Related: Importance of Moon Sighting | First day's moon on UK horizon

HilalCompetition 2018 06 15Looking at the predicted crescent visibility maps for a whole year, it can be seen that from the start of 1439 AH (2017/2018) the first day's crescent moon (Hilal) appears on the northern hemisphere almost every month. [Read more]

Therefore, to encourage more Hilal sighting participation in the UK, we have decided to run a "Spot the Moon Photo Competition" every month from the UK and whosoever is judged to submit the best photo of the Hilal will be the winner, InShaAllah.

If you wish to support the prize by purchasing any of the ICOUK Merchandise, please click: Donate.

Terms and Conditions (T&C)

The photo(s) will be published on our ICOUK website and the winner may be asked to select the next month's winning photo of the Hilal (with or without landscape). The photo(s) submitted must be original (with date/time stamp meta data) and the report must be submitted within 1 hour of the observer’s sunset time (so it can be taken into consideration for decision making when to start the month).

If the photo is not ready to be submitted within the above timescale (e.g. due to technical delays of downloading the files from the camera), then a note must be added to the report that it will be sent as soon as possible.

The ICOUK website photo upload may not accept photo sizes greater than 2 MB each, in which case you may email it (or a link) to the address stated on our online Contact Us form.

Stargazing with Binoculars 2013The winning prize for any monthly Hilal Photo will be the "Philip's Stargazing with Binoculars” book by Robin Scagell (or one of the ICOUK Merchandise on the Donate page) and for the Holy month of Ramadan, it will be a pair of Astronomy Binoculars (10x50), InShaAllah.

icoukGiftMugThe runners-up may claim an ICOUK keyring on the Donate page. We reserve the right to provide an alternative/equivalent value of the prize in unforeseen circumstances.

The winner will be notified within 3 days of sending the Observation Report and the prize will be sent to the observer’s address on the registration form or the equivalent value as a Gift Voucher.

Anyone wishing to take part in the competition must have prior Membership Registration on the ICOUK website to minimise any potential delays in the submission of the Observation Report photos.

Binoculars 10x50The Judges who will assess the winning photos will include (1) Eng. Qamar Uddin (York), (2) Hafiz Dr Ayyub Patel (Dewsbury) and (3) one other (e.g. previous winner of the photo competition).

If you have any comments or questions regarding this competition, please do not hesitate to email us via our online Contact Us form.

In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.

07 HilalNotice Rajab1439The month of Rajab is the seventh month of the Islamic calendar. It is regarded as one of the four sacred months (الأشھر الحرم)

Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says:

إِنَّ عِدَّةَ الشُّهُورِ‌ عِندَ اللَّـهِ اثْنَا عَشَرَ‌ شَهْرً‌ا فِي كِتَابِ اللَّـهِ يَوْمَ خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْ‌ضَ مِنْهَا أَرْ‌بَعَةٌ حُرُ‌مٌ

“The number of months in the sight of Allah is twelve so ordained by Him the day He created the heavens and the earth. Of them four are sacred.” (Quran 9:36).

The Companion Abu Bakra (رضي الله عنه) reported that in the farewell address the Prophet (ﷺ) said: “Time has completed a cycle and come to the state of the day when Allah created the heavens and the earth. The year is twelve months, of which four are sacred; three of them consecutive; Dhul-Qaida (ذوالقعدۃ), Dhul-Hijjah (ذوالحجّۃ) and Muharram (محرّم), and also Rajab (رجب), the month of Mudar which comes between Jumada and Sha'ban…” (Sahih al-Bukhari).

It is said that these months are sanctified for two reasons. Firstly, fighting and battles were prohibited in these months – though this is considered abrogated by the majority of scholars (see: The Islamic Months by Ibn Rajab al-Hanbali). And, secondly, rewards from worshipping Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) are increased multi-fold in these months, more so than other months.

Similarly, only the month of Sha’ban separates the month of Rajab from Ramadhan. For this reason, when the Prophet (ﷺ) sighted the moon of Rajab, he frequently made the following dua’:

اَللّهُمَّ بَارِكْ لَنَا فِى رَجَبَ وَ شَعْبَانَ وَ بَلِّغْنَا رَمَضَان

“O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan” (at-Tabrani and Ahmad).

The month of Rajab is therefore considered sacred, and the Sunnah is to make use of this month together with Sha’ban to prepare for even greater rewards in the month of Ramadhan. Some scholars say that Rajab and Sha’ban are great months for making up missed (qadha) prayers and fasts of the previous year, and especially for sisters who may be looking to make up for their missed fasts. Whatever the case, these months are amongst the best to increase in our good deeds, charity and worshipping Allah (سبحانه و تعالى).

To determine the start of these months, let us revive the Sunnah of moon sighting, InshaAllah.

Checked by: Mufti Amjad Mohammed

The Crescent Moon (Hilal) observation process comprise of a number of stages, as explained below:

Stage 1: On the 29th day of each lunar month, people go out to look for the Hilal from a good location, which is away from inner-city light pollutions and high enough to see the sunset position down to the horizon/sea level. See “First day's moon on UK horizon” for more details.

Stage 2: The result of the Hilal observation (positive or negative) is then submitted to the ICOUK website with all the necessary details. To save precious time, it is highly recommended to complete the Membership Registration beforehand and then send the Observation Report on the day. Registered members will also receive regular reminders by email when to look for the Hilal.

Stage 3: Once the observation report has been successfully submitted on the ICOUK website, it will be automatically forwarded to (a) the ICOUK Moderator and (b) the local Hilal Committee (or a representative). From this point, the report is dealt with separately and independently, as explained in the next stage.

Stage 4: This is the final stage where the verified and moderated reports are published/announced as explained below:

  1. The Moderator will check the technical accuracy of the report (e.g. after conjunction and before moon set) and if found satisfactory, will publish it on the ICOUK website, under the relevant lunar month of the Observation Results page.

  2. The local Hilal Committee (or a representative) will verify the report for Shariah purposes (e.g. adult, good character etc) and pass it on to the Central Hilal Committee, who will make a final decision and announce the start date of the lunar month. The decision may be announced via the Hilal Committee website and/or Masjid Committees as well as the ICOUK website.

It is possible that an observation report is accepted by the ICOUK Moderator, but may not be sufficient for the Hilal Committees to base their decision on it (e.g. not enough sighting reports in clear-sky condition). It is also possible that the ICOUK Moderator may reject a local report, but the Hilal Committee make an announcement based on foreign news (e.g. Morocco). The above procedures are shown in the processes diagram below, which have to be completed within 1.5 - 2.0 hrs of UK sunset times (i.e. before Isha prayers).


The ICOUK website will publish both the observation reports and the decision of the UK Ulama (Hilal Committees) on the relevant page for the UK Muslims to make an informed decision regarding the start of the Hijri lunar months for Ibadah purposes. See “View Observation Results” for more details.

Checked by: Mufti Amjad Mohammed

If you have any comments or questions (or wish to nominate a local Hilal Committee for verifying observation reports), please do not hesitate to email us via our on-line Contact Us form.

The table below shows the observation report for each of Hijri year/month, which usually overlaps across two Gregorian years/months, but for brevity only the start year/month is shown. Website submitted reports are listed below, but historical records do exist since 1430/2008.