Iran Marja’ declares a moon seen by telescope in daylight as valid.
– ICOP member Mr. Alireza Mehrani said: “The crescent of Ramadan has been observed on Friday, August 21, 2009, at 10:30 am LT (06:00 UT) by 5 person of Iranian observers under the supervision of Mr. Mohsen Sharifi with the 14” telescope (from 10:30 to 12:00 LT).
– ICOP coordinator Br. Odeh “Today Saturday 19 September 2009, it was my first trial to observe the crescent from Amman-Jordan using the new CCD technique. I saw it today at 12 noon time. The shape was verified with astronomical software, and the crescent was exactly as we photographed it. (Note: The crescent was not seen by naked eye and it was NOT seen by telescope! It was only seen by CCD imaging after image processing.”
Do the Muslim Fuqaha (and our astronomical experts) understand why the Qur’an (2:189) called ‘Ahilla’ “Mawaaqeet” (points of time for dividing “Time” into months, etc)? It was to create the Islamic calendar for religious observances.
That is what the Messenger (PBUH) understood, and that is why he instructed the Muslims:
“La Tasuumu Hatta tarwul-Hilaal….” (Bukhari)
What the Muslims are doing is not what the Qur’an asked or the Prophet (pbuh) did. They have turned the Islamic calendar into a laughing matter.
The Hilal marks the beginning of an Islam month (the initial point of the first date/day of the Islamic month). In contrast the Jewish calendar started the month from the New Moon at Jerusalem. The Jews in Medina haggled with the Muslims (about why wait for a Hilal?) Allah (swt) revealed 2:189.
The New Moon
The Moon is always there in the sky and the New Moon calculation was known for more than three thousand years.
Since 1935, the observatories stopped keeping records of lunar visibility as by then it had no scientific value. With the help of radio telescopes (and now Hubble and other modern instruments) the astronomers could locate the moon at any time of day and night.
Thousand of years ago the Jewish month also started by the Hilal (the earliest visible crescent moon) as the Muslims have been doing for the last 1400 years. Why did the Jewish calendar commission abandon the “Hilal” approximately two thousand years ago though they could calculate the New Moon (Conjunction) to the accuracy of 8 seconds? They realized that NO calendar was POSSIBLE by Hilal (the earliest visibility of the moon) or by the New Moon (Conjunction).
Earliest Lunar Visibility
During last 60 years, the Muslim Fuqaha and astronomers have messed up every aspect of the Islamic calendar. Fiqhi and technical arguments about what is the “Ru’yah” of “Qata’i Hilal” have led to ridiculously vacuous claims like:
a) Sighting the Hilal is not needed for Ramadan, Hajj and Eidain (ISNA Fiqh Council);
b) Moonset AFTER sunset in Makkah on the New Moon date is enough to begin the Islamic month (Saudi Arabia, Egypt, ISNA, European Fatwa Council, etc);
c) A moon located at mid-day through telescope starts Ramadan, etc. (Iran); where in the Qur’an or Hadith it is required that the moon must be seen after the sunset?
d) A CCD image of the moon at the conjunction (even at mid-day) is the Hilal (ICOP)
e) Daylight following the Conjunction is the first day of the Islamic month. (Libya)
(Probably, they do not pray Taraweeh, or …)
Most Ulema and astronomical experts hardly realize the complications in Islamic Hijri calendar, lunar visibility or Shari’ah requirements. Fuqaha wish to solve the problem by Fatwa (Ittihad al-Matali or Ikhtilaf al-Matali, Matla. Is it “local” or extended to the distance of “Qasr”, or a whole country or Iqleem?
Most cannot answer the two simple questions:
1. How to divide the continuum of “time” into dates, and months for an Islamic calendar?
2. From where the lunar date (and day) start on the globe every month?
(If NOT the Hilal at sunset then what is the starting point of the Islamic month? It cannot be the conjunction (New Moon) or its CCD image. A (synodical) lunar month is 29 days 12 hours 44 minutes and 2.09 seconds (not 29 or 30 days) long. The Islamic month cannot be 29 ½ or 30 ½ days long. Can each Islamic month be 29 days for parts of the globe and 30 days for the rest?
We should also recognize the facts:
– Every month the Hilal is FIRST SEEN from a different location;
– A Hilal is SEEN over the globe on 3-4 solar dates.
Does it mean the Muslims scattered around the globe follow 3-4 “local” calendars?
For several decades now, the Muslims observers are frantically competing to claim the earliest Hilal. Surprisingly, they SAW a Hilal before the New Moon, at mid day, hours before the sunset, hours after the moonset time, in all direction (other than where the moon was), of odd shape, color and size. Shari’ah-verified-observers often claimed a“ Hilal that flew away in a second” (when there was none).
The latest mantra is CCD imaging. Let us consider CCD imaging more critically
If a CCD camera creates a faint curve before and after the instant of the conjunction say at 11.59.59 at San Diego (one second before NOON in California) then when would the Islamic date start and from what location on earth? (The same is true for the Iranian mid-day lunar observations. Dr. Yallop, Mr. Martin etc. are exempt from this line of reasoning as they say it is for the Muslims to decide).
The CCD imaging towards the end of the previous month and at the beginning of the next month is another major problem. How the continuum of the image will be divided into dates? What about the conjunction at night when CCD cameras at location X will not create the image?
Fuqaha face other hurdles a the classical Fiqh says:
Hilal Seen BEFORE Zawal means the month started from the previous evening;
Hilal Seen AFTER Zawaal starts the month from the following evening.
Which Fiqhi rule the Muslims should follow to start the month by ccd imaging at 11.59:59? Will it be from the previous evening or the following evening (the usual beginning of the Islamic date/day)?
What to do if the CCD image appears two seconds later at 12:00:01? Just a difference of two seconds changes the dates in the middle of the day? (There are a lot more questions to answer)
Moonset After Sunset
Saudi and Egyptian calendar experts and Ulema joined hands in Jeddah Conference (1999). Now their Hijri date starts when the moon sets after the sunset in Makkah or Cairo.
Is it a valid rule to fix the Islamic dates? (A Hilal can NEVER be SEEN there, even by a telescope)
What if the moon and the sun set at the same time (as has happened recently)? Or the moonset is one minutes BEFORE the sunset? What if the moon sets in Makkah BEFORE and in Tabuk AFTER the sunset? What if the moon sets before the sunset in Makkah and after the sunset in Cairo? What if the moon sets after the sunset in parts of the country and before the sunset in other parts? etc, etc.
How should the Muslims living away from Makkah and Cairo start the Islamic dates?
Should they start from the same evening as Saudi Arabia and Egypt or from next evening when the moon will set AFTER the sunset in their area? What about Taif which is located east of Makkah? Should the Islamic date that starts from Makka be extend to Taif? If Yes, then how far EAST? Extend to Yemen or to Indonesia or Australia (where the next day has already started)?
There are myriads of questions and our experts (Fuqaha as well as astronomy experts) have never thought about them despite being asked repeating since 1977.
We Muslim EXPERTS are the most conceited people. We see only what we wish to see and insist on what is “My Truth”, without looking back to what we missed in our search for solutions