KARACHI/PESHAWAR: Ramazan will begin on Tuesday (tomorrow) as the moon for the month was not sighted on Sunday, according to the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee.
Mufti Muneebur Rehman, the committee’s chairman, made the announcement after a meeting at the Met Department complex in Karachi.
He said no Sharia-compliant evidence was received from any part of the country.
Besides Karachi, meetings were held at 50 places in different parts of the country for moon-sighting.
“All the participants at the Karachi meeting and those at zonal committee meetings reached a consensus that the moon was not sighted in any part of the country on Sunday. Therefore the first of Ramazan will be on Tuesday (May 7),” the Ruet-Hilal body’s chief said.
“It is not my personal decision,” Mufti Muneeb said, adding that the Ruet-i-Hilal Committee membership comprised scholars belonging to different schools of thought and they were not “under my influence”.
But controversy again dogged the occasion this year as the zonal Ruet-i-Hilal committee based at Peshawar’s Qasim Ali Khan mosque claimed it had received “evidence” that moon had been sighted in several districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and therefore Ramazan will begin in the province on Monday (today).
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, the unofficial committee head and JUIF leader, Mufti Shahabuddin Popalzai, said the body had received “22 testimonies of moon sighting” from different parts of the provincial capital alone.
“All decisions made at this mosque are based on Quran and Sunnah and have nothing to do with ego, prejudice and sectarianism,” Mufti Popalzai said.
He took a potshot at the central Ruet-i-Hilal committee, saying that it had refused to accept “evidence” from KP. “It is sad that the central committee based its decision on a forecast.”
Speaking to the media after the meeting, Mufti Muneeb advised Chaudhry Fawad Hussain, a federal minister, to refrain from commenting on religious matters.
He made the remarks when his attention was drawn to an announcement by the minister for science and technology that a five-member committee had been set up to prepare a 10-year calendar for Ramazan, the two Eids and Muharram to “put an end to controversies arising from sighting of the crescent”.
“The minister is unaware of the system and if he is interested, there are experts who can prepare even a 100-year lunar calendar,” the Mufti quipped.
He called upon the prime minister to restrain Fawad Chaudhry from talking about “sensitive religious affairs”, adding that “not everyone should be given a license to speak on matters of faith”.
Published in Dawn, May 6th, 2019
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