Saudi Arabia’s Mistake in Announcing Eid al-Fitr Angers Muslims Worldwide

Suggested reading: Bringing the Muslims to the Same Day Eid in UK: Letting Royal Observatory in Greenwich Decide

Source of the news: Farsnews from September 2011

The Jeddah Astronomy Society’s mistake in sighting of the new moon in Saudi Arabia has angered the many Muslim nations who followed suit and pronounced Tuesday as Eid al-Fitr wrongly.

The society had said that people actually saw the planet Saturn and not the crescent moon that marks the beginning of the Islamic month of Shawwal.

Hatem Auda, director of the National Institute for Astronomical and Geophysical Research, had said that astronomical calculations by scientists of the institute noted that the first day of the Eid was Wednesday, August 31, making Tuesday, August 30 the last day of Ramadan for the Hijri year of 1432.

Various news agencies such as Al-Arabiya and Aljazeera have also reported that the planet Saturn has been mistaken for the Hilal (crescent moon), and this means that what was announced as the first day of Eid al-Fitr was supposed to be a day of fasting, rather than celebrations.

According to the Aljazeera report, the source of these problematic Hilal-sighting is from Sudair, a region located approximately 150km North of the capital Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The vice-president of Jeddah Astronomy Society reassured that it is impossible to view the Hilal with the naked eye.

Saudi government officials have reportedly apologized to their nation and said that they would pay Kaffarah (an amount of money paid as expiation for breaking the fast during the holy month of Ramadan) for the entire Saudi nation.

While a number of Muslim countries announce the new crescent only on the basis of frequent sightings by the people, astronomy societies and clerics inside their borders, many others rely on the sightings done by Saudi Arabia and announcement of the Eid crescent by Riyadh.

Thus, those Muslim nations who have followed the Saudi suit as usual and celebrated the last Tuesday as Eid al-Fitr are now angry with the Saudis as Eid al-Fitr is the biggest event for the worldwide Muslim community.

Read more:

Suggested reading

Eid Mubarak to all and what is the Muslim Times doing for You?

Bringing the Muslims to the Same Day Eid in UK: Letting Royal Observatory in Greenwich Decide

Why Muslims celebrate Eid on different days

Non-Sectarian Islam: The Proportionate Faith

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21 replies

  1. Well, I was in Jordan on Eid and the Jordians actually announced that they had not seen the moon in Jordan but are following the lead of Saudi Arabia in order to demonstrate Islamic solidarity. Should I have been angry? or considered it a ‘gift from Allah’ to make our Ramadan only 29 days? (at least it was 29 days and not 28…).
    May Allah forgive our shortcomings at all times.

  2. What a mockery created by Wahabi Brand of Islam? Other Muslim Countries who followed SA announcement of Idul Fitr should also claim Kaffarah from Saudi Monarch.

  3. These are probably the biggest lies/excuses I have ever heard in this regard. Obviously the people responsible for announceingthe correct eid day are trying to cover up their irresponsibility by making up things, hoping that the King of the country and his fellows don’t know a thing about astronomy. Or probably they themselves don’t know the basics of astronomy either.

    Planet Saturn is just a small dot in the sky, and can’t be mistaken for a crescent by any means. So I am really surprised on this excuse, however I won’t be surprised if majority of the ‘ummah’ due to their ignorance in general and lack of common sense will believe that Saturn and crescent probably look the same. Then this guy, claiming that crescent cannot be seen with naked eyes is also lieing, since people have been seeing it for centuries, and I myself have seen it at least once.

  4. Bothers: I would not put it in such harsh words. I am sure the intentions were good. Ignorent may be, but not necessarily lies. The best way out of this dilemma is that we should add one volontary fast, I will, Inshallah, one of these days…

  5. There is no proof or evidence to support this other than the best guess-timation of a few asstronomers.

    If you you have stated is a fact; then, please provide a link to the “Government Apology” or a rescinding comment by ANY Scholar from the the Ministry of Jurisprudence, Awqaaf, Lajnah Al Daa’imah etc.

    If you cannot then you will not – and ask you to fear Allaah and not be amongst the Muttafiffeen.

  6. somebody started the kafarrah news and it spread like wild fire. Please show the official statements from saudi governments that they are accepting the responsiblity.

  7. wahabeasts! ruined the islamic world! now the whole muslim ummah is suffering! (…censored…) saudis ! better thy b in casinos!

  8. 50 yrs ago, most of the world followed followed the saudi announcement for Eid. I remember this clearly in my childhood. Now Saudi brand of islam is just a mockery. I lived and worked in Mecca for 4 years. All the four years we fasted only 28 days (1970 – 1973)

  9. I arrived in Madinah from Makkah in the last few days of Ramadhan. Eid ul Fitr was expected after three days. Then suddenly after midnight, it was announced that EID will be in the morning. It was surprising.
    I attended Eid in Masjid e Nabwi and found that there was no place inside the mosque. I had to sit outside and found that many (many) Arab were coming for Eid prayers with their families. This happened in 1971.
    There was a similar case in 1970 also when Eid appeared to be celebrated few days early (in advance) than expected.
    I found that King controls the calendar too. The Arabs see the moon in the morning instead of evening and they estimate new moon from no moon in morning.

  10. The saudis are never to be trusted, they do not forecast accurately,perhaps only wahabis should follow them, the rest should be able to observe the crescent in many parts of the world. The SAs perhaps rely on their American masters to forecast for them

  11. That is why it is not good to trust Saudi Arabian Government . They just keep claiming that they are leaders for all Muslim Nations.I will never believe that .How can they be our leaders?They are the main source of confusion in all over the world.Just for a common site of the moon you made mistake ?
    They must stop claiming that they are Islamic Nation leaders.
    What about the Kaffara? Who will take that responsibility ?
    Shame onto you Saudi Government.

  12. Sauids have become one of the biggest problems for whole Umma not alone for its own people. May Allah open their eyes and give them some wisdom. Ameen.

  13. Dear Mr. Rafiq,

    We doubt the authenticity of your report, for two reasons, firstly due to non existence of any official statement from Saudi authorities and secondly the link of Fars News you provided which doesn’t even work, below error is displayed.

    Server Error
    404 – File or directory not found.
    The resource you are looking for might have been removed, had its name changed, or is temporarily unavailable.

  14. Question to Mr. mzanzibari.

    You mentioned a term “whabeasts” in your post, could you please mention its meaning as well? are you a Ahmadi or non-Ahmadi?

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