Central Moon Sighting Committee of Great Britain (CMSC)

The computer software program that draws colourful charts of crescent sighting probabilities according to Aastronomical theory !!!
BY; (Mufti) Muhammad Ebrahim, Madni Masjid, Bradford (The Committee Member of CMSC)  

A meeting of Jamiatul Ulama and Hizbul Ulama was held in a Bradford Mosque after Asr Salaat on 10.08.2010, where the announcement for 1st Ramadhan 1431 was made.
I informed all those present about the Hilal sighting news: the beginning of Ramadhan has been announced in Indonesia; the nearby country, Turkey has also made similar decision.

We received confirmation of the decision from the representative of Central Moon Sighting Committee of Great Britain (CMSC) Maulana Dr. Saeed Ahmed Iayatullah Makki HA. Befor it The news from Saudi Arab was that their Shariah Judge mentioned at the end of his broadcast that Crescent sighting information has been received, testimonies  accepted, and judicial procedures have been completed.,an hour after this broadcast, the Official announcement came confirming that the 1st of Ramadhan began that night. 

All Arab countries followed the decision from Saudi Arabia excepting Oman where they announced the 1st Ramadhan to be on Thursday. The kingdom of Oman is controlled by the Sultan Qabus, and their official Mazhab is that of Khawarij : their belief about Hadhrat Ali r. is not the same as that of Ahle Sunnat; they differ from Ahle Sunnat not only in fiqhi rules, they even differ in basic beliefs: this Mu'atazila group always disagreed with the day of Arafat in Makkah as part of their faith. That is why some of these fools come via Yemeni route to Arafat a day later. So the entire Arab nation fasted from Wednesday where as these Khawarij began fasting from Thursday according to their own announcement.

The cmscgb`s meeting waited for any news of local crescent sighting as supporting evidence but no such local sighting was reported. It was finally announced, on the basis of news received from Saudia , that the 1st Ramadhan fast will be on Wednesday 11th August 2010 .

On Sunday 15th August, the G.Secratory of CMSC Moulana Yaqoob Ahmed Miftahi received information about local sighting from Birmingham through Moulana Khalid Chowdhry and  Maulana Abdul Basit at London. Moulana Yaqoob Miftahi collected all the necessary information of this sighting and informed his colleagues about this sighting news.

It should be clarified here that the CMSC didn't need any further evidence to establish the sighting crescent of Ramadhan, because all Shariah conditions necessary for establishing Ramadhan Hilal by the desision of Mahkama Ulya of Saudi Arabia have been fulfilled . So there was neither any need for further testimony nor for any supporting evidence. But some Opposes Sharee moon sighting and it`s testimony with the condition of new moon theory & it`s Culculation.

They Opposes when calculations negates sighting possibility, is it acceptable in Shariah? This can be understood as follows:

There exists a computer software program that draws colourful charts of crescent sighting probabilities according to modern astronomical theory (the founder of modern Astronomics is Nicholas Coppernicus 1534, though in reality the founder is Abu Ishaq Ibrahim Zarqani ob Cordoba 1080) . These charts show in advance where and when it is probable to sight the crescent. So if and when these charts shows its impossible to see the crescent at a given location, and if any Muslim gives testimony (after reciting the Kalima) of having sighted the crescent at that location, can the sworn testimony of crescent sighting from this Muslim be accepted? 

They says such testimony must not be accepted. They believe that the crescent sighting from any location must be accepted only after confirming that the chart for that location from website supports the positive sighting probability. If the chart shows its impossible to sight the crescent at that location, they will decide any positive sighting testimony from that location to be unreliable. They not only regard  such testimony to be unreliable, they believe it to be slanderous, doubtful, and false. In other words (in my opinion) they believe that people giving such false testimony are telling lies.

But Islamic Scholars including CMSC would regard these charts to be unreliable, instead they will accept the sworn sighting testimony. This is the conclusion written by all Jurists till today, and this is the decisive verdict (mufta bihi). The cmc has not invented any new verdict on this disputed subject: they simply follow what all Jurists have mentioned till now, and encourage others to do the same that obserwatrial calculation and it`s ``sighting possibility criteria to conduct share moon sighting is un exceptable and na jaize in shariah  . (Thank Allah for this).

Second point is that it is against the Shariah rule to base decisions on these probability charts instead of sworn testimony.  Thirdly, basing decisions on these charts will tread against the 'decisive verdict' and that is not allowed: in fact it will be the following of 'desires' and that is haraam. Fourthly, if present days' sworn testimonies of sightings are rejected on the basis of these calculations and crescent sighting probability charts, would it not automatically render all the decisions and verdicts (especially regarding moon sighting) of the time of Prophet s.a.w. to be doubtful? Its a matter of faith that the date of the Farewell Haj that was performed by Companions r. with Prophet s.a.w. is beyond any doubt and suspicion: its authenticity is conclusive, and all those verdicts followed the revelations from Allah.

Discussing the direction of Qibla, Mufti Muhammad Shafi r. said: Qibla directions of the whole world is speculative, but that of Masjide Nabwi is conclusive, and this is a unique feature of the this Mosque, for its direction was established by revelation to Prophet s.a.w. Similarly, the authenticity of the day and date on which the Farewell Hajj took place is also conclusive. Even then, the modern Astronomic calculations, software programs, and sighting charts do not agree with the date and day of the Farewell Hajj: the sighting probability charts indicates that the crescent sighting was not possible on the day that commenced the month of the Farewell Haj, and reports of sighting by a multitude of people also doesn't exist.

So, in order to protect the Deen of Prophet s.a.w, it is necessary to regard these sighting charts and Astronomic predictions to be unreliable, and to preserve a record of testimonies that contradict their calculated guesses. That's why whenever CMSC receives any  information of such sighting from anywhere in the UK, its members contact those people who claim to have sighted the Crescent, especially when the sighting is against the Astronomic predictions. Full details are recorded and preserved. That's why Moulana Miftahi has collected all such testimonies on his book. Those with insight in to Fiqh have never ignored these testimonies, let alone mocking them. The graet Jurist Hadhrat Mufti Rashid Ahmed Ludhianwi r. discussed these testimonies with Moulana Abdul Rashid Rabbani sahab. Hadhrat even asked if there are any sighting reports before the predicted conjunction (birth of crescent). When said 'yes', Hadhrat did not ignore or reject the reply.

When CMSC received the sighting report on Sunday from Birmingham, a meeting with them was arranged purely for preserving the record and NOT for establishing the hilal of Ramadhan. The meeting was to talk with them in person, and to obtain and preserve a written and signed Testimony, so that people can see that even when astronomic charts declare it impossible to see the crescent, we can still get not just the claim of sighting, we get actual sworn testimony that contradicts calculated predictions. So CMSC members discussed this with Moulana Abdur Rab of Birmingham. He welcomed the idea and expressed his pleasure for arranging such a meeting. Two CMSC members from Bradford and three from Batley met Moulana Muhammadullah and Hafiz Muhammad Saeed in Birmingham. The third brother was travelling in Jamaat in Rochdale, so he was seen there in the same night. The gist of their discussion was:-

We were in the Mashwara in Birmingham Mosque. We tried to see the crescent just before Maghrib Salaat. Brother Amin pointed out that look near the first electric wire, you should be able to see the crescent there. It was not visible then though we could see the star nearby. So all four of us returned to Masjid for Maghrib Salaat, and soon after completing the sunnah after Maghrib, three of us came out again to look for the crescent. When we searched near the wire, we could clearly see it. Just then Brother Amin also came out, and we pointed to him the crescent. He tried to see but just then clouds moved across covering the crescent, and none of us could see it any longer.
All three who saw the crescent has perfect vision, but Brother Amin has to wear spectacles. They signed a sworn testimonial statement. It is kept safe at cmc Office. The three brothers who saw the crescent are: 1. Moulana Muhammadullah, 2. Hafiz Muhammad Saeed, 3. Haji Muhammad Faizur Rahman.

As mentioned above, that day, on Tuesday, 10th August 2010, it was impossible to see the crescent after Maghrib in the UK according to the visibility charts and calculated predictions because the moon-set was before the sunset that evening. This sighting testimony is correct according to Shareeah, but few regard such sighting claims to be unacceptable as discussed above. The reason why this sighting claim was not advertised at the time was that its news reached only those who regard such testimony to be untrustworthy. Moulana Abdur Rab sahab has close contacts with Hadhrat Moulana Hasan sahab, the leader of those who regard calculation charts as basis for authenticity of any sightings. Those who saw the crescent had informed their scholars(such as Maulana Abdurrab sahib about the sighting and absolved from their responsibility. But Scholars (above ) who received this informations could not advertise it further as they regard such testimony to be unreliable and unauthentic, especially when it came from their own close contacts.    

It must be clarified that it is a Sharaee responsibility of these Scholars to reject such testimony because it forms part of their belief. And to preserve such testimonies is a Sharaee duty of cmc. Both groups have fulfilled their duties. But the criticism and rejection is of those who make a mockery of such testimony, or of those Scholars who secretly believe calculation charts to be basis for sighting authenticity, but they pass criticism under some other heading. This does not befit a True Scholar.

The great Mufti of Pakistan, Mufti Rafi`e Usmani mentioned in many of his Fataawa, and in many of his lectures during his trip of UK and Europe, that Astronomic calculations are not to be relied upon. When old Astronomy was removed from Madaaris syllabus, it was not replaced by modern Astronomy. So European Madaaris have no relation with Astronomy. The only reason is that today people get overwhelmed by Astronomic predictions. We used to draw our own such charts while sitting in meetings where crescent sighting was decided. But the final verdict is never based on charts, its based on sighting testimony. And today those people pass verdicts based on Astronomic charts who have no Astronomic knowledge at all. Hadhrat mentioned this in a meeting where the audience included Astronomy experts who were discussing different theories behind modern and old Astronomy.

The reference to Hadhrat Moulana Inaamul Hasan ra. for Astronomic Sighting Probability is simply a lie. The letter that has been used to connect Hadhratji with this subject has not been authenticated to be from him. The Fatawa about Astronomic Sighting Probability issued from Masjide Mukarram signed by Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani sahab is not unconditional: the condition is 'in the absence of multitude of people sighting the crescent'.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     
In that case the verdict will be given upon actual sighting by many people. And so the Astronomic Probability is not a condition upon which authenticity is based: real basis for verdict is presence or absence of multitude of people. Yet those who believe in astronomic probabilities make it to be the sole basis (without any condition) for authenticity verdicts. So this Ftawa of Mufti sahab is of no benefit to them (even in the absence of Astronomic probability).

Lastly, is this a service to Deen that one group is hell bent to inferiorate the other?  It is not proper to denounce one another in Sharee matter, especially about such an opinion that is formed by one who is not a Shariah Scholar, not a Sharaee Mufti but only an expert in the obserwatrial calculation of Moon sighting. Then to insist that everybody must comply with his opinion is totally out of way: even Mujtahid real expert (of Islam Low) does not insist on his own deductions, and enforce his opinions upon others.

Secondly, those who rely upon these charts demand that others should believe them to be truth and have a second look at these charts. This is not baseless, and these charts are not prohibited entities. After all, we also use them, study them, and teach them.   But we humbly request those people who regard Astronomic charts to be their basis, that even if they don't regard the sighting claims to be authentic, they should at least remember that these charts are not absolute conclusive: they are at best speculative. Principles of calculations are conclusive, but their application is speculative.

Another point to remember is that all believers of astronomic charts will derive them results from software programs or from information by an expert in the field: sighting will be judged either by charts or information from an expert. Both are purely speculative, and not conclusive. Is anyone of them capable of extracting these results by himself? The reply is in negative. So instead of being forceful in any one direction, we need to maintain a balanced approach.

It should also be remembered that in equatorial countries, new moon at the start of the month is seen after Sunset. This continues for many days. This is not necessarily so in western countries.  And as mentioned in tafseer by Mufti Mahmud sahab, in western countries many time crescent appears even before Sunset. That is why many people in Batley saw the crescent well before Sunset on Thursday 11th August ( the 2nd Ramadhan), soon after Asr salaat.

(Mufti) Muhammad Ebrahim, Madni Masjid, Bradford.