Pehli Ka Chand

Once again, Pakistan celebrates two different Eids as Royat-e-Hilal Committee sights their own moon and clerics of Masjid Qasim Khan sight their own. Ovais Mangalwala meets Mufti Muneeb-ur-Rehman of Royat-e-Hilal Commitee, Muhammad Riaz of Pakistan Met office, Molana Khair-ul-Bashr of Qasim Khan Mosque Peshawar and members of Karachi Astronomers Society to understand the moon sighting process and the controversy attached to it.

Crescent Moon


Ovais bhai (the producer of the program) makes some astronomically incorrect conclusions in this report. Quoting him:

مگر پہلی کا چاند اتنی آسانی سے کہاں نظر آتا ہے؟ وہ تو اپنی تمام شرائط کے پورا ہونے پر پیدائش کے کئی گھنٹے بعد اور

کبھی کبھی تو پیدائش کے اگلے دن دنیا کے صرف چند ممالک میں اور وہ بھی صرف چند گھنٹوں کے لئے نظر آتا ہے

We astronomers know that it is not always difficult to see the crescent of the first. In fact, most of the time it is easy, because by definition, the “crescent of the first” which heralds the start of a lunar month is that crescent which can be seen easily.

This point Ovais bhai makes is not applicable to the Muslim world. In about 10 solar months out of 12, the Moon becomes actually visible at the same time from Indonesia to Morocco. A new islamic month is started in certain places due to one reason or the other but not necessarily due to confirmed hilal sighting. This point in bold is a very subtle one, but is the root of the controversy of twin Eids (not only in Pakistan, but elsewhere too) that arises every year.

(This work is solely the property of Dawn News Pakistan and I have no association with it).

Part 1:


Part 2:


Part 3:



    • xulfi on September 27, 2010 at 7:33 pm
    • Reply

    true, but sad fact…
    pakistan is the country where different regions perform eid on different timings…

    1. Indeed. It is just because people don’t have open minds. Yaar when scientifically it is impossible to see the moon, how could they see it? One answer, they are supermen and they are blessed with extra-ordinary eyes.

    • Zain Ahmed on October 4, 2010 at 5:45 pm
    • Reply

    Xulfi, it is unfortunate indeed, but Pakistan is not the only country where multiple Eids are celebrated.

    Bilal, actually it’s less about open mindedness and more about ignorance. Once the ignorance is cured, so will the confusion. Our people need to either acquaint themselves with the science behind lunar crescent sighting or learn to trust the authorities of the field.

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