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Eid Mubarak

Later tonight the moon will be clearly visible and the usual debate on the size will start, some will claim it’s 2 days old and some 3 days old by mere looking at its size.
The moon will be about 32 hrs old tonight by sunset, it’s altitude will be about 16 degrees and it will set about 1hr 12mins after sunset in most locations in Nigeria. So technically 32hrs is 1.3 days, generally the crescent becomes visible after 20 hrs
It’s als worth mentioning that the verified world record for a naked eye sighting stands at 15 hrs and 32 mins by Steven O’Meara renowned visual astronomer in May 1990.

The moon was 5hrs 37mins old in Tumair Saudi Arabia when it was claimed that it was sighted by naked eye,
it was confirmed to me by a colleague in ICOP ( Islamic crescents observation project) who spoke to one of the astronomers (he wasn’t part of the team that claimed sighting it) in Saudi that it was naked eye sighting.
In Nigeria the moon was about 8hrs old when it was also claimed that it was sighted with naked eye too by inexperienced observers with no astronomy background, Steve O’Meara’s record was shattered by miles hmmmmmmn.
In my earlier write up “When is Eid” I said there was 10% chance that Eid could be on Tuesday, with the facts on ground I knew 100% it was impossible to sight the crescent,
don’t get me wrong I’m not saying I know the unseen ( Allah alone has knowledge of the unseen, but HE SWT says in Quran 55-5
اَلشَّمۡسُ وَ الۡقَمَرُ بِحُسۡبَانٍ “The sun and the moon [move] by precise calculation”)
so that makes it possible to track the movement of the sun and moon correctly and also calculate sun rise, sun set, moon rise, moon set and conjunction of a new moon correctly.

I said 10% chance because I know Saudi in most cases indirectly follow their official......
pre calculated Ummul Qura calendar, the calendar says 4th June is Eid . Their criteria for determining beginning of a month is if moon set is after sunset even if it’s with a minute, then the next day is 1st. Yesterday moonset in Saudi was about 5 minutes after sunset ,
so automatically if they receive any sighting claim the authority will accept it and that was what happened .
In Nigeria’s it’s worst because we don’t have any general criteria or knowledge ( the National moon sighting commitee has proposed a draft criteria based on naked eye sighting and forwarded it to the Fatwa commitee for approval, since about 2yrs ago and we are still waiting,
the Fatwa commitee ve not met for a long time now), the moment it’s 29th of a lunar month and the Sultan ask people to look for the crescent, dozens of people will always claim sighting it even when it’s impossible to sight it and especially when Saudi have claimed sighting it
The Maliki school of thought that we follow in Nigeria says it requires two
sighters (aadil) for the start and end of the month irrespective of the weather being clear or overcast. If
however there is only one person who sighted the moon, it is binding on him.
This is the main reason why any sighting claim is accepted by district heads and Emirs without verifying the claim.
It’s also worth mentioning that official moon sighting observatories in Saudi didn’t sight the crescent with their telescopes and same with Nigeria no member of the National moon sighting committee sighted the crescent yesterday.
Some countries e.g Turkey, European Islamic council, Islamic society of North America all use astronomical calculation to determine beginning of Islamic months. Their scholars reached a consensus on this based on the Hadith of Ibn 'Umar (may Allah be pleased with both of them)
reported Allah's Apostle as saying:
“We are an unlettered people who can neither write nor count. The month is thus, and thus. folding his thumb when he said it the third time.”
They claim the reason why the Prophet said they cannot write nor count means they cannot calculate the lunar months, so since it’s possible to calculate it now that’s enough reason to use calculation.
I’m more conservative, I believe in actual sighting not calculations based on the following Hadith Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
“Whenever you sight the new moon (of the month of Ramadan) observe fast. and when you sight it (the new moon of Shawwal) break it, and if the sky is cloudy for you, then observe fast for thirty days”. The Sunnah is sighting with naked eye Allahu ta’ala a’alam.
We ve made progress in Nigeria compared to days when we use to have similar situation with Mali ( Mali was the only country that celebrated Eid on Monday ) meaning they stopped fasting before Ramadan ended, because the conjunction ( new moon) of Ramadan occurred on Monday 11:02am
There was a time about two decades ago Nigeria celebrated Eid when it was 28th day of Ramadan in other countries.
for over forty years the months of Sha’aban and Ramadan were always 29 days ( iit’s unlikely for a month to go 5 years without completing 30days).
Nigeria completed 30days in Ramadan for the first time in 2010 and then 2015.
It shows we are making progress but there’s still a lot of work left.
May Allah guide us all ,accept our ibadat and forgive our shortcomings ameen.
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