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September 2011 Archive






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News Item

The earliest visibility of D. Qa'da moon will begin around Australia in the evening of September 28, 2011. But as the moon has mover too far south in
southern hemisphere the moon will be seen only in Indonesia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, South and central Africa, and most of South America.

Japan, China, Bangladesh, northern India, Pakistan, Central Asia, Middle East including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Northern African countries from Egypt to Morocco, Europe, Canada, and most of the USA will NOT see a Hilal in the evening of Sep. 28.

In the USA, the best chances of lunar visibility on Sept. 28 are in Miami, Fl, Hawaii, and marginally in southern areas of Texas, Arizona, and California.

Though the angle in many regions is 20+ degrees, lunar altitude is less than 10 degrees and the Lag between the sunset and moonset is less than 40 minutes.

Red Alert

Shawwal Hilal was not seen anywhere in N. America in the evening of August 29.
Eid al-Fitr is insha-Allah on Wed. August 31, 2011

Saudi Taqweem Web page: Saudi Dates not by Hilal

For several decades Saudi Arabia has employed a calculated lunar calendar that is commonly referred to as the ‛Umm al-Qura calendar’. It is also followed by several neighboring states on the Arabian Peninsula such as Bahrain and Qatar.

Many Muslim communities in non-Islamic countries also tend to follow the Umm al-Qura calendar as its use in mosques funded by Saudi Arabia and in modern computer software (it is the default Islamic calendar in the Arabic setting of Microsoft Vista) becomes more and more prevalent.

The Islamic Society of North America (ISNA), the Fiqh Council of North America (FCNA) and the European Council for Fatwa and Research (ECFR) have announced in the recent past that they will also follow the lunar calendar of Saudi Arabia.

Nevertheless, the Umm al-Qura calendar is often criticized by other Muslim communities who base their calendar on the actual sighting of the lunar crescent (hilāl). Especially around the month of fasting (Ramadān) and the month of pilgrimage (Dhū ’l-Ḥijja) the Umm al-Qura calendar often causes confusion when the dates observed by different Muslim communities for these major Islamic festivals are found to differ by one, two or even three days.

Since 1419 AH (1998/99 CE) several official hilāl sighting committees have been set up by the government of Saudi Arabia to determine the first visual sighting of the lunar crescent at the begin of each lunar month. However, the religious authorities of Saudi Arabia also allow the testimony of less experienced observers and thus sometimes announces the sighting of the lunar crescent on an evening when none of the official committees could observe the lunar crescent or even on an evening when the lunar crescent actually set before sunset.

This often leads to confusion when the dates of important religious events in the month of fasting (Ramadān) or the month of pilgrimage (Dhūl ’Hijja) are changed. In nearly all of these cases, a retrospective analysis indicates that these extremely early reports of the lunar crescent are impossible and are based on false sightings. A study of 42 reports of sightings of the Ramadān new moon, as announced by the Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia (Majlis al-Qadā’ al-A‘lā) between 1962 to 2001 (1381 AH to 1422 AH), confirms that more than half of these were too early and based on false sightings (Kordi, 2003). Most of these false sightings were probably caused by a planet, a bright star or an airplane contrail viewed near to the western horizon.

Only in one case (Ramadān 1424 AH) was the lunar crescent first sighted on the evening after the evening predicted by the Umm al-Qura calendar. However, in seven cases (Shawwāl & Dhū ’l-Hijja 1425 AH, Ramadān & Dhū ’l-Ḥijja 1427 AH, Shawwāl & Dhū ’l-Hijja 1428 AH and Shawwāl 1429 AH) the lunar crescent was supposedly first sighted on the evening before the evening predicted by the Umm al-Qura calendar with moonset occurring just before or even well before sunset.

In some cases the advancement of the month can result in a month length of 31 days which is awkward as Islamic tradition only allows for month lengths of 29 or 30 days. In such cases one of the days in the month is reckoned twice. For instance, both Friday 28 December and Saturday 29 December 2007 were reckoned as 19 Dhūl ’Hijja 1428 AH.

Ramadan 'was announced on wrong day'

Astronomers maintain that the announcement of the beginning of Ramadan on Friday, September 22, was incorrect, and that it should have in fact been announced two days later. The crescent moon was impossible to see on Friday, September 22. "The moon had set before sunset, so there was no moon in the sky to be seen.

"We have three types of crescent visibility reports. First is impossible, as the moon sets before sunset, so the object is not in the sky. Second is not possible, which means the moon sets after sunset but it cannot be seen. Third is when the crescent can be seen. On Friday, it was impossible, from all Islamic countries."

Eid al-Fitr 2011 ALERT

Many Muslims in N. America started Ramadan on Monday, August 1, 2011 because Saudis /ISNA Fiqh Council and Shariah Boards announced that Ramadan moon was SEEN in Saudi Arabia on Sunday. ISNA Eid al-Fitr date is already fixed for August 30, 2011. All know that Saudi/ISNA dates of Ramadan and Eidain are based on the Saudi rule: "The moon sets after the sunset in Makkah Mukarramah." CFCO will eagerly wait for how the Shari'ah Boards decide about Eid al-Fitr date in North America.

Shariah Boards Eid Date ??

Shariah Boards (Toronto, Chicago, New York, California etc.) decide by the news of a sighting in Caribbean. However, there is a big problem for fixing Eid date this year. On August 29, 2011, the Moon will set BEFORE the sunset in Toronto, and New York.
In Chicago, the moon and the sun will set at the same time (7:29 pm). The moon will not appear above the ground in most of N. America and Canada.

See how by Fiqhi opinions they overrules the Qur'an (2:189), the Hadith (La Tuftiru ... and the consensus of all Fiqh schools?

Saudi Ramadan Hilal Reports

In Saudi Arabia Ramadan 1432 Hilal was NOT SEEN as the following reports confirm:

Saudi Arabia 1. Not Seen: Mr. Saleh Al-Saab from Riyadh City in Riyadh State mentioned that the sky was clear, the atmospheric condition was hazy, the crescent was not seen by naked eye, binocular [or] telescope; the crescent was not sought by CCD Imaging. "Happy Ramadhan for you all. The crescent was only (4) degrees above horizon at sunset, so it was not seen even by any optical aid. "
نتيجة رصد الهلال شهر رمضان 1432هـ يوم الأحد 31 يوليو 2011م:
استهل عدد كبير من أعضاء جمعية الفلك يوم الأحد الموافق 31 يوليو 2011م ولم يتم رؤية الهلال. فقد تمت محولة رصد الهلال بواسطة العين المجردة والمناظير المختلفة من مقر الجمعية في القطيف ومنطقة الأحساء وغنان (بالقرب من شاطئ نصف القمر) والبحرين والكويت والمدينة المنورة واستراليا

Ramadan Waxing (NEW) Crescent Observation Results 31 July 2011

Algeria 1. Not Seen: Australia 1. Not Seen: Brunei 1. Not Seen
Jordan 1. Not Seen: Lebanon 1. Not Seen Malaysia 1. Not Seen:
Nigeria 1. Not Seen: Norway 1. Not Seen Oman 1. Not Seen:

ICOP member Martin Elsaesser from Sohar City in al-Batina mentioned ..the crescent was not seen by CCD Imaging


Saudi's have several tricks down their sleeves when announcing their Islamic dates.:

1. The new moon has been sighted at ..... ( a place somewhere in SA) (Daleel: Suumu...Hadith)
2. Adil witnesses at several places moon have seen the moon. (Daleel: Araabi Hadith)
3. The moon was not sighted but thirty days of (the previous month of .... were completed on
(Saudi Taqweem). Therefore, the next Hijri month of ... starts on a day later (30 days Complete Hadith)
(It was 29th or even 28th in most of the world
4. Majlis al-Qada al-A'la has decided that .... month starts on.....

For decades, Saudis have been using one of these tricks, accompanied by a testimony from prominent Saudi Ulema like Sh. Baaz, etc. claiming that Saudi system of sighting is very reliable, and that Saudi dates are based on a sighted moon.

If someone raised the question: (Morocco Ulema's missive to Saudi king, or the Turkish delegation's appeal to Sh. Baaz, etc.).
1. Have you seen the moon yourself (today or ever before)? or
2. Why does this moon claimed "Seen" in Saudi Arabia is NOT seen at any place outside of Saudi Arabia?

Actually, Saudis seldom announce that for them "Sighted" moon is “assumed” if calculation shows the moon will sets after the sun on the New Moon date. Saudis and Egyptians agreed on this rule in Jeddah (1999) Conference. ISNA blindly follows Saudi dates (See ISNA Fiqh Council's 1432 announcement of Ramadan and Eid a-Fitr dates.) It has long ago tied Eid al-Adha in N. America to "Next day after Hajj.

It is a known and proven fact (by the astronomical experts) that none of Ramadan, Eidain and Hajj dates in the last 50+ years was fixed by the Ahilla (Observed Moon) as the Qur'an (2:189) requires and the Sunnah of the Prophet (PBUH) established. For 1432 Ramadan again Saudis (and ISNA in N. America) started Ramadan month on Monday, August 1, 2011 when the Moon was confirmed NOT SEEN in Makkah Mukarramah or in N. America.

ISNA/Zulfiqar Shah's Islamic calendar?

Dr. Shah has argued for 3-4 years that the physical sighting of a Hilal (the earliest visible waxing crescent moon) by human eyes is NOT REQUIRED for fixing Ramadan and Eidain dates (or any Hijri date). His argument: Arabic word "Ra'a" in Hadith also means "coming to know" and calculations tell it better.

He is not the first to make such an absurd claim. Kahf (1978) used the same argument to convince ISNA Fiqh Council to go by the "news from Saudi Arabia" to begin Ramadan and celebrate Eid in N. America (This resulted missing 1-2 days of Ramadan fasting every year from 1978-).

How does Dr.Shah (ISNA Fiqh Council) fix the fist date of an Islamic month?
If it is by the New Moon (NM) that many believe is exactly "calculated?" then they should know:

1. The New Moon is NEVER SEEN on the NM date;
2. The New Moon occurs at all times of day and night (and almost NEVER at the sunset) when the Islamic date/day begins.
3. Astronomical lunar month is approx. 29 1/2 days long and never 29 or 30 full days.

Zulfiqar Shah's booklet on moon-sighting (published by ISNA's IIIT) is a glaring example of twisted Fiqhi arguments, sheer ignorance of astronomical facts , and outright deception, based on linguistic reasoning.

Now the Muslims in N. America follow the following to fix Ramadan and Eidain dates:

1. The News from Saudi Arabia and Egypt (since 1999 Jeddah meet the rule is Moonset AFTER the sunset, No visibility).
2. Sighted in Caribbean (Shura Councils of Chicago, New York, etc.)
3. Sighted within 48 states...(barring Alaska, Hawaii)
4. Local sighting (CT Council of Masajid and many others)
5. Shia Council and other groups with their own criteria
6. Muslim astronomical experts who support CCD imaging on the N. Moon date

7. Muslims who follow their home country (Nigeria, Turkey, Indonesia/Malaysia) etc.
8. Muslims who can SEE A MOON during Daylight, at mid-day (Iran, USA, etc.)

Ramadan and Eidain 2011

For N. America, the possibility that Ramadan Hilal might be seen in the evening of July 31 in Miami, Houston, San Diego, etc. is extremely remote. The Altitude and the Lag both are below the visibility threshold. It will be SEEN Insha-Allah on August 1, making August 2 (Tuesday) the first day of Ramadan 1432.

Eid al-Fitr in N. America will be insha-Allah on August 31 by the Hilal of Shawwal.