Pakistan Today, Global Village Space, Morning Mail. He can be reached on twitter @talhahamad967.
Note: The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Pakistan Strategic Forum.