Thursday 18th July 2024 | Khamis 11th Muharram 1446 [?]

By Eng. Qamar Uddin, ICOUK (July 2022/Dhul Hijjah 1443) [download pdf]

Further to my previous email/article last year (April 2021) about Local and Regional Moon Sighting where I had proposed that up to then (2021/1442), we have undertaken the role of the public to do Moon Sightings and Reportings but to adopt an independent Local Moon Sighting System, we will also need to undertake Testimonies and make Declarations too (very rapidly and accurately).

Over the past year, we have conducted the above trials with the help of many UK Moon Sighting volunteers and Trial Testimony Ulama Panels. We have overcome some minor teething problems during the trial and I am pleased to report that the result of the complete Local Sighting trial is both practical and achievable, Alhamdulillah.

However, the number of people reporting to the ICOUK website this year (1443/2022) has gone down slightly from last year (1442/2021), especially during the winter months (when sunset is during the working hours) but the total number of months the moon was sighted remained the same (10 out of 12 months), which continues to fully meet the Hijri Calendar rules of the Shariah (eg. “If the sky is cloudy then complete 30-days [1] [Muslim:1081c]).

Comparison UK Morocco1443 tableLooking at the past 5-years UK Moon Sighting data, it is clear that if a few 29th-day sightings are missed (due to lack of sighters or clouds), it is automatically corrected by the end of the following month without accumulating (adding up) errors to the subsequent month. If we get wider community support for Local Sighting in the future, then this monthly data can be further improved, InshaAllah. []

It is well-known that Local Moon Sighting is the original position of the Shariah, as established from the Sunnah of the Prophet (ﷺ) and the Khulafa Rashideen (RA). However, since UK Muslims have been following different foreign countries for historical reasons, it was necessary to seek advice from those institutions that advised us to follow foreign countries in the first place. The question (Istiftaa) asked last year provided the past 4-years actual observation data with 2-years predicted crescent visibility (Imkan Al-Ruyat) data, to show that Local Moon Sighting is indeed possible. We have now received several fatawa to follow Local Moon Sighting, provided we seek the majority agreement, InshaAllah. []

There are many social/political benefits of uniting on Local Moon Sighing in a non-Muslim country (eg. to easily organise time off from work, education etc). However, this unity cannot be achieved by a few people doing Local Moon Sighting voluntarily to revive the Sunnah but will require the full support and commitment of the majority of UK Muslims (including the Imams, Scholars and Mosque Committees).

We have also received messages of support from senior UK ulama [2] to lead the change to Local Moon Sighting criteria and hence we have started an online consultation survey, seeking wider community support to change. Please complete the short survey as soon as possible (or by the end of Dhul Hijjah 1443/July 2022). []

Note that for historical reasons the current ICOUK Moon Sighting criteria is the UK to Morocco Region. Any change of criteria will require a few months' notice for publicity (and update of IT systems/Apps), as informed by the survey.

[1] During Major Lunar Standstills (once every 18.6 years), there may be a few months of consecutive 30-days, due to low altitude
[2] including from (a) Wifaqul Ulama (UK): “آپ کو چاہیے کہ مقامی رویت ہلال پر عمل کرنا شروع کر دیں [You (ICOUK) should start following Local Moon Sighting]”. (WhatsApp, 8/5/2022) [MP3] / (b) Jamiat-e-Ulama Britain (CMSC): “آپ مراکش کو چھوڑ سو فیصد مقامی رؤیت پر عمل کرنا شروع کریں [You  should leave Morocco and start following only Local Moon Sighting]” (WhatsApp, 23/6/2022)