Every year the Muslims not only in Pakistan but in many other countries are rattled by uncertainty and frustration over the issue of appearance of Ramadan moon. This is a non-issue which has become a very intricate problem that challenges ingenuity for its solution for many a Muslim. The orthodox Muslim clerics opine that we should not begin the fasting month of Ramadan until and unless we see crescent with our own naked eyes. They quote the Hadith of the Holy Prophet in this respect: “Whenever you sight the moon of Ramadan, observe fast and when you see the moon of Shawwal, break it, and if the sky is overcast, observe fasts for thirty days”. It does not mean that the Prophet of Islam prohibited us not to use the scientific methods of Astronomy. Nor did he forbid the Muslims of his own era not to benefit from the Roman or Indian lunar calendars which even then predicted the correct appearance of the new moon with surgeon-like precision. In the times of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the common mode of transportation was either camel or horse. He never preached that the Muslims should never travel by any other means of traveling as are available now. Similarly, now when Astronomy can tell us about the appearance of crescent with absolute accuracy, I wonder why some clerics insist that the Ramadan’s crescent must be seen with naked eye only. We the Muslims ruled over the world in the fields of astronomy, chemistry and physics for a millennium but now every year we as a nation become an object of entertaining contempt and an eye-catching dramatic spectacle for the world. If Al Biruni, the celebrated Muslim astronomer and scientist could measure the circumference of the earth accurately many centuries back, why cannot we now predict the accurate appearance of Ramadan moon.
MUBUSHAR ALI SULEHRIA,
Wah cantt, July 21.