Saturday, 2 July 2016

Crescent Observation Predictions For Shawwal 1437 AH (2016 AD)

I hope all of you are enjoying the holy month of fasting (Ramadan). While you cleanse your body of toxins, do not ignore getting rid of things that harm your soul.

Special Moon Events in 2016

Super New Moon: 7 Apr
Micro Full Moon: 22 Apr
Super New Moon: 7 May
Blue Moon: 22 May (third Full Moon in a season with four Full Moons)
Penumbral Lunar Eclipse visible in Lahore on 16 Sep – 17 Sep
Black Moon: 30 Oct (second New Moon in single calendar month)
Super Full Moon: 14 Nov

Do it yourself

The accurate data and visibility curves given below will help you cross-check official claims and appreciate the wonders of scientific reality. However, no amount of science can cover the flaws of human observation or compensate for cloud cover. As usual, those who live at extreme geographical locations might find it difficult to look for the crescent.

Through those who had the knowledge of such calculations, the last messenger of Allah and his companions could have simply announced the starts and beginnings of Islamic months but instead they preferred VISUAL sighting of the crescent (hilal) so that there remained no doubt in any believer's mind.

A few years ago when I spoke with religious scholar Javed Ahmad Ghamidi over the phone, he opined: "There was absolutely no need to form committees since a sighting report from any part of the world should suffice as evidence. The Muslims should not celebrate Eid on different dates".

There are two problems Muslims face today:
  1. For determining various prayer timings, countries have varying descriptions of sunrise and sunset (with reference to the number of degrees the sun is below the horizon).
  2. Countries do not have consensus on the idea that if the crescent is sighted anywhere over Earth, will its sighting be acceptable to the entire Muslim ummah? For example, will crescent sighting in the southern latitudes (Australia) be acceptable to Muslims in Europe and America considering the vast time zone differences? It is clear, the difference in dates could be one or perhaps two days but never three days (as it sometimes happens in Indonesia).
It is an astronomical impossibility to report the moon's conjunction (birth) as 'sighted' in Arabia when nobody else on Earth has seen it.

Data and visibility curves

Let us first focus on Jeddah (Arabia) and Peshawar (Pakistan). Each year, Peshawar reports seeing the crescent by ignoring its own horizon and follows the distant Arabian one. Traditionally, Afghanistan follows Arabia when it comes to lunar affairs.

Then we have the data and visibility curves for Karachi, Lahore and London. From the coloured legend (bottom right hand side of the graphics) you will be able to easily see if your location falls within one of the visibility curves on a given date. Click on any image to see its enlarged version for 4th and 5th July 2016.

Lunar calendar

The lunar calendar will always remain a necessity for determining occasions such as Ramadan, Hajj (pilgrimage at Makkah) and the two Eid festivals.

The onus of responsibility clearly falls on those who falsely report crescent sightings or believe aged observers and outright liars. This institutional wrong means that Muslims get wrong dates for performing the Hajj, starting the holy month of Ramadan (fasting) and celebrating Eid festivals.

The idea behind writing about lunar astronomy is to help one look with precision at the sky and to appreciate the inner workings of God's System (Nature). Astronomy must be studied by each Muslim, as was done during the zenith of Muslim rule.

Observation matters need not be left to the experts with telescopes; even novices can enjoy watching the sky in order to fulfil God’s Will and the sunnah (practices of Prophet Muhammad, peace on him).

Muslim unity and the moon

A simultaneous global sighting of the crescent is an astronomical impossibility due to the moon’s eccentric rotation and orbital behaviour. Hence, celebrating Eid on a single day across a huge land mass (USA, China, India) is not a religious requirement but rather an idea propounded by the religious globalists.

It has now become a fitna (trial, tribulation), frequently leading to disagreements and discord that serves to divide Muslims further on non-issues. We need to first agree on how many degrees below the horizon must the sun be for Fajr, Maghrib and Isha' prayers. Why must so many different criteria exist?

A few important points need to be borne in mind for 04 July 2016 at Lahore:
  1. The birth of the new moon (conjunction) will take place at 11:01 UTC (16:01 Pakistan Standard Time) during the day.
  2. Sunset at Lahore will take place at 19:11 LT, and the moon will set at 18:58 LT (or 00:13 minutes BEFORE sunset).
  3. During the bright sunlight, it will be impossible to sight the crescent as its location will be below the horizon (at -2°18').
  4. The Shawwal crescent will be only 03 hours and 10 minutes old at sunset. Hence, it will be invisible even if viewed with a telescope.
  5. The crescent will be seen on 05 July, therefore in Pakistan, Eid al-Fitr should fall on 06 July 2016—unless someone in the Rooyat-e-Hilal Committee of Pakistani errs or the Riyals blind us completely.
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04 July 2016 visibility curves (notice Arabia in RED )
Jeddah, ARABIA (Monday, 04 July, 2016)

Sunset:  19:11 LT

Moonset: 19:08 LT
Moon Age:  05 hours, 10 minutes
Moon Lag Time: - 03 minutes (moonset BEFORE set)
Moon Altitude (height above horizon): -00°:38':54" (negative angle)
Moon Azimuth (compass direction): +289°:52':46"
Distance: 372,680 Km
Crescent Visibility: The crescent will NOT BE VISIBLE even with binoculars.

On Tuesday 05 July 2016, the moon (at sunset) will be 00:45 minutes old and the time lag between sunset and moon-set will be a comfortable 00:50 minutes. The crescent will easily be visible with naked eyes, hence Eid will be on Wednesday 06 July. And the best time to observe the crescent on 05 July is: 19:33 LT.

04 July 2016 visibility curves (notice Arabia in RED )
Picture of the sky (notice moon under the sun on top right)
The Saudi Supreme Court confirmed there will be 30 days of Ramadan this year meaning Tuesday will be the last day of Ramadan. as the moon was not sighted on July 4 (Monday). Eid al-Fitr will be on July 6, 2016 (Wednesday). Currently, out of 116 countries, 41 appear to be following Arabia's crescent so-called sighting reports which are based on a published calendar called the Ummul Qura System. Just because the calendar shows (without actual sighing of the crescent) Eid al-Fitr falling on 6 July, must not mean that the entire world must blindly follow it.

Peshawar, PAKISTAN (Monday, 04 July, 2016)

Sunset: 19:29 LT

Moonset: 19:14 LT
Moon Age: 3 hours, 28 minutes
Moon Lag Time: -14 minutes (moonset BEFORE sunset) 
Moon Altitude (height above horizon): -02°:24':09" (below the horizon)
Moon Azimuth (compass direction): +293°:58':45"
Distance: 372,408 Km
Crescent Visibility: The crescent will NOT BE VISIBLE even with binoculars (but then who knows!).
However, the best time to observe the crescent on 05 July is 19:45 LT, when a 27 hours 44 minutes old crescent will be 4° above the horizon in a direction of 287°:30':09". It should be visible either with naked eyes or with binoculars.

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Karachi, Pakistan (Tuesday, 05 July, 2016)
Sunset: 19:25 LT
Moonset: 20:09 LT
Moon Age: 27 hours, 43 minutes
Moon Lag Time: 00:44 minutes
Moon Altitude (height above horizon): +05°:20':05"
Moon Azimuth (compass direction): +286°:04':24"
Distance: 376,687 Km
Crescent Visibility: The crescent will be VISIBLE with or without binoculars. Best time to observe the crescent is 19:44 LT.

05 July 2016 visibility curves (notice overall GREEN)
Lahore, PAKISTAN (Tuesday, 05 July, 2016)

Sunset: 19:11 LT

Moonset: 19:50 LT
Moon Age: 27 hours, 27 minutes
Moon Lag Time: 00:39 minutes
Moon Altitude (height above horizon): +04°:25':37"
Moon Azimuth (compass direction): +287°:03':09"
Distance: 376,635 Km
Crescent Visibility: The crescent will be VISIBLE with or without binoculars. Best time to observe the crescent is 19:28 LT.

LATEST NEWS at 9:30 pm (05 July, 2016)

Despite my best efforts with binoculars in hand over the roof, I could NOT sight the crescent this evening. The Rooyat-e-Hilal committee, after cross-checking of sighting reports and the credentials of witnesses, finally declared that the 'crescent was sighted'.
Elsewhere on the internet, members of crescent sighting committees did not sight the crescent themselves yet filed others' reports. How can this be admissible evidence of sighting?

Why cannot the members of the Rooyat-e-Hilal committee have reliable witnesses spread all over Pakistan? Why must observers take so long to report their findings when the moon has already set? Why is there so much delay in announcing the official results? Are people too busy with iftaar and prayers and which prevent them making timely reports? These are questions that need to be answered during talk-shows on national television.
05 July 2016 visibility curves (notice overall GREEN)
London, United Kingdom (Tuesday, 05 July, 2016)

Sunset: 20:21 LT
Moonset: 20:46 LT
Moon Age:  33 hours, 31 minutes
Moon Lag Time: 00:25 minutes
Moon Altitude (height above horizon): +01°:48':23" (very low)
Moon Azimuth (compass direction): +294°:19':29"
Distance: 377,820 Km
Crescent Visibility: Visible only with binoculors. Best time to observe the crescent is 20:32 LT.

And finally

I thank Allah and remain indebted to my astronomer friends whose accurate predictive software programmes and research have lit up my path of lunar astronomy.

I welcome your questions and comments on this important subject, and hope that you will attempt to not only understand what I have provided here but also help others understand matters for their own good. If you would like prediction data for your location, please email me at:

Once you wish to be guided by taking a few essential steps in the direction, Allah's Promise will come true: you will be protected and guided.

They will ask thee about the new moons. Say: "They indicate the periods for [various doings of] mankind, including the pilgrimage." (Qur’an 2:189)

Have a lovely Eid al-Fitr.

The two brightly coloured curve-graphs were copied from
The picture of the sky comes from
©Tahir Gul Hasan, 2016