An expert on crescent sightings has warned that a “divided party” is likely in the UK as people follow false claims when they cannot see the crescent. Eid al-Fitr falls at the beginning of Shawwal and, like all Islamic dates, depends on the sighting of the first waning crescent of the new moon.
Muslim researchers, astronomers and the public look for the moon on the 29th day of the current month of Ramadan, which is usually Thursday, April 20. Astronomical predictions for the Moon’s movements around the Earth indicate that there will be no visibility on Thursday, but it will be visible to the naked eye on Friday. This means that Lent is on Saturday, April 22nd.
However, while the governing bodies of Islamic countries have moon sighting tables to determine important dates for their country, the United Kingdom does not have an official national system. This means some mosques and communities will look for the moon in UK skies and some will follow reports from Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. The calculated Saudi lunar calendar indicates that Eid falls one day earlier, on Friday, April 21.
A senior moonwatching expert at Noor TV, an Islamic station in Birmingham, believes this will result in different Eid dates being celebrated across the UK. Noor TV airs advertisements for each of the 12 months of the Islamic calendar and claims to be the only media channel with its own calendar for moon sighting.
Dr Raja Zahid Nawaz said: “Unfortunately this year, Eid is likely to be split in the UK. This is due to blindly following foreign countries without understanding or realizing what the moon sighting system is.
“There is also a failure to interpret astronomical data correctly, which leads to confusion. I am pleased to see that the UK Government has published the UK Vision statements. It has made it clear that there will be no hits in the UK and many other countries.
Also, many astronomers and organizations around the world have made it clear that there is no chance of seeing Jupiter’s crescent this year. This has created a mass consciousness whereby people are now blindly suspicious of surveillance by foreign countries. It will be increasingly difficult to make claims that are not based on actual observations.”
Dr Nawaz explained that Saudi Arabia is the country that has been following the most historical news from the UK, but he stressed that the crescent was unlikely to be seen “anywhere” in Saudi Arabia on Thursday. This includes areas such as Dammam, Makkah al-Mukarramah and Madinah, Qasim Riyadh, Shukra, Suthair, Tabuk or Tamir.
He added, “At Noor TV we have a 12-month advertising system that is based on actual observations rather than assumptions that are not reflected in reality. Our Board is chaired by renowned Muslim scholars from across the UK who systematically review and police advertisements.
“Accordingly, we will release live ads on Noor TV after sunset.” My prediction is “Eid is expected to fall on Saturday 22nd April. Naturally, this eliminates the hassle of trying to book a week’s worth of annual leave in a hurry. Friday – and it allows people to enjoy the weekend with family and friends.
Additionally, referring to clashes between worshipers, police and trading standards inspectors over unauthorized street markets in Birmingham, Dr Nawaz urged people not to forget the Islamic values of peace and goodwill that are an integral part of Ramadan and Eid.
He said, “On behalf of our researchers and the chairman of Noor TV, we urge our Muslim communities to remember that Eid and Ramadan are periods of moral and spiritual reflection. We encourage people to work with our public agencies and law enforcement agencies. In making Eid peaceful and joyful for all communities”
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