TABLE 1

1st of Islamic Date
(1413)
Date of ANM CALENDAR Difference between sunset
and moonset in Makkah
Predicted sighting
calendar
    Umm-ul-Qura Egyptian    
Muharram 30.6.92 1.7.92 2.7.92 +3 min 2.7.92
Safar 29.7.92 30.7.92 30.7.92 -20 min 1.8.92
Rabi Al-Awwal 28.8.92 29.8.92 30.8.92 +6 min 30.8.92
Rabi Al-Akhar 26.9.92 27.9.92 28.9.92 -11 min 29.9.92
Jamad Al-Awwal 25.10.92 26.10.92 27.10.92 -28 min 28.10.92
Jamad Al-Akhar 24.11.92 25.11.92 26.11.92 +3 min 26.11.92
Rajab 24.12.92 25.12.92 25.12.92 +19 min 26.12.92
Sha'baan 22.1.93 23.1.93 24.1.93 -9 min 24.1.93
Ramadan 21.2.93 22.2.93 22.2.93 together 23.2.93
Shawwaal 23.3.93 24.3.93 24.3.93 +8 min 25.3.93
Dhul Qa’da 21.4.93 22.4.93 23.4.93 -21 min 24.4.93
Dhul Hijjah 21.5.93 22.5.93 22.5.93 together 23.5.93
ANALYSIS OF THE UMM-UL-QURA CALENDAR

Dr Fadl Ahmed has confirmed that the Umm-ul-Qura calendar is prepared on the basis of CONJUNCTION TIME rather than on PREDICTABILITY OF CRESCENT MOON SIGHTING. As explained earlier, the solar month commences from midnight and the lunar month commences from sunset after sighting of the crescent moon. This basic fact is not taken into consideration in the preparation of the Umm-ul Qura calendar. Furthermore, the calendar is based on Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) and does not take into account the local Saudi time. For example, if the CONJUNCTION TIME is at 23:59 GMT, the new Umm-ul-Qura calendar month is commenced from the previous evening even though in Saudi Arabia the CONJUNCTION TIME is on the next solar day (3:00 am local Saudi time). A recent study has further highlighted this problem in Saudi Arabia[2].

BEGINNING OF THE LUNAR MONTH

When a crescent moon is not sighted on the 29th day of a month, the 1st day of the next Islamic lunar month will commence only after 30 days of the ongoing month are completed. This is the standard accepted principle for the beginning of the next month when the previous month commenced on the basis of a GENERAL PUBLIC sighting of the CRESCENT MOON by the naked eye. However, when the month was commenced due to the claimed sighting of a FEW WITNESSES, and a subsequent sighting on the 30th day was not made despite a clear sky)', then according to FIQH principle in this case, the next month will not be commenced merely on completion of 30 days. Rather it will be accepted retrospectively that the ongoing month was commenced on doubtful or false sighting of the witnesses. If their claimed sighting was correct then surely, a general public sighting of the crescent moon on the 30th day of the month would have been confirmed. There is no FIQH principle which says that the new month commences simply because 30 days of the ongoing month have been completed without referring to Ru'yah.

AN ISLAMIC CALENDAR BASED ON ACTUAL CRESCENT MOON SIGHTING

Countries like India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Morocco and some African countries base their months on the actual sighting of the crescent moon. They adopt this natural way of determining Ramadan and Eid and other Islamic lunar months. Their yearly calendar is based on the principle of PREDICTABILITY OF CRESCENT MOON SIGHTING. This is the very reason why the months of these countries are usually 1 day later than the Egyptian or Saudi Arabian calendar which are based on the principle of CONJUNCTION TIME which sometimes results in the Islamic lunar month starting even before the birth of the new crescent.

Today’s modern Media Information technology (TV, Satellite, cable etc.) allows news to travel all over the globe within seconds. Whilst this advancement has brought with it comforts and luxuries for the human society, it has also produced new religious problems. Among these is the issue of conflicting news regarding Ramadan and Eidain coming from various Muslim countries.

Muslims are naturally inclined to be influenced by the news coming from Saudi Arabia because of the high respect and honour for, the Two Holy Cities (Makkah and Madinah), the respect of the Ka'ba, and the dignity of the places of Pilgrimage. The premature declaration of Crescent Moonsighting (at occasions of Ramadan and Eid) emanating from Saudi Arabia is therefore accepted throughout the Muslim world and especially by Muslim minorities residing under the rule of others (in Europe, USA and other countries). This information does not usually tally with the news coming from the rest of the Muslim countries. This causes a sense of confusion among Muslim communities which often leads to heated arguments and unnecessary division in the Ummah.