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By Eng Qamar Uddin (ICOUK[1]), which was sent to Darul Uloom Bury on 10 April 2017 [download pdf] [Urdu/اردو]

The Darul Uloom Al-Arabiyyah Al-Islamiyyah, also known as Darul Uloom Bury is one of the oldest Islamic seminary (Muslims College) of its kind in the UK, which was established in 1973 by Maulana Yusuf Motala (حفظه الله). It is a boarding school for about 375 students (12 – 23 years old), to attend it’s 6 years Alim (Darse-e-Nizami) course. The vast majority of the students are from the UK residents of Asian parents, who subscribe to the Hanafi (Deobandi) Maslak and is connected to the Dawah & Tabligh efforts. It is estimated that a significant portion of the Imams in the UK mosques have been produced by this seminary, which is a great contribution to the religious needs of the UK Muslim communities, alleviating the need to import Imams from abroad.

The Darul Uloom Bury has always been a proponent of following Moon Sighting news from Saudi Arabia when the UK Muslims split from following Morocco in 1986 (see the History of UK following Saudi Arabia). In the early years of the split, the errors of Moon Sighting news from Saudi Arabia was not known so following Saudi Arabia was more of a convenience rather than a necessity for the UK Muslims. It was not until 1998 when ICOP (an International Moon Sighting volunteer group) was formed, who shared the monthly moon sighting news via the Internet, the obvious errors of Saudi Arabia news became very apparent, as stated below.

On Wednesday 17 March 1999, the New Moon Conjunction was at 18:48 GMT (21:48 Saudi LT). The Bolton (Bury) sunset was at 18:16 GMT and moonset was at 17:57 GMT.  The Makkah sunset was at 18:31 LT and moonset was at 18:18 LT. This means the moon was not even born until after both Makkah and Bolton sunset; and had gone below the horizon before the sunset of both places. As a result, the moon was impossible to be sighted anywhere in the world on that date. Yet, Saudi Arabia claimed the sighting of the moon earlier in the day (3.5 hrs before it was born) followed by 8 Darul Uloom Bury students (0.5 hr before it was born)! See link


On Wednesday the 17th of March 1999, seven of my colleagues and I were instructed by the principal of Darul-Uloom Bury, Maulana Yusuf Motala to attempt to sight the moon. We left the Madressah at 5.50 pm to climb the local Holcombe Hill upon which Peel Tower is situated. We reached the top at 6.05 pm and situated ourselves at the highest points in two different places. The sky was clear at the time of sunset and we managed to sight the moon at 6.30 pm. The moon remained visible for at least three to five minutes before we lost sight of it. The students who sighted the moon are:

Rashid Ahmed Esakjee, Age: 27 Imran Mulla, Age: 20 Shabbir Mulla, Age: 22
Mahmood Miah, Age: 20 Shakir Pandor, Age: 21 Ismail Badat, Age: 22
Shahzad Khan; Age: 21 Zainul Abedin Yakub, Age: 22  

Note: It is the duty of the Hilal Committees to establish the truth without blaming the witnesses for their errors [or innocent mistakes].


Many moon sighing experts are well aware that the news from Saudi Arabia is influenced by their pre-calculated Ummul Qura calendar, biasing the witnesses towards it and hence they made an improvement in 2004 (which eventually came into effective from 2012). This improvement has shifted their Hijri date closer to predicted visibility for some months, but not all. [see Saudi Dating System, New Criteria]

Unfortunately, the scholars of Darul Uloom Bury have not changed their position from following Saudi Arabia over past 30 years and do not examine the accuracy/validity of reports required by Shariah. And, since their students are the Imams of many UK Mosques, the division/split at Ramadan and two Eids continues year-after-year on an ongoing basis.

Therefore, our ICOUK members would like to request the scholars of Darul Uloom Bury to review their moon sighting position and consider adopting the Regional Moon Sighting Criteria for the UK, which has been proven to work satisfactorily under the UK adverse weather conditions over many years.

Ref: Solar eclipse proves the inaccuracy of the Saudi Ummul Qura calendar (link)