Moon Sighting

All of the Moon Sighting News and Resources You Need

Home Introduction Calendars Slideshow Eid al-Adha Moonsighting FAQ Hilal Pictures Articles Why Confusion Updates Volunteers Links Archive

31 Days






Get all of your town's daily sun & moon information:


Eid al-Adha
Moonsighting FAQ
Hilal Pictures
Why Confusion


Shawwal has 31 days?


Islamic lunar month is never more than 30 days long. But many Muslims, by celebrating Eid-al- Fitr on Nov. 3, 2005 in N. America faced the reality that their Shawwal became 31 days long.


The moon WAS NOT BE SEEN in most of the USA on December 2, 2005. From Boston and New York to Chicago, all the way to Vancouver in Canada it WAS NOT SEEN. It proves beyond doubt that Eid on Thursday, Nov. 3 was WRONG.


ISNA, ICNA and other Muftis and Imams who succumbed to the public pressure should realize that Fiqh position of “a large number of witnesses from a large city”, advocated by Imam Malik, Imam Ahmad, Imam Abu Hanifa (later expanded to five hundred in Balkh) is the only reliable way not to missing the last day of Ramadan. Casual slick Muslim witnesses pass dubious claims as of “Adil” Muslims.


ISNA Muftis and Consultants Failed Muslims:


ISNA consultants ratified a “naked-eye sighting” claim by a single witness from Phoenix, AZ on 2 November 2005 against a unanimous declaration of astronomers that such a sighting is IMPOSSIBLE.

ISNA Muftis readily approved this claim as Islamically “credible” against overwhelming odds and declared Eid on the last day of Ramadan.


What happened to the scientific rule of “repeatability” before accepting a claim? Why did ISNA experts fail to consider the simple fact that all observers who were present at the same location with this person were unable to see any moon?


Why did ISNA Fiqh Council throw the “Ghalabat-al-Yaqeen” (Near-certainty), and “Jam-un Azeem” (a large number of witnesses from a town, if the sky is clear) Shariah requirements out of the window for ending Ramadan month?


Obviously, ISNA was desperate for Thursday Eid with those who had started Ramadan on Tuesday Oct. 4, 2005. Nov. 2 was their 30th day, and many of ISNA Fiqh Council members, including its president, Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui and Dr. Jamal Badawi, AdamElSheikh, etc. had to lead the local congregation. They did not care if other Muslims who started on Oct. 5 by ISNA’s own decision might miss a day of obligatory Ramadan fasting.


Durrani’s Expertise??


Durrani established his expertise in ISNA by certifying 1989 and 1990 claims of sighting by casual Muslim observers. However, he is known among astronomers for certifying totally erroneous Hilal shapes. It is evident from what Dr. Schaefer et. al wrote about Durrani’s 1989 and 1990 sightings:


            “The reported orientation of the crescent was from 2 to 8 and 2 to 7 p.m. whereas the orientation actually was from

                  5-11 pm so the reports are roughly 90 degree in error."  (Q.J.R. astro. Soc. (1993), 34, 53-56)


ISNA statement mentions Durrani’s total surprise at the positional accuracy of Phoenix witnesses.” Of course, only Durrani could authenticate faulty “positional accuracy” of a crescent moon that the witness described from 7:00 to 2:00 on a clock.. Last year also he authenticated another upside down (10-12-2 on the clock) Ramadan moon.


Durrani did not ask the second witness about the shape of the crescent, and the third witness (The Imam) was not sure if he even saw a moon.


Dr. Salamah has no expertise in evaluating a witness. Years ago he accepted a sighting claim when it was raining heavily in the area. He talked only to the first witness and did not care to evaluate his statement.

As long ISNA has consultants like Mohib and Salamah, Muslims in N. America will continue messing the last day of Ramadan, and celebrate Eid al-Adha on 8th or 9th day of D. Hijja.


Jim Stamm as Supporting Evidence?


ISNA Fiqh Council’s dishonesty is evident when it listed (Dr. Muzammil Siddiqui’s statement of Nov. 6, 2005) Jim Stamm’s telescopic sighting claim on Nov. 2, 2005 to make the naked-eye Phoenix sightings look ’credible’.


Jim had told Mohib and ISNA FC that the naked-eye Phoenix sighting are not credible as NO naked-eye sighting was POSSIBLE in North America. Jim’s own claim is still debated, especially because he was unable to show the crescent moon to other nine observers with him through the same telescope from the same spot.


Moon Not Seen in S. Africa and South America on Nov. 2


Observers in South Africa, Caribbean and South America (where telescopic sighting was possible) were UNABLE TO SEE a moon on Nov. 2. It creates strong doubts about Jim Stamm’s claim as well because all of North America was outside telescopic visibility zone whereas S. Africa and South American countries were inside.


Incompetent ISNA Astronomical Consultants


Let us analyze the role of ISNA’s two astronomical consultants (Mohib and Salamah) in Eid fiasco and their amazing incompetence.


ISNA, until 10:00pm on November 2, 2005 has been proclaiming: All Muslim astronomical consultants are unanimous that with NAKED EYE it is IMPOSSIBLE to see it anywhere in North America.

At 10:00 pm ISNA declared: Tomorrow, Thursday 3 Nov 2005 CE is the first day of Shawwal (Eid al-Fitr).


How did this miracle happen?


ISNA consultant, Khalid Shaukat, ruled that naked-eye sighting claim from Phoenix is NOT CREDIBLE. As usual ISNA FC ignored him. The two other ISNA consultants assured the Muftis that the lone witnesses ISNA could find in whole of N. America were “Credible”. The written statement of this witness on Mohib’s web (Nov. 3, 2005) reads:


In Phoenix Arizona… out of a large group… (ONE witness) saw illusive Hilal at 5:42 …for a few seconds … to the left of … the sun – (Hilal) spanning the distance from the seven o'clock and two o'clock hand of an analog clock.…continually observe it until about 5:41pm (??)…One other brother … was able to see it…Our Imam saw it at first sight but… was not certain of his sighting.”


It is amazing how ISNA consultants found NO fault with this account.

  1. Why did all in the "large" group NOT SEE what only one could see

  2. How a 29-day-Hilal could be visible within 4 minutes of the sunset

  3. Why was it visible only for “a few seconds”?

  4. Why was the Hilal upside down - extended from 7 to 2 on a clock

  5. Why did the second witness not provide details to corroborate the claim?

  6. Why did the third person (Imam) abandon his claim of sighting?

  7. Why nobody from Phoenix to the Pacific coast could see this moon?

From his description of the observed object as “illusive” the witness himself appeared doubtful. The unfortunate tragedy lies with the two experts who accepted it. Note that there was no second witness’s statement in support of this faulty evidence, and ISNA’s third expert totally rejected the sighting claim.

ISNA experts have to answer all these questions with solid observational data to back their recommendation.


Calculated Visibility Establishes Witnesses Mistake


“Among our jurists was al-Subki, who was unequivocal when addressing a case where Fiqh and Falak appeared to be in conflict: “if one or two witnessed sighting the crescent, whereas the judgment of computation is that it is impossible to sight the crescent”; he says: “this testimony is not accepted, since astronomical computation [hisab] is definite [qat‘i] while testimony and report are probable [zann]. There is the fiqh rule]:‘the “probable” cannot contradict the “definite” [al-zannu la yu‘aariDu l-qaT‘a]” [Subki, 1:226; cf. Mughni, 2:143 and I‘anat, 2:216]”.


This is further explained by Shaikh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti's: What Imam Ibn Hajar (and Imam al-Subki, Imam Ibn al-Qasim al-‘Abbadi, Imam al-Qalyubi, the Muhaqqiq al-Kurdi and other jurists, for example) mean by unquestioned astronomical computation [hisab qat‘i], that which is strong enough to reject the testimony of a non-tawatur sighting (i.e., an example of a primacy in hisab over ru’ya), is astronomical data such as the times for moonset or the conjunction of the sun and moon [ijtima‘ al-nayrayn; for non-astronomers: this is the time when the new moon is ‘born’], which are a question of fact and not prediction.




ISNA Muftis must explain which Fiqh principles did they apply to accept only one witness (the second and the third in Phoenix cannot be counted as the real witnesses).  All Fuqaha specify Ghalabat-al-Yaqeen rule for ending fasting month. Some might require only two, but the majority require a larger number, ranging from 50 to 500 from a town to abandon fasting after 29 days of Ramadan.


How could ISNA FC justify that only one witness from a whole continent was sufficient?


Phoenix observer later “corrected” his written statement later: He said the Hilal was visible to him till 5:51 pm (and not 5:41). It makes his claim more doubtful. If he could see it for nine minutes then how could his large group, including the Imam, not see it?


Obviously, ISNA Fiqh Council and its consultants proved again that they are INCOMPETENT for determining Ramadan and Eidain dates. They also bear the responsibility of all those MUSLIMS who DID NOT FAST ON THE LAST DAY OF RAMADAN as a consequence of their faulty decision.


ICNA Faltered


ICNA’s rep., like Imam Warith Deen’s rep. did not agree with ISNA Fiqh Council’s decision. However, ICNA president later succumbed to the “Unity” pressure, and declared Thursday Eid. ICNA’s error created panic among many groups that generally do not follow ISNA.




Chicago Hilal Committee added to the chaos created by ISNA and ICNA.

Earlier in the evening the Committee had rejected three faulty witnesses. Later two other witnesses personally appeared before them and swore that they had seen a crescent moon fifteen minutes AFTER sunset for another 5-6 minutes.


In Chicago, the moon had set eight minutes after the sunset. How could anyone see it 15-20 minutes later when there was no moon to see on the horizon? The faulty reasoning of the Chicago Hilal Committee was that the “witnesses are known “Adil” persons. Therefore, the Committee ignored the calculated data and decided by the Islamic requirement of “Adil”, Muslim witnesses.


How Islamic is their acceptance of a grossly wrong testimony, especially when they were aware of the Fiqh requirement of “overwhelming probability”, acquired by the testimony of a large crowd in a big city?


Chicago Committee’s decision opened the floodgates. Masaajid and Islamic centers that for years insisted on a credible sighting, changed to Thursday Eid by mid-night.