In the name of Allah, Most Beneficent, Most Merciful.
Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) says:
“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 Muhammad (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 Muhammad (ﷺ) sighted the moon of Rajab, he frequently made the following dua’:
“O Allah! Make the months of Rajab and Sha’ban blessed for us, and let us reach the month of Ramadhan” (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 correct start of these months, let us revive the Sunnah of moon sighting in the UK, 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:
- 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.
- 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.
Crescent Moon Visibility of Muharram 1437 AH
The crescent visibility map below for Muharram 1437 shows that moon will be born on 13 October 2015 at 00:06 GMT/UT, but it will not be visible by the naked-eye anywhere in the UK/Morocco region on that date. However, on 14 October 2015 the moon will be easily visible throughout most of the world. Hence, the month of Muharram is most likely to start from 15 October 2015.
When to Observe the Crescent Moon of Muharram 1437 AH
Please look for the Hilal of Muharram 1437 AH on 13 October 2015 (29th Dhul Hijjah) after sunset from the western horizon as per Sunnah and report your results (positive or negative) via our website Observation Report Form.
Results of Crescent Moon Observations for Muharram 1437 AH
Announcement for start of Muharram 1437 AH
The Hilal of Muharram 1437 was not sighted in the UK/Morocco region on Tuesday 13th October 2015 (29th Dhul Hijjah 1437 AH). We have also received a negative sighting report from Morocco Awqaf Ministry by fax.
Therefore, the UK Ulama have decided that the month of Dhul Hijjah 1437 AH will complete 30-days and the month of Muharram 1437 AH will start from Thursday 15th October 2015, making Ashura (10 Muharram) to fall on Saturday 24th October 2015, Insha-Allah.
Note that Saudi Arabia did not sight the moon on Tuesday 13th October 2015 from the usual places near Riyadh (Shaqra/Sudair) due to clouds. Hence, they may also start the month from Thursday 15th October 2015.