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Do Muslims IGNORE Qur’an’s Ahilla?
A new book “The Astronomical Calculations and Ramadan” by Zulfiqar A
Shah (2009) published by IIIT argues for discarding the Hilal of the
Qur’an and Sunnah. He is for fixing the Islamic dates by calculation.
Earlier many like Shakir and Qaradawi have argued for it because modern
astronomical calculations of lunar rotation are “Qata’i” (exact) and
appearance of a Hilal is “Zanni” (inexact)
Since he wrote his article (Islamic Horizon, Sep/Oct. 2006) he has been
asked hundreds of time how the astronomical calculation of lunar (Synodical)
month of 29 day, 12 hours, 44 minutes and 29 seconds can be the “Meeqat”
for an Islamic month of 29 or 30 days. Astronomical calculations of the
lunar month are approx 27 ½ days (4) and 29 ½ days. Shah is no different
than pre-2000 Fuqaha who kept on issuing Fatwa after Fatwa without
rudimentary knowledge of geophysical FACTS.
Ittihad al-Matali, especially the EARLY (Hanafi) Fiqhi position is based
on a totally flawed understanding of the geophysical facts:
The Earth is flat, and 2) A Hilal seen anywhere is visible everywhere.
Imam Abu Hanifa made an inference (Qiyas) based on the known assumptions
of his times: Any (Islamic or other) calendar has
a) Only ONE date for a 24 hour day
b) The number of days in a month should be the same everywhere.
The Muslims followed a Hilal as the “Mawaqeet” to start the month. The
complications arose as early as Hadith of Kuraib (some 50 years after
the Prophet's (SAW) death. Fuqaha argued for Itiha al-Matali (unified
horizons=Seen anywhere is seen everywhere) and Ikhtilaf al-Matali (Every
town by its own sighting). Later Ahnaf changed their Fatwa from Imam Abu
Hanifa’s opinion of Ittihad al-Matali to Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam
Muhammad’s Ikhtilaf al-Matal’I (also of Imam Shafi’I and others)
From 1950s, "Muslim Unity" (a political need) surpassed "geophysical
facts". Since then the Muslim Ulema and astronomical experts were
exploited by the political leadership to say what the proponents of
"Unity" forced them to say:
1. The New Moon begins the Islamic date
2. The moonset 5
minutes after the sunset begins the Islamic date (1966).
(Later reduced to one minute in 1986, and again in 1999 Jeddah
Conference to"Moonset AFTER Sunset” in Makkah. (Let us wait till moonset
in Makkah is BEFORE the sunset and AFTER the sunset in Cairo.)
3. The New Moon date is the First of Islamic. (Libya went a step
further: the daylight after the conjunction is the first day of Islamic
observance.) Now the Muftis came in and started the vacuous debate of
Ittihad al-Matali and Ikhtilaf al-Matali.
Hanafi Ulema know it very well that later Ahnaf abandoned Imam Abu
Hanifa's Ittihad al-Matali Maslak
astronomers were of No help.
They agreed with Nasser’s “five minutes after the sunset” to the instant
of the solar eclipse (Qaradawi)
Now the Muslims are badly confused. Some "astronomers" (icop) have
brought in CCD imaging, and others have brought in "Seen by a telescope
at mid-day (Iran, etc.). ISNA’s Shah (2008) denied the requirement of
seeing a Hilal and Shaukat (Moonsighting.com, 2005) suggested 12 noon at
GMT to begin the Islamic month.
The basic fact remains unchanged: How to DIVIDE "TIME" into DATES,
MONTHS, YEARS, etc. on a globe according to Allah's suggestion (2:189):
Ahilla are Mawaqeet.