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Saudi Dates Tested by Astronomical Calculations
ISNA’s new position copies Saudi Umm al-Qura Taqweem rule
of: the Conjunction date + moonset AFTER the sunset in
Makka.” (ISNA’s earlier position: the conjunction BEFORE
12:00 Noon GMT was a variation of Saudi rule). Both the
revised and previous positions disregard the moon’s sighting
in Saudi Arabia or the USA on calculated dates.
course, Saudi calendar makers readily admit and ISNA FCN/ECFR
etc. agree that a Hilal is NOT SEEN in Makka on the date
calculated by this criterion. It is also well known that the
Saudi witnesses often claim seeing a Hilal before the
conjunction in Makka.
any Saudi date, and it is enough to prove that the Saudi
first dates are "astronomically" incorrect also (for Saudi
Arabia or any country in the world). Let us test Eid al-Fitr
2007 date to see if ISNA adopted Saudi rule of calculation
is valid for any Islamic calendar. The data shows:
The New Moon (Conjunction) date is Oct. 11, 2007
The moon sets ONE minute BEFORE the Sunset in Makka on
Therefore, Eid al-Fitr fixed date (for S. Arabia, ISNA, ECFR,
etc.) is Oct. 13.
let us consider the following:
If the moonset in Makka was only one minute later at
6:00 pm with the sunset at 6:00 pm (instead of 5:59 pm)
on Oct. 11, 2007 then Oct. 12 would be the Eid date by
Umm al-Qura/ISNA rule. A difference of only one minute
makes a difference of a whole date.
In some parts of S. Arabia (not Makka) the moonset might
be with the sunset on Oct. 11. Saudi rule should allow
Eid al-Fitr at least there on Oct. 12, instead of
October 13 for the rest of the country.
What about the regions east of Makka (from Taif to New
Zealand) where the moonset is AFTER the sunset on Oct.
11? Good examples are Jakarta (Indonesia), Kuala Lumpur
(Malaysia) and Colombo (Sri Lanka). At all those places
the moon sets AFTER the sunset. Should they have Eid on
Oct. 12 (a day before Saudi Arabia by following the
Saudi calendar rule) or wait till Oct. 13 as ISNAFC/ECFR
advised the Muslims in Europe and America?
In the countries located west of Makka where the moon
sets BEFORE the sunset on Oct. 11 (Egypt, Turkey,
Morocco, etc) of course, following the Saudi rule, Eid
should be on Oct. 13. But what about western Africa, as
well as North and South America where the moon sets
AFTER the sunset on Oct. 11? Why should these countries
wait till Oct. 13 for Eid? The criterion that ISNA/ECFR
endorse for fixing Islamic dates all over the world is
fully met in those countries.
this the Way to Begin an Islamic Month?
last paragraph of Dr. Zulfiqar Shah’s paper “The Unity of
If this is how the Muslims start the month then Taif, which
is located east of Mecca (and all countries east to New
Zealand) should start the month on next solar date, and not
on the same day as Mecca.
This is the real quandary.