This article was written for Ramadan 1437 Hilal and has been updated for Shawwal 1438 Hilal (Eid-ul Fitr)

Crescent Visibility Map for Shawwal 1438 AHThe crescent visibility maps on ICOUK website shows that on Saturday 24h June 2017, the Shawwal 1438 AH crescent moon (Hilal) will not be possible to be sighted in the UK/Morocco region by the naked eye (RGO/Yallop Code F).

However, many people will be looking for the Shawwal Hilal on that date (29th Ramadan) as per Sunnah and to confirm if the moon can or cannot be sighted by the human eye.

This confirmation will ensure that the decision to complete 30-days of the month is based on negative sighting reports and not entirely based on visibility maps or scientific data.

Therefore, it is important to report negative sightings, just as it is important to report positive sightings, which will help remove any erroneous sighting reports, i.e. if hundreds of people could not sight the moon (in clear sky), how can a few people claims to see it (implying those hundreds of people are all blind!)?

The Quran states that the moon goes through stages (36:39) and the Tafsir [1] explains there are visible phases of the moon when it can be seen and there are invisible phases of the moon (Mahaq) when it cannot be seen (for 1 or 2 days in each month).

The predicted crescent visibility maps and related scientific data, simply confirm the visible and invisible phases of the moon, which is consistent with the teaching of the Quran and Ahadith.

Compare the use of Google maps calculation to measure the distance when the prayer of a traveller becomes shortened (Qasar/قصير). Would you consider it is against the Sunnah to use Google maps?

What about using a car to travel to the Masjid for prayers or an aeroplane to go to Hajj/Umrah? Would you consider them to be against the Sunnah too (instead of riding a Camel)?

Therefore, it is not against Sunnah to use the Crescent Visibility Maps. In fact, it is commendable to do so, because the intention of the Shariah is not to start a month in doubt [2], but with certainty which the visibility maps help to achieve.

Furthermore, the visibility maps help the Hilal Committees to determine the veracity/accuracy of the witness statements. So, it does not at all go against the Sunnah (as it is not used to determine when Ramadan should start or end) but rather it is one of the many factors the Hilal Committees can take into consideration when accepting any witness statements.

Related: Hidden Phase of the Moon | Visibility Maps


[1] { وَٱلْقَمَرَ قَدَّرْنَاهُ مَنَازِلَ حَتَّىٰ عَادَ كَٱلعُرجُونِ ٱلْقَدِيمِ }
"And [as for] the moon - (read wa’l-qamaru, in the nominative, or wa’l-qamara, in the accusative; and it may be in the accusative because of a following verb that governs it) We have determined it, with respect to its course, [to run] in phases - twenty eight phases in twenty eight nights of every month; it becomes concealed for two nights when the month has thirty days, and for one night when it has twenty nine days - until it returns, during its final phase seeming to the [human] eye, like an aged palm-bough, in other words, like the stalk with a date cluster when it ages, becoming delicate, arched and yellowish." [Ref: Tafsir Jalalyan, Quran (38:39)]

[2] Ammar bin Yasir (ra) narrated, "Whoever fasts the day of doubt he has then disobeyed Abu al-Qasim (the Prophet)." Related by the five Imams, and Ibn Khuzaimah and Ibn Hibban graded it as Sahih. [Ref:]

Checked by: Mufti Amjad Mohammed