Use astronomy to determine start of Ramadan: scholars

All phases of the moon on a clear dark sky

“If we the Muslims, can agree on precise understanding of astronomical moon sighting, we can overcome our petty sate in the Western countries of having Eid on different days. Let the national observatories decide when we can have Eid together in a given country.” The Muslim Times’ Editorial team

Source: Gulf News

Astronomical calculations have determined accurately when it starts every year since 1993

UAE: Islamic scholars and astrophysicists in the UAE believe the Muslim world should rely on astronomical calculations instead of moon sighting to determine when Ramadan or Eid is.

The start of Ramadan, which is the ninth month in the Islamic calendar, is determined by the sighting of the crescent moon like any other month in the Islamic calendar.

Since the new moon marks the beginning of the new month, astrophysicists have said the beginning of Ramadan can be safely calculated.

In fact, astronomical calculations have determined accurately when Ramadan is every year since 1993.

Despite scientific proof, confusion about the start of Ramadan or Eid still prevails because many still argue that moon sighting using the naked eye or a telescope should be the only way to determine when Ramadan is.

This is mainly because of the hadith “Do not fast unless you sight the crescent, and do not break your fast till you sight the [following] crescent.” (Al Bukhari, Vol. 3:130). Those who rely on the hadith use visual confirmation per region and for this reason consistent variations of the start of Ramadan have existed since the time of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH.)

To learn more about what method should be used, Gulf News spoke to Islamic scholars and astrophysicists in the UAE.

Astrophysicist Nidhal Guessoum, Professor and Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the American University of Sharjah, said people should depend on astronomical calculations because traditional methods are not accurate.

“We know from various studies that the traditional method of relying on people’s reports of crescent observation comes with large rates of error, often largely exceeding 50 per cent.”

Read further

Additional Reading

Collection of Ideas to Overcome Sectarian Divide Among the Muslims

United States Naval Observatory website to decide new moon in USA

Why Muslims celebrate Eid on different days

2 replies

  1. Islam is a scientific religion. We should take advantage of latest progress in Astronomy to determine beginning of the month, as mentioned in the article it has been validated for decades. Unfortunately sighting of moon for Ramadhan and Eid is being used by Mullahs to remain relevant.

  2. It’s only logical to use every available resource to inquire the commencement of Ramadan, otherwise if you look at it even telescopes are man made. It’s rewarding to be accurate. After all ting done on time and punctually is what make all the difference

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