In Europe when to start Ramadan and celebrate Idul-Fitr?

Source: Tahir Mahmood-Germany.

By Zubair Khan

In spite of best efforts the Muslims residing in European countries remain divided to start the month of Ramadan as well to celebrate the Idul Fitr. True it is each country has its own horizon, as well due to time difference, the variation in moon sighting can occur.  However when Muslims residing in one country start Ramdan and celebrate Idul Fitr at different dates brings sad, sorrow and bitter feelings.  Since many years, Mr Tahir Mahmood of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Germany,  who is considered authority to calculate the correct moon sighting timings, is performing this service and facilitating Ahmadiyya Muslims residing in Germany and neighbouring countries to observe both these Islamic fests on similar day. For 2012 how he has calcualted the dates for Ramadan and Idul-Fitr are appended below for the knowledge of MT readers. He writes,

“There are several methods described in the astronomic literature which can be used to define the criteria when an earliest moon sighting is possible based on statistical data collected over the last two centuries. Each of them has different accuracy resulting out of the formula used to describe the considered statistical data. The criterion for moon sighting have been an object of research for centuries. Accordingly many methods were developed such as Maunders, Arabian, Indian etc. The Yallop criteria developed by B. D. Yallop for the Nautical Almanac Office UK is considered as the most accurate”. He further elaborates,

“The Arab astronomers described that a crescent can be seen if the age of the moon is older than 24 hours and its altitude at apparent sunset is more than 8 degrees so the lag (time difference between sun and moon set) is more than 45 minutes.The new Maunders method describes that there is still a possibility to see the moon if it appears far enough from the sun at the time of sunset. So the Maunders criterion also considered the difference between the azimuths (Horizontal Positions) of both the moon and the sun.The Indian method just modifies these criteria by more precise values in the formula.The Bruins method, known to be the most exact and based on the Yallop criteria also considers the phase (width and brightness) of the crescent at the sunset. So the Yallop criteria says if the crescent is big enough, the minimum distance between the azimuths of moon and sun can be 11.47 Degrees, still considering the altitude (height) of the moon.This criterion can be evaluated at different times of the sunset. Normally it is calculated at three times, namely: at apparent sunset (when the sun touches the horizon), at a time described as the ‚best time and also at the time when its altitude is less than -5° degrees under the horizon.Yallop describes the Visibility in five codes depending upon the value of the parameter “q”. As for as the first two Visibility codes (A: Easily visible and B: Visible under perfect conditions) are concerned, they may be considered as reliable for the visibility of the first crescent. However the third code (C: May need optical aid) in which the  position of the crescent be spotted by optical aid initially and then it may be visible with unaided eyes, is not reliable. In such cases the value of “q” has to be examined very carefully. According to the actual observations listed by Shaeffer the crescent was visible in a couple of  cases when the value of  “q” was less than (-0.014) but bigger than (–0.110), however in almost none of the cases it was visible with unaided eye when it´s value was lower than (–0.110). Therefore,   we may consider the crescent as visible if the value of “q” is more than this otherwise not. For predicting the beginning of Ramadan and Id dates we considered the third method named Yallop which is to be known as the most accurate and precise method. The results were the following: Ramadan Begins: The new Moon will be born on the 19. July at 06:24GMT+2. On the 20. July is no visibility possible. On the 21. July the moon can be easily seen in all the cities of Germany and neighbouring countries. Id ul Fitr: The new Moon will be born on 17. August at 17:54GMT+2. On 18. August there will be no visibility. On the 19. August there will be a good chance to see the moon. 




7 replies

  1. Ramazan begins on 22nd Sunday.
    What ever the methods of calculation, i am 100% positive that the Last Years Eid ul Fitr was wrongly celebrated by Ahmadis in UK. I saw the moon on the day of Eid and it was definitely at least 2 days old, if not more !!

  2. Fadhillah. Very scientific calculations have been given by Mr Tahir Mahmood.One should not forget “SHAH ADAH” seeing the moon with naked eyes as stated in Hadith.Updated development of science has clearly stated, of which age and at what angle the new moon can be seen by naked eyes. Still if some group wants to start Ramadan a day earlier up to that group. But will definitely harm the unity of Ummah.
    Muhammad Yaqub
    What happened last year and might happen this year also is the age to scientific birth of moon. For example if on night 18th of August, new moon was not sighted as it was having scientific birth age of 18 or 19 hours. Next night it will look like a moon of two days as its age has gone 42 or 43 hours.This is what normally happens and should not be considered as wrong calculation.

  3. Salam! oh i am still very confused. When will Ramadan start in Finland? Please reply as soon as possible.


  4. Sallaams our Brothers always go out and observe the moon with their own eyes. Exactly what the Hadiths says. Hardly no one does this anymore and they go by what Saudi Arabia calculates.

  5. Please don’t worry about the people among Muslims who quarrel for different issues like the sight of moon for Ramzan and Eid etc. Our true leader who taught us how to spend a successful life was our beloved Prophet (PBUH) who was reputed even among his (PBUH) own enemies as ‘Sadiq’ and ‘Ameen’ meaning the ‘truthful’ and the ‘honest’. But unfortunately we entitle someone as our leader who commonly contradicts to these best personal traits. From political leadership to the religious leadership, unfortunately there is a serious lack and contradiction of these basic best traits among Muslim leadership.

    The prime most function and ability of a leadership is his decision making ability. But unfortunately in our time and age, this ability of a leadership is now integrated with the money and wealth because the person who has wealth, has the more ability to make different decisions of life and is able to influence on the lives of other people up to the level of money the person possesses. And their followers, follow those leaders due to their wealth but not due to their best personal characters and traits.

    Therefore, when people among Muslims quarrel with each other for petty issues, it is not the fault of Islam but is the fault of people who make their influence by wrongly the use of their money or bad personal traits of deception and lies and it is also the fault of those people who follow the people who have money with them or who are deceptors and liars in their lives.

    On a true Islam, a person nor follows the people with money and deceptors and liars and if he himself has money then not follow his personal whims but a true Muslim follows the person with best personal traits and characters like the person who is truthful and honest in his life. So, we should not blame to Islam for our petty differences in religious issues because these Muslims infect and unfortunately are not following the real God, Allah but are following to their personal whims and by this these hypocrites are deteriorating the good image of Islam and unfortunately these personal whim worshipers are not sincere with the mission of our beloved Prophet (PBUH). And the true most person was our beloved Prophet (PBUH), so if we are the true believers we should follow him (PBUH) and the people who truly follow our beloved Prophet (PBUH).

  6. Peace! You can calcualte from the scientific birth of moon. On the evening when moonsighting creiteria by naked eyes is met you can start the Ramadan. Or you have some special circumstances in Finland?

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