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.
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).