Friday, September 10, 2010

Eid Moon Controversy - Eid Mubarak Anyway

Eid ul Fitr Moon
Moon as shot by me on 10th September at Islamabad

Which should I take first? OK let us start from the good wishes – Happy Eid to all my viewers. The Eid ul Fitr is to be celebrated in Pakistan partly on 10th September (that is today) and largely on 11th (to coincide with the famous 9/11 thing) tomorrow.

Now how come there are two Eids? This is not the first time that this difference of opinion has occurred – rather it is repeated every year. The controversy starts from the northern part of Pakistan interestingly, which is far above in north than Saudi Arabia, where the moon sighting takes place earlier than the rest of the world above Saudi Arabia geographically.

Whenever the difference of opinion occurs, I always refer to Moonsighting.Com, which I believe give some scientific explanation of the occurrence of the new moon. Now as per the details given at the website, there was no chance of seeing occurrence of moon on 8th September. However on 9th September (as can be seen on the map), there was a minute chance of seeing the moon on the south-eastern tip of Pakistan with naked eye. While almost the entire Sind and half of the Balochistan could see the moon with the use of optical aids. The rest of Pakistan could have seen the moon with extreme use of optical aids only. That means the moon was there on 9th of September and the Moon Sighting Committee stationed in Quetta yesterday had all the chances to see it, if they “wanted” to see it. They did not announce the “sighting of the moon” despite some 19 authentic evidences received from Mardan, Charsadda, Shabqadar and other areas, confirming the sighting of Shawwal moon.

So the question is why didn’t they see it? With all the optical devices given to the committee, the failed to see the moon. Probably, they were averting an official Eid on Friday, which according to some superstitions is “heavy” for the sitting government, which is even otherwise under clouds and is suffering from a credibility issue. Or else their devices are so weak or the lenses were not properly cleaned which could allow a clear view of the skyline. Or maybe they wanted an Eid exactly on 9/11 and attributed as Eid 9/11.

So Happy Eid to those who are celebrating Eid today (1oth of September) and to rest of others (including me) who would celebrate the official Eid tomorrow. And I also do hope that till next year we find a credible mechanism of moon sighting to rid the country from the agonizing wait and celebrating two Eids every year.