Introduction

To establish the Hijri calendar with verified moon sightings by the human eye (Muhaqaq Ruyat Basari) is a communal obligation (Fard Al-Kifaya). The role of the public is to sight the moon and report it. The role of the Hilal Committee is to take the witness testimonies (Shahada) and declare the start of the lunar months (for Ibadah). Anyone who has sent a Hilal Report to the ICOUK website (bit.ly/SendObsReport) may be invited to give a testimony to ICOUK Ulama according to this policy, which may be shared confidentially (see below) with other UK Hilal Committees/Organisations (to avoid inconveniencing the witnesses with multiple testimonies).

Witness Criteria

The vast majority of the ICOUK members follow the Quran and Sunnah according to the understanding of the Hanafi Madhab (school of thought), which has the most stringent witness criteria. Accordingly, the witness must be (a) Muslim, (b) adult, (c) sane (sound mind), (d) has good eyesight, (e) reliable/good character etc.

Number of Witnesses

A minimum of two males or two females and a male witness will be required, although a greater number is most welcomed. If a female is unable to provide a testimony directly to the ICOUK Ulama, then she can still provide it through a male guardian (Mahram), known as Testimony-upon-Testimony (Shahada-Ala-Shahada)!

Remote Testimony

To help the UK Ulama/Hilal Committees make rapid and accurate Hilal decisions, we will adopt a remote testimony procedure via an audio/video conference call (e.g. Skype/Zoom). Remote testimonies will be taken individually from those who have sent (positive) ICOUK Hilal Reports and whose full identity (ID) are known to the Admins. Therefore, it is important to keep your ICOUK database profile up to date with your contact details and a recent ID Photo (of head and shoulders).

Identity Verification

An ID Photo is very helpful to establish the identity of witnesses with minimum delays. A remote testimony from a stranger (unknown person) is not acceptable. The identity of males and females will be verified separately by male and female Admins and Scholars, respectively. Once the identity has been established, a voice-only testimony (i.e. with video off) may be acceptable, InshaAllah.

Testimony Template

All witnesses will be required to use the template below, by adding the details inside the angle brackets (< >). 

I, <full name> from <city/town> testify that I saw the moon on <date/time> <before/after> sunset. The sky was <clear/cloudy> and the moon was seen on the <left/right> of sunset by <naked eye/binoculars>. The time of sunset was <hh:mm GMT/BST>.

The witnesses may be asked to provide some additional information (e.g. direction of the crescent moon horns), but the template details are the minimum required for Shariah and Scientific purposes.

TestimonyProcDiagram

Announcement

Once the testimonies have been accepted by the ICOUK Ulama/UK Hilal Committees, the decision to start the month will be announced on the ICOUK website and/or social media channels. Other organisations may do the same via their own websites/social media channels. Note that the announcements for negative sighting reports are always later (than positive sighting reports), to allow the extra time for receiving all the observation results from the last sighting point/moonset time!

Confidentiality/Privacy Policy

Any testimonies provided to the ICOUK Ulama above may be shared confidentially with other UK Hilal Committees under a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA). All other personal details of the witnesses will be kept strictly confidential, as per ICOUK Privacy Policy and will not be disclosed to any third parties without the prior consent of the testimony provider.

Related: Importance of Moon Sighting | Importance of Reporting Hilal Sightings


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