Posts Tagged ‘moonsighting’

Ramadan Dates 1443 (2022)

April 1, 2022

SUMMARY: Naked-eye moonsighting gives the 1st day of Ramadan 1443 as Sunday 3 April 2022 for the whole world except for North America where Saturday 2 April 2022 is a possibility. Moonsighting with a telescope gives the 1st day of Ramadan 1443 as Saturday 2 April 2022: some authorities and countries have already announced Ramadan for then. (Naked-eye moonsighting in Antarctica & New Zealand might give the 1st day as Monday 4 April 2022!)

Astronomical new moon occurred at 06:24 UT (GMT) today, on Friday 1 April 2022 (29 Sha’ban 1443).

Crescent (lunar) visibility diagrams, courtesy of the UK HMNAO/IOP Moonwatch project, now hosted by UKHO:

Friday 1 April 2022 / 29 Sha’ban 1443, evening
(around the optimal time for moonsighting, about 20 minutes after sunset):

Global new (crescent) moon visibility for the evening of Friday 1 April, 2022 (29th Sha’ban 1443) – UK Moonwatch model

Global new (crescent) moon visibility for the evening of Friday 1 April, 2022 (29th Sha’ban 1443):

Not visible anywhere in the world, with the exception of the Americas.

The new crescent moon will be visible by naked eye in California, Mexico & parts of Central America, and by telescope in parts of South America. Given the ISNA Fiqh Council’s very reasonable judgment since the 1990s that North America is to be regarded as one horizon (matla’), this would lead to the 1st day of Ramadan 1443 being Saturday 2 April 2022 throughout North & Central America. If sighting by telescope is deemed acceptable, the same start date would apply to South America. However, I defer to the judgments of the relevant authorities in the Americas.

Saturday 2 April 2022 / 30 Sha’ban 1443, evening
(around the optimal time for moonsighting, about 20 minutes after sunset):

Global new (crescent) moon visibility for the evening of Saturday 2 April, 2022 (30th Sha’ban 1443)

Global new (crescent) moon visibility for the evening of Saturday 2 April, 2022 (30th Sha’ban 1443):

Visible throughout the whole populated world, with the exception of Antarctica & most of New Zealand, where it will be visible the following evening.

Thus, for Oceania (with the possible exception of New Zealand), Asia, Africa & Europe,
the 1st day of Ramadan 1443, based on local moonsighting, is Sunday 3rd April 2022.

Have a blessed & peaceful Ramadan: let us pray for, and serve, our brothers and sisters in humanity!

(Imam Dr) Usama Hasan,

Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society, London, UK

29th Sha’ban 1443 / 1st April 2022


Postscript: The European Council for Fatwa & Research announced on 16/02/2022 that the 1st day of Ramadan for the whole world would be on Saturday 2nd April 2022, based on “detailed astronomical calculations.” They claim that these showed that the new crescent moon (hilal) would be visible “by telescope in West Africa and the Americas” after sunset on Friday 1st April 2022. This seems to be based on the Odeh model. I agree with their approach of determining Islamic lunar dates via astronomical calculations, but we need to agree which ones we are using. ECFR are accepting telescope observations, whereas many of us prefer naked-eye sighting. NB: the Odeh model predicts a narrower range of territory for naked-eye sighting, as is clear from the following visibility maps:

Global new (crescent) moon visibility for the evening of Friday 1 April, 2022 (29th Sha’ban 1443) – Odeh model
Global new (crescent) moon visibility for the evening of Saturday 2 April, 2022 (30th Sha’ban 1443) – Odeh model

When is Eid al-Fitr? 1433 / 2012

August 15, 2012

Bismillah.  *Sunday 19th August 2012 is a sensible date for Eid al-Fitr 1433 for the whole world.*

Please refer to the Moonwatch data (http://astro.ukho.gov.uk/moonwatch/nextnewmoon.html), that shows:

Friday 17/8: Conjunction and astronomical new moon around 15.54 UT (GMT) – no crescent moon is visible anywhere on earth that night, except possibly in the Southern Pacific, very close to the solar date-line.

Saturday 18/8: The crescent moon is visible throughout the Southern Hemisphere, plus a few places north of the Equator, but not in Asia, the Middle East, North Africa or Europe.

Sunday 19/8: The crescent moon is easily visible throughout the whole world, including the UK.

Hence:

Sunday 19th August 2012 is a sensible date for Eid al-Fitr 1433 for the whole world: there is expected to be a high degree of agreement on this, as has happened in previous years.  (Those who began Ramadan on Fri/Sat 20/21 July will complete 30/29 days of fasting and celebrate Eid together.)

For those following local sightings, Monday 20th August 2012 would be Eid al-Fitr 1433 in the UK.

May Allah bless us all during the remainder of Ramadan and on the glorious day of Eid al-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast).

Dr. Usama Hasan,

Senior Researcher in Islamic Studies at Quilliam & Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society

15th August 2012 / 26th Ramadan 1433

About the Ramadan start date this year 1433/2012

August 15, 2012

Bismillah.  This is what happened:

Saudi claimed to have seen the moon on Thursday 19/7 and began Ramadan on Friday 20/7; many other countries followed suit.  However, we know definitely that such a sighting was impossible, for at least two reasons:

(i) from precise astronomical calculations (www.crescentmoonwatch.org )

(ii) had it been genuine, there would have been an easier sighting from the Southern US and Central America on the same date, which there wasn’t.  Refer to Ibn Taymiyyah’s fatwa on moonsighting (elsewhere on this blog), as well as Sheikh Afif al-Akiti’s detailed treatise on the subject.

However, the ECFR (www.e-cfr.org ) had already announced that Ramadan would begin on Friday 20/7, due to the expected visibility of the crescent moon from South America on 19/7.  The ECFR mentioned Santiago (Chile) in its declaration.  Note that the ECFR’s declaration implied that they agreed that moonsighting was impossible in Saudi on that date, but ruled that the Chile sighting was enough for the whole world, even if it occurred many hours after local sunset elsewhere: e.g. the ECFR method required Australia to begin Ramadan on 20/7, even though they are about 12 hours ahead of Chile. 

Note also that this ECFR method is consistent, and is a possible approach to determining Arabian/Islamic lunar dates worldwide, using the solar date-line as an effective lunar date-line.  If people agree to use this method, it is a possible solution to the moonsighting problem, although we will need to check that it gives a reasonable pattern of 29/30-day months.

Amongst Sunni Muslims, there were three start dates:

(i) Friday 20/7 – those following the impossible Saudi sighting or the plausible ECFR method

(ii) Saturday 21/7 – those following the easier sightings around most of the world on the next day

(iii) Sunday 22/7 – for northern latitudes such as the UK, those following a local sighting.

Amongst Shia Muslims, the same three start dates were observed, based on people following the fatwa of their authority (marja’), whether Fadlallah, Khoei or Sistani respectively.

TV programme – Moonsighting discussion

August 16, 2009

Bismillah. We just finished recording this, alhamdulillah.

It will be aired on Islam Channel (Sky 836 or http://www.islamchannel.tv) on Tuesday night God-willing, 18th August 2009, 10-11pm.

Panellists (with a studio audience):

Mohammad Ali (Islam Channel)
Qamar Uddin (ICOP)
Suliman Gani (Tooting Mosque)
Usama Hasan (Tawhid Mosque)

Chair: Ajmal Masroor

A good discussion I thought, more civilised and less heated than in previous years. I hope it will be beneficial in advancing public understanding of the issues involved.

Ramadan, Eid date for UK, 1430 (2009)

August 11, 2009

Bismillah. Please refer to my article, “A simple solution to the moonsighting problem,” first published in Emel magazine in 2007. It is available at the City Circle website (www.thecitycircle.com), under previous blogs – see August 2008. I may update it and post it here later, insha’Allah.

According to that simple methodology, the following are the dates for Ramadan and Eid this year.

First day of Ramadan 1430: Saturday 22 August 2009
(crescent easily visible throughout Australasia and Africa the previous evening)

Eid al-Fitr or first day of Shawwal 1430: Sunday 20 September 2009
(crescent easily visible throughout Southern African the previous evening)

Accordingly, Ramadan in the UK will have 29 days insha’Allah.

It seems that the European Council for Fatwa and Research (www.ecfr.org) has announced 1st Ramadan as 21st August. They seem to be basing this on astronomical conjunction as per Shaykh Ahmad Shakir’s fatwa. This is disappointing and goes against a good fatwa from the 1990’s by Sh. Abdullah al-Juday’, one of the ECFR scholars. In it, he said that hilal-sighting claims about a moon less than 12 hours old would be rejected “because the astronomers agree that a hilal less than 12 hours old cannot be sighted.”

Note that according to Dr. Steve Bell of HMNAO, the world-records for hilal-sightings are roughly 15 hours by naked eye and 12 hours by telescope.

Reflections on Moonsighting

August 2, 2009

1) This is the latest version of a presentation I’ve given at various places around the UK: Reflections on Moonsighting

2) A first-night, 32-hour-old crescent-sighting (plus Venus) from my back garden in London, Muharram 1428 / January 2007 (and hence signalling the start of a new Islamic year) can be seen in this YouTube video.

3) Here is an introductory course on Islamic astronomy, covering Qiblah, prayer times and moonsighting: An Introduction to Islamic Astronomy

4) Here is a presentation on similar subjects by Dr. Steve Bell of HM Nautical Almanac Office, and who is perhaps the UK’s top expert on such astronomical calculations (he also does all the calculations for Websurf and Moonwatch): London_2007Sept08

5) “The Correct Qiblah” – a paper by Kamal Abdali: qibla paper

The Moonsighting Controversy: Can Eid al-Adha be separated from the Hajj?

July 14, 2009

Is Eid-ul-Adha connected with the Hajj

In past years, the Saudi announcements for the dates of Eid have been heavily criticised by Muslim astronomers.  Many scholars argue that Muslims around the world are not obliged to celebrate Eid al-Adha the day after the Day of Arafat during the Hajj in present-day Saudi Arabia.  This 10-page article by Hood Bradford discusses the issue, with useful quotes from classical and contemporary jurists.

CONTENTS

1. DETERMINING THE ISLAMIC CALENDAR: GLOBAL VS. REGIONAL SIGHTING
2. DETERMINING THE ISLAMIC CALENDAR: USING ASTRONOMY AND CALCULATIONS
3. EVIDENCE FOR ARAFAH BEING THE DAY THE PEOPLE STAND AT ARAFAH AND EID AL ADHAA COINCIDING WITH THE STONING OF THE JAMARAAT
4. PRAYING WITH THE REST OF THE MUSLIMS IN THE COMMUNITY
5. RUDENESS AND SPEAKING BAD OF OTHERS FOR FOLLOWING AN ISSUE WHICH THERE IS LEGITMATE DIFFERENCE OF OPINION

Ibn Taymiyyah on Fasting and Moonsighting

July 14, 2009

Ibn Taymiyyah – Fasting and Moonsighting v1 (16 pages including commentary by Usama Hasan)

From the Collected Fatwas of Ibn Taymiyyah (Majmu’ Fatawa Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah), ed. ‘Abd al-Rahman b. Qasim and his son Muhammad, Riyadh, 1398 H, vol. 25 (vol. 5 of the Fiqh Section), pp. 98-113.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

1 Fasting on the day when it might or might not be the first of Ramadan
1.1 Caution in legal matters
1.2 Does the hilal exist only when it is visible, or does it have an independent existence?

2 How far geographically is a hilal-sighting valid?

2.1 The impact of knowledge and communication constraints on this matter
2.2 Travelling to a place where Ramadan began on a different day
2.3 The importance of information in this matter
2.4 The meaning of “hilal”
2.5 Summary of the discussion so far
2.6 A further discussion about the hilal and the Hajj

An Introduction to the Moonsighting Controversy

July 14, 2009

Introduction to Moonsighting Controversy

A good 10-page summary of the main issues, by Rukhsana Begum.