An Analysis of the Saudi Arabian declaration regarding Ramadan and Eid shows that in order to accept their claims as valid, one has to swallow the following unbelievable factors:
- Accept a witness's claim of sighting while the moon has gone beneath the horizon at this time.
- Accept a witness's claim of having sighted the crescent moon for the MONTH OF RAMADAN even on the 27th of Sha'baan.
- Accept that Allah (The Almighty) has not ordained any specific laws for the moon and thus it orbits the earth randomly.
- Accept yet another person's claim of sighting when the moon has not even taken the form of a crescent (i.e. before the CONJUNCTION time). Believing this is like believing someone who claims to have seen a baby playing in its mother's lap before birth.
There are some people who without question accept Saudi Arabia's declaration as a valid Ru'yah. Have they ever taken the trouble of enquiring from the Saudi Arabian sources whether at the time of their claimed sighting, there is a possibility of crescent moon sighting or whether the moon is even present on the horizon?
For example: 1st Ramadan 1992 (1412 AH) according to Saudi Arabia was on 4th March. This means that the crescent in Saudi Arabia was sighted on the 3rd of March. The CONJUNCTION TIME was on Tuesday 4th March, 4:22 pm local Saudi time. Enquire from any observatory in the world whether a sighting was likely anywhere on the globe on Monday 3rd March 1992. Their unanimous answer will be in the negative. The moon cycle for the previous month (Sha'baan, 1412 AH) had not yet been completed. How could it be seen by the naked eye when the crescent moon was not even present on the horizon! If their claim was correct, it would have been surely confirmed by places on the west of Saudi Arabia on the same evening. In reality, it was not even seen on the next day (4th March 1992). All over the globe, the actual sighting was confirmed 2 or 3 days after the claimed sighting of Saudi Arabia.
TESTIMONY OF SIGHTING
Pre-requirements for a valid testimony of sighting includes the following:
- The qualifications of the witness (e.g. justice and truthfulness, reliability and validity, freedom from calumniation and slander, good eyesight).
- Predictability of crescent moon sighting as verified by the Observatory. i.e. what was the possibility of sighting like? Since for the crescent moon to be sighted, it has to be present on the horizon.
- Another rule of thumb for accepting a claimed sighting is that the sighting should be confirmed (pending good weather) at places on the west of the place where the claim was made. If despite good visibility the sighting is not confirmed at places on the west of the place of "claimed sighting" then such a claim should be rendered dubious and must be rejected.
We understand that SHARI'AH RULING should be based on the testimony which is genuine and totally free from any sense of doubt.
In view of recent epidemics of dubious and unreliable reports of moon sighting and over reliance on "prematurely imported" CRESCENT MOON from Saudi Arabia (even before the birth of CRESCENT MOON), the British Muslim community is left with no other plausible alternative than to rely heavily on THE ACCURATE PREDICTABILITY OF CRESCENT MOON SIGHTING IN THE UNITED KINGDOM based on ASTRONOMICAL CALCULATIONS (as confirmed by Greenwich Royal Observatory) before VALIDATING the news of any "claimed moon sighting", especially from abroad.
Regarding the orbit of the moon, astronomical calculations allow accuracy to the 1/1000th of a second for all places on the earth. However, other factors and restrictions may come in the way of a possible sighting by the naked eye. These limiting factors do not nullify the astronomical calculations nor will Ramadan or Eid be commenced solely on the basis of the calculated predictions of a sighting under circumstances of clear visibility. In clear weather conditions, the Islamic month starts/ends upon the sighting of the crescent moon by the naked eye.
There has never been a disagreement amongst the expert astronomers, both past and present, Muslim and non-Muslim about basic astronomical facts. All, including the publisher of the Umm-ul-Qura calendar of Saudi Arabia, are agreed upon the fact that the sighting of the crescent moon is impossible before or immediately after the CONJUNCTION TIME at any place on the globe. Any person can experience this fact practically and be convinced of its correctness. Those residing in Saudi Arabia or those who will be fortunate to be there from Ramadan to Hajj (1413) may wish to note the following dates:
- 21st February 1993 (Ramadan)
- 23rd March 1993 (Eid-ul-Fitr)
- 21st May 1993 (Dhul Hijjah)
For at least 30 minutes after sunset on these dates they should try to endeavour sighting the crescent moon. On 21 February and 22 May, there is no possibility of a sighting as the sunset and moonset times coincide. On 23rd March, the crescent will remain on the horizon in Makkah for about 8 minutes. Fix your gaze on the horizon and search for the crescent for the next 15 minutes. If you do not see the crescent however, don't be disappointed. If the weather is clear and the crescent is not sighted then celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr the following day will only mean that you have missed an obligatory fast of the blessed month of Ramadan.