Home South Asia Pakistan Will lunar calendar resolve moon-sighting controversy in Naya Pakistan?

Will lunar calendar resolve moon-sighting controversy in Naya Pakistan?

Many wonder if this will be the new begging of moon sighting in Naya Pakistan as it might officially take away the job from the religious scholars, who have not only opposed the move but advised the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry to refrain from commenting on religious matters. In line with the new lunar calendar, Chaudhry has said that the Eid moon is likely to be sighted on the 29th fast, falling on June 4.

lunar calendar

News Desk |

A science committee earlier formed to determine the exact dates of Ramzan, Eids, and Muharram for the next five years with 100 percent accuracy through technology has finally prepared a lunar calendar which suggests that Eidul Fitr is expected to fall on June 5.

Many wonder if this will be the new begging of moon sighting in Naya Pakistan as it might officially take away the job from the religious scholars, who have not only opposed the move but advised the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry to refrain from commenting on religious matters.

With an aim to end confusion among people on moon sighting in Pakistan, the science minister set up a scientific committee to prepare the lunar calendar clearly and accurately marking the big events – starting of Ramzan, Eidul Fitr, Eidul Azha, and Muharram for the next five years.

Members of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and others gather to view the new moon through a telescope as well as collect evidence from across the country to mark the beginning of Ramzan or announcement of Eid every year.

The Ruet-e-Hilal Committee usually comes into the public eye on big occasions as their usual moon-sighting meetings do not attract much attention. Lately, the Ministry of Religious Affairs has called a meeting of the Central Ruet-e-Hilal Committee on June 4 for the sighting of the Shawwal moon.

On May 21, Chaudhry said that the calendar has been completed and “will be sent to Council of Islamic Ideology [CII]”. He said that members of the CII, as well as the moon-sighting committee, have been invited to view the calendar “so that they understand the extensive working that was done to compile it.”

Apart from inviting questions from CII, Chaudhry has suggested that a meeting of religious scholars and scientists may be convened, preferably within 5 days if clarification is required. He has requested the council to invite Shahabuddin Popalzai and Mufti Muneebur Rehman, so that the ulema can be briefed.

Read more: Science minister-cum-social media celebrity – Fawad Chaudhry

In a measured prediction on Tuesday, Chaudhry said that the Eid moon is likely to be sighted on the 29th fast, falling on June 4. On May 6, Chaudhry posted a notification regarding the constitution of the committee tasked to finalize calendar for important religious holidays. The committee members included Dr Mohammad Tariq Masood, Joint Scientific Adviser, Ministry of Science and Technology; Waqar Ahmad, Lecturer, Meteorology Department, CUI, Islamabad; Nadeem Faisal, Deputy Director, Meteorology Department; Abu Nasan, Deputy Director, Meteorology Department; and Ghulam Murtaza, DCM, SUPARCO, Islamabad.

Chaudhry Questions Spending Money on Moon Sighting

Earlier, the minister had questioned the wisdom in spending large sums of money on moon sighting every year. He was of the view that the Ruet-e-Hilal committee should carry out the sighting voluntarily.

“The gathering of religious scholars just for the purpose of sighting moon burdens national exchequer and is waste of public money. It is time to utilize science and technology to end the controversy,” the media had quoted him as saying. He had further said that around Rs4 million were spent on the moon sighting procedure every year, adding that a 10-year calendar would end the disputes and extra expenses.

While talking to media persons at the Karachi Met Office, Mufti Muneeb had said that the minister was unaware of the system and if he was interested, we could make a 100-year lunar calendar for him.

His statement has frustrated several religious scholars and they had advised him to stay away from the religious matters. He, however, promised to come up with the lunar calendar this Ramzan.

Technology vs Naked Eye

Members of the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee and others gather to view the new moon through a telescope as well as collect evidence from across the country to mark the beginning of Ramzan or announcement of Eid every year.

On the other hand, astronomers say that seeing the new crescent moon can be tricky as it’s quite faint and sometimes not visible to the naked eye because of haze, clouds or air pollution. They, however, believe that modern technology can help solve this problem.

Mufti Muneeb hits back at Chaudhry

Meanwhile, Chairman Central Ruet-i-Hilal Committee Mufti Muneeb had advised Chaudhry to refrain from commenting on religious matters. While talking to media persons at the Karachi Met Office, Mufti Muneeb had said that the minister was unaware of the system and if he was interested, we could make a 100-year lunar calendar for him.

Read more: Fawad Chaudhry’s tells ‘Moon’ sighting committee to enter the 21st Century

He had advised Chaudhry to not distort Pakistan’s history and asked Prime Minister Imran Khan to instruct his ministers the same. He had added that the minister must know that the Ruet-e-Hilal Committee’s meeting is held at Metrological Department.

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