Eid-ul-Fither in Pakistan – a victim of Ruet-i-Hilal Committee

By Farman Nawaz

All around Pakistan the Muslims of Bangladesh, Indonesia, Malaysia, Afghanistan and Arab countries celebrated Eid ul Fither a day earlier than Pakistan but here Pakistanis were waiting for Ruet-i-Hilal Committee  of the government to announce the sighting of the Shawal moon.

According to report of Express Tribune (Aug. 2012) the Incharge of Institute of Space and Planetary Astrophysics of Karachi University, Dr. Muhammad Javed Iqbal clarified that the gap between the sunset and moonset should be of 38 minutes for the new moon to be seen with naked eye and 35 minutes to be seen with telescope.

This time on July 16, according to the website http://www.sunrisesunsetmap.com/ this gap was of 11 minutes in Riyadh, 4 minutes in Dhaka, 12 minutes in Kuala lumpur, 15 minutes in Jakarta, one minute in Kabul, 7 minutes in Karachi, 3 minutes in Lahore, One minute in Islamabad, Peshawar and Bannu. But even then KPK and these Islamic countries celebrated Eid on 17 July. On the other hand Mufti Muneeb Rehman as usual announced that ‘ Jam e Ghafir’ couldn’t see the moon.

Similarly on June 17 (before Ramdan) , that difference was 32 minutes in Kabul, 33 minutes in Peshawar, 38 minutes in Karachi, and 42 minutes in Riyadh. But Mufti Muneeb preferred to start the Ramadan a bit late then all the brethren Islamic countries and KPK too.

Does Mufti Muneeb prefer to stick to scientific principles? If so then why he violated from it in June this year. And if he is following some sort of Islamic traditions then why the other Muftis in KPK and all around the world are not following these traditions. Why it seems that there is a tangle between him and the Deobandi school of thought?

Secondly is it necessary, compulsory, and purely Islamic that the whole country will have to keep the fasts and celebrate the Eid on same dates. If so then what was the tradition of Muslims of united India? Did the Muslims of the subcontinent celebrate the Eid on the same date before partition?  What was the tradition of Ottoman Empire? Is it possible for the Muslims of Canada, USA and China to celebrate Eid on the same date?

The question is that why here the sighting of the moon has taken the shape of an issue. Why Mufti Muneeb is not willing to hold the meeting of the committee in Peshawar? Is it un-Islamic to come to Peshawar? Or it is a political issue based on sectarianism?

Here in KPK the Muftis take the decision on the bases of evidences. What does Mufti Muneeb say about these evidences? Are these evidences fake? The tradition is that Saudi Arabia celebrates Eid ul Fither a day earlier than Pakistan. Mufti Munib ur Rehman must be bound to explain the earlier celebration of Eid in Saudi Arab, Afghanistan and some other countries.

Why he stands behind a telescope larger than cannon? Is it necessary that Mufti Muneeb must see the evening crescent himself? His duty along with his committee is to wait for the evidences and announce the decision. To see the moon of Ramadan in June this year, he along with his companions were standing on a meager table to see the moon in the telescope and surprisingly the difference between the sunset and moonset was 38 minutes – a duration in which moon can be sighted with naked eye but he could even see the moon in telescope.

The ultimate solution of the issue is to dissolve the present Ruet-i-Hilal Committee which works under the ministry of religious affairs and new committees to be framed on provincial bases. It will then depend on the provinces whether to get help from meteorological department or to follow any strong Islamic tradition which is also prevalent in the neighboring Muslim countries.


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