The worldwide moon sighting reports by members of the Islamic Crescents Observation Project (ICOP) since 1998 showed that Muslims across the world were fasting Ramadan and celebrating Eid over 4 to 5 days, instead of 1 or 2 days. It has been proven from reliable sources (e.g. Kordi, 2003) that the main cause of the Ramadan and Eid divisions across the whole world, such as in the UK/Europe and North America, were caused by the false moon sighting reports from Saudi Arabia as a result of their civil (Ummul Qura) calendar starting the months before the birth of the moon (New Moon Conjunction) or when the moon has set before the sun.
The above errors of Saudi Arabia were well-recognised by the Muslims of the UK at least a decade before the inception of ICOP and hence an International Moon Sighting Conference was held in London Central Mosque and the Islamic Cultural Centre (Regent’s Park Mosque) in 1984. This conference was attended by over 350 scholars from many Muslim countries around the world. The UK scholars included people from different schools of thoughts/maslak (e.g. Deobandi, Baralwi, Salafi etc) as well as the representative of Jamiat-e-Ulama Britain. They all unanimously agreed to naked eye moon sighting reports, which included the condition that any reports from abroad will only be accepted if the moon was on the UK horizon (i.e. moonset after sunset).
The agreed 1984 criteria closely matched moon sighting reports from the nearby countries to the UK, including Morocco. Unfortunately, members of Jamiat-e-Ulama and Hizbul Ulama found it difficult to follow the 1984 criteria in the following year and decided to abandon it by holding a meeting at Darul Uloom Bury in 1986, to follow Saudi Arabia instead (see UK Moon Sighting History). This meeting resolution was signed by all their delegates (i.e. 11 signatures from Jamiat-e-Ulama and 10 signatures from Hizbul-Ulama) as shown below.
All agreed decision of New Moon
All the Muslims of Britain will have the pleasure of hearing this that the Jamiat Ulama Britain and the Hizbul Ulama UK’s delegates held a meeting on 28th of December 1986 after Magrib prayer at Darul-Uloom Bury under the sadarat [chair] of Maulana Yusuf Motala Sahib and naib sadarat [vice chair] of Maulana Musa Karmadi Sahib about the New Moon in Britain. In this meeting both Jamats agreed after a lot of discussion under the Islamic Law that the New Moon in Britain will be based on “Saudis” New Moon. And then be decided about the dates of Ramadan, Eids and the Islamic Months. This agreement was passed by the undersigned delegates:
Delegates of Jamiat Ulama, Britain
Delegates of Hizbul Ulama, UK
Representatives of Central Moon Sighting Committee (Jamiat Ulama Britain and Hizbul Ulama UK)
This resolution was widely publicised in their Mosque Noticeboards throughout the UK and the vast majority of the Muslim population were misguided by them to follow Saudi Arabia. They continue to do so over past 30 years, even with numerous independent evidences of false moon sighting reports from Saudi Arabia.
The recent publication in The Observatory Journal (Alrefay et al, 2018) with 27 years of moon sighting reports from Saudi Arabia by highly experienced astronomers also prove the past errors of announcements made by the Saudi Supreme Court. Therefore, the resolution of 1986 Darul Uloom Bury meeting to follow Saudi Arabia is proven to be false/invalid, due to the widespread misunderstanding of these technical matters. We urge all right-minded Muslims to avoid following news from distant countries (such as Saudi Arabia), and adopt local (or regional) moon sighting instead, as reported to our ICOUK.net website (see Moon -> Observation Results).
(Adapted from a newspaper report, “When is Eidul-Fitr 2021?” by Eng. Qamar Uddin; dated 20 April 2021)
There is a difference of opinions between Muslim scholars if the lunar month should start with the BIRTH of the moon or the VISIBILITY of the moon. Those who follow the BIRTH of the moon (eg. Saudi Arabia) generally will start the lunar month one day (24 hrs) ahead of those who follow the VISIBILITY of the moon (eg. Morocco). This will be the case in almost every month of the year (or at least in 11 out of 12 months).
There is yet another established difference of opinions between the Muslim scholars about Local Sighting (Ikhtilaf Matale) or Global Sighting (Ittihad Matale) criteria. In the earlier centuries (i.e during the pre-telecommunications era) when Muslims were confined to a small area of the Globe, what was considered as Global Sighting then, can now be re-defined as Regional Sighting (eg. the UK to Morocco region), which has been practised by many of the UK Muslims due to the adverse UK weather conditions in the past.
A few of our ICOUK members have asked about the possibility of switching to UK-only Local Moon Sighting criteria, for a United Eid by all groups, so you may wish to consider the following data analysis/proposal.
Possibility of Local Moon Sighting Criteria
The reason we started 2-days moon sightings since 2018, with the “Spot the Moon Photo Competition” was to encourage the UK Muslims to look for the moon when it was scientifically possible to be sighted in the UK (and not just look for it on the 29th date of a foreign country!). Furthermore, one of the main reasons for doing so was to evaluate this very possibility of adopting a Local Moon sighting (or UK-only) criteria. [Ref: Why look for the moon after 29th date?]
The observation data collected over the past 4-years (2018 – 2021), shows that indeed, it is both scientifically and practically possible to sight the first day’s crescent moon on the UK horizon (provided enough people are looking for it) and it also meets the Shariah requirement of 29/30 days long months throughout the whole year. [Ref: View Observation Results]
However, we have consistently faced the difficulties of not having enough people looking for the moon in the winter months (Nov – Feb) or enough area coverage when most people are still at work (during sunset times around 4 PM). This lack of support during the winter months will make the change to a UK-only criteria very unreliable (until we have wider community support) and has the potential for further divisions/disunity.
Proposal for Local Moon Sighting Criteria
The adverse UK weather conditions and the lack of sighters have forced the UK Muslims to borrow moon sighting news from nearby countries with similarities of moonrise times. Indeed, the vast majority of the UK Muslims did agree to follow Morocco for the past 50-years (since 1970’s), based on the well-established Regional Moon criteria for centuries! [Ref: Why Two Eids? By Allamah Khalid Mahmood (RA)]
However, there was an unfortunate event in the 1980’s that led some of the UK Muslims to follow Saudi Arabia which resulted in divided Ramadan/Eid ever since! [Ref: History of UK Moon Sighting]. Nevertheless, if both these groups were willing to leave foreign countries altogether and unite on UK moon sighting (ie the British Isles), then that will be a very commendable achievement, InshaAllah.
Up to now, we have undertaken the role of the public to do Sighting and Reporting (see the ICOUK website). However, when we adopt an independent Local Moon Sighting System, we will need to undertake Testimonies and make Declarations too, very rapidly and accurately (within 1-hour of UK sunset times).
To facilitate a rapid and accurate testimony procedure (acceptable in Hanafi Fiqh), we will need two types of people with specialist skills working as a team in each of the UK Regions. These people must include a few Ulama to take Testimonies (Shahada) and a few IT Admins to facilitate face-to-face and/or remote audio/video links that work flawlessly! [Ref: Hilal Testimony Procedure]
Finally, we will need to provide the necessary training to the above types of people for a few months, followed by a few months of practice with real witnesses before going live from a future date (with a common starting point, e.g. March 2022/Shaban 1443) that is well-publicised for a further few months by all-party Ulama and Community Leaders.
- May – July 2021 (Shawwal – Dhul Hijjah 1442): Formation of UK Regional Testimony Groups (x 12)
- Aug – Oct 2021 (Muharram – Rabi-I 1443): Training of UK Regional Testimony Groups
- Nov – Feb 2022 (Rabi-II – Rajab 1443): Practice/ Publicity of UK Regional Testimony Procedure
- Mar 2022 (Shaban 1443): Switch to Local Moon Sighting on a common date for UK, Morocco, Saudi UQC
If you wish to join the UK Regional Ulama and/or IT Admin groups, please email us via our ICOUK.net website Contact Us form to express your interest. JazakAllahu Khaira!
Are you making a Gregorian calendar with Hijri dates?
If yes, that’s great MashaAllah, as Allah orders in the Quran (2:189/9:36) to establish the Hijri Calendar based on verified moon sighting by the human eye (Muhaqaq Ruyat Basari)!
What is Imkan Al-Ruyat or Predicted Crescent Visibility?
The Imkan Al-Ruyat or Predicted Crescent Visibility is based on the following 3 conditions:
- the New Moon Conjunction (or the Birth of the Moon) must occur before local sunset,
- the moonset must be after sunset, i.e. the moon must be above horizon at sunset and
- the width of the crescent moon must be large enough to be detected by the human eye (after sunset).
Is your calendar based on Birth or Visibility of the Moon?
Many people who use the old estimates of Hijri dates based on (1) the New Moon Conjunction or (2) the Moonset after sunset, will be 1 or 2 days ahead of the actual visibility of the moon. To use the old estimates (or calculations) and simply state “Subject to Moon Sighting”, is very misleading as that sets false/incorrect expectations of the Ramadan and Eid dates!
The Hijri calendar is LOCAL and not GLOBAL by definition
The Hijri Calendar starts at local sunset from the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) and since the world is a globe (with Time-Zone differences), it is a LOCAL and not a GLOBAL calendar. It is against the Sunnah to follow moon sighting news form distant countries (see Kuraib Hadith). Therefore, the UK Muslims must adopt local moon sighting all year round, including Ramadan and Eid, and not follow distant countries (e.g. Saudi Arabia or South Africa)!
Examples of the Gregorian calendar with Hijri Dates
The principle of Local Moon Sighting is the original position from the Quran and Sunnah. However, due to the adverse weather conditions in the British Isles, the UK Muslims have been advised in the past to follow Morocco for reliable moon sighting news (see Fatwa section), as an interim solution.
Therefore, the examples of the Gregorian calendar with Hijri Dates for January 2021, 2022 and 2023 given below are based on the predicted crescent visibility (Imkan Al-Ruyat) for the UK to Morocco Region, whilst working towards a community consensus on a UK-only solution, InshaAllah.
Note that the start of the week is from Sunday (Yawm Al-Ahad/يوم ٱلْأَحَد, the First day) and not from Friday or Saturday, which is mentioned in the Commentry of the Quran (see Tafsir Ibn Kathir, Quran 7:54).
If you have any comments regarding the above article, please email us via our on-line Contact Us form.
The moon sighting locations map below is for evaluation purposes. If you have visited any of the locations (or found a new one), please email us via our on-line Contact Us form and we will update it, InshaAllah. Please see disclaimer below.
(1) Zoom into your area and click on the blue location icon
(2) Click on the red direction-arrow to visit your location
Compiled by Hidayatullah Patel, updated by Qamar Uddin (July 2019)
The above location data is provided for your own convenience in good faith, to be used entirely at your own risk. The compilers of the data do not accept any responsibility or liability arising from the possible loss or damage caused by the use of the data. Furthermore, you undertake to be fully responsible for your own safety and that of others in your group (if any).
You are advised to visit the location during daylight hours prior to the actual date of observation to note the sunset position and any other safety issues.
Some locations may not be suitable for children or elderly (or other vulnerable adults), especially during the darkness after sunset. Group travel is always advisable (to include at least two adults) for your own safety and for verification of the observation report.
The first day’s youngest crescent moon (Hilal) appears from different places on the earth each month, moving from east to west, as well as from south to north. Looking at the predicted crescent visibility maps for a whole year, it is possible to sight the Hilal from the UK horizon, if people make an effort to sight it (weather permitting). However, it should be noted that the lunar year has approximately 6 months that are 29 days and 6 months that are 30 days (in different combinations), which means we should not expect to sight the Hilal on every 29th day! Note also that a leap year may have 5 x 29 days and 7 x 30 days per month (or vice versa).
The predicted dates in 1445 AH (2023 - 2024) when the moon is expected to be sighted on the UK horizons are given below, which may be the 29th or the next day (i.e. 30th or 1st lunar date in the UK to Morocco region):
|Observation Dates (1445)||Observation Dates (1445)|
|19/07/2023 We* (Muharram)
18/08/2023 Fr* (Safar)
17/09/2023 Su* (Rabi-I)
17/10/2023 Tu* (Rabi-II)
15/11/2023 We* (Jumada-I)
14/12/2023 Th (Jumada-II)
[low altitude/Lunar Standstills]
|12/01/2024 Fr (Rajab)
11/02/2024 Su* (Sha'ban)
11/03/2024 Mo (Ramadan)
09/04/2024 Tu (Shawwal)
09/05/2024 Th (D.Qa'dah)
07/06/2024 Fr (D.Hijjah)
Key: *a day after Morocco
To make a successful sighting of the Hilal (even if cloudy), it is necessary to plan the observation effectively with the following considerations in mind:
- Identify a high location where the western horizon can be easily seen (down to ground/sea level)
- Make a note of the sunset position on a clear day with respect to the landscape a few days earlier
- Use the Internet or Mobile Phone Apps to note the sunset and moonset times for the location
- On the above dates, look for the Hilal close to the sunset position between the above setting times
- Try to use a suitable Mobile Phone App (eg. GPS Compass) to find the direction in cloudy weather
How to Plan for Moon SightingThis short video (7 mins) explains how to sight the Hilal, even in cloudy weather, using some widely available technology at your fingertips (i.e. mobile phone with Internet access). The links to the free software tools used in the video examples can be found in the www.moonsighting.org.uk website, under the Links tab. [Oct 2020]
How to take photos of the crescent moon
A mobile phone camera could easily be used to take a fairly good quality photo of the crescent moon. However, since the moon is very far away from the earth (about 384,400 km), a small finger-tap vibration can cause the photo to become blurry, compared to taking a photo of any nearby objects.
- Change your camera setting to take photos in HD quality (5 MB)
- Position your camera in a dark area, away from any artificial lights (e.g. street lamps)
- Use a tripod (standard or octopus type) with an adaptor to hold the camera steady
- Use manual focus and a remote trigger (Bluetooth or headphone cable volume control)
- If you do not have a remote trigger, try adding time delay (2 – 10 s) to reduce finger vibration
- Upload your photos on cloud storage (e.g. Google Drive) and share the entire folder (e.g. Hilal)
It is possible to take winning photos of a “Spot the Moon Photo Competition” with a mobile phone camera, but most of the past ones were using digital cameras with optical zoom, mounted on tripods (e.g. Nikon Coolpix P900, Panasonic Lumix FZ82, Canon DSLR 1200D etc). You could achieve similar results with a mobile phone adapter mounted on a binocular eyepiece, too!
After your observation submit your result on our website (positive or negative), so it can be taken into consideration by the UK Ulama when making a decision for the start of the new month, InshaAllah. [bit.ly/HilalReportImportance2]
If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to email us via our on-line Contact Us form.